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August 31, 2009

If you ever wondered what might happen if you sold balg eagle feathers...

this new Justice Department official press release, titled "Arizona Man Sentenced for Selling Bald Eagle Feathers," provides an answer:

Cedric E. Salabye of Dilkon, Ariz., was sentenced Friday in federal court in Phoenix for selling 11 bald eagle tail feathers, the Justice Department announced today.  Salabye pleaded guilty on April 23, 2009, to one count of a federal indictment charging him with selling eagle feathers in violation of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.  Judge David G. Campbell of the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona sentenced Salabye to five years of probation, six months of home confinement and 150 hours of community service.

At the time Salabye committed the violation in 2006, the bald eagle was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.  The bald eagle was removed from protection under the federal Endangered Species Act in 2007.  However, two other federal laws still provide protection for the bald eagle — the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Eagles and other protected migratory birds are viewed as sacred in many Native American cultures and the feathers of the birds are central to religious and spiritual Native American customs.  By law, enrolled members of federally recognized Native American tribes are entitled to obtain permits to possess eagle parts for religious purposes, but federal law strictly prohibits the sale of bald and golden eagles or their feathers and parts under any circumstance.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service operates the National Eagle Repository, which collects eagles that die naturally, by accident or other means, to supply enrolled members of federally recognized tribes with eagle parts for religious use.

"The buying and selling of the feathers of bald eagles, our nation’s symbol, is illegal and those who choose to ignore those laws will be prosecuted," said John C. Cruden, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.

August 31, 2009 at 03:28 PM | Permalink


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And now the poor smuck has a Fedreal Felony on his record which, in effect, carries a life sentence. Maybe the next time Congressman Scott holds a hearing on Over Criminalization like the one on 07-22, this guy could be a witness. Yes, wrong is wrong and wrong must be punished but overkill is also overkill and this one apparantly took three years and at what expense to the taxpayer, all so some hotshot AUSA can ring up another great victory for the "good guys."
They can't get it right against someone like Zhenli Ye Gon,accused of being a major supplier of chemicals needed to make illegal drugs because it's possible the there was some sort of official misconduct according to the judge but they can sure nail a feather thief. Way to go justice dept.

Clearly too many lawyers with not enough to do very strange priorities and this taxpayer is tired of footing the bill.

Posted by: HadEnough | Aug 31, 2009 4:52:30 PM

What bothers me even more about this is that it applies to molted and otherwise discarded feathers. Laws against harming certain species are far more defensible than laws against picking up feathers from the ground.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Aug 31, 2009 5:14:39 PM

Selling feathers is a felony, which pretty much tells you everything you need to know about justice in America in the post-Nixon era.

Posted by: John K | Sep 1, 2009 12:07:22 PM

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