The useless pricks who engaged in malicious prosection against these innocent people, ought to be charged with a Federal crime.
George Norris spent 17 months in federal prison because he used the wrong paperwork for imported orchids that are perfectly legal to grow and own. David McNab suffered eight years in the federal pen for packing imported lobster tails in plastic rather than the required cardboard cartons. Krister Evertson spent more than a year in federal prison for illegally “disposing” of materials intended for an environmentally friendly fuel cell even though the materials were packaged carefully and stored completely out of harm’s way.
These are just three of the victims of overcriminalization and overfederalization of what at worst should be treated as minor civil infractions.
Mr. Evertson and Mr. Norris’ wife, Kathy, will be among the witnesses today at a hearing on overcriminalization and overfederalization being held by a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee. They serve as stark reminders that the risks of big government are not merely a theoretical concern. Instead, big government can have frightening ramifications for individual lives and can pose a serious threat to both freedom and justice.
Kirster Evertson’s story:
Kirster Evertson is spending 21 months in the Sheridan, Oregon, federal prison for an environmental “crime” in which no environmental harm occurred and during the commissioning of which he was trying to find a way to help the environment.
Evertson had no history of legal problems, and a long history of charitable service – especially in teaching sign language to deaf young people, a talent he learned while coping with a severe stutter that partially lingers to this day. He is described in federal court documents as a “good-natured, kind, gentle person.”
Now 54, Evertson has been a science wiz since grade school, and won the Kailua Intermediate School science fair in Hawaii for research into making bio-chemical fuel cells using coconut juice.
Ever since then, he has dreamed of developing an inexpensive, mass-use fuel cell that could be used to generate power without polluting the air. His enthusiasm for the project is such that Evertson will gladly talk at length, providing scientific explanations, with citations, of why his cell will work to produce “clean energy” if only a few kinks can be worked out.
And it seems nobody doubts his basic science, only the practicality of making it available for widespread use by the general public.
Yet Evertson was convicted after being charged by federal prosecutors for allegedly violating obscure regulations of the Environmental Protection Agency by “abandoning” semi-hazardous waste that actually had been meticulously saved, sealed and stored with a friend.
……Krister never had so much as a traffic ticket before he was run off the road near his mother’s home in Wasilla, Alaska, by SWAT-armored federal agents in large black SUVs training automatic weapons on him.
Evertson, who had been working on clean-energy fuel cells since he was in high school, had no idea what he’d done wrong. It turned out that when he legally sold some sodium (part of his fuel-cell materials) to raise cash, he forgot to put a federally mandated safety sticker on the UPS package he sent to the lawful purchaser.
Krister’s lack of a criminal record did nothing to prevent federal agents from ransacking his mother’s home in their search for evidence on this oh-so-dangerous criminal.
The good news is that a federal jury in Alaska acquitted Krister of all charges. The jurors saw through the charges and realized that Krister had done nothing wrong. (http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/Part_One_Eco-inventor_wins_victory_in_federal_court_case_012209.html)
The bad news, however, is that the feds apparently had it in for Krister. Federal criminal law is so broad that it gave prosecutors a convenient vehicle to use to get their man.
The Feds got their panties in a wad over his acquital, and went after him again:
Two years after arresting him, the feds brought an entirely new criminal prosecution against Krister on entirely new grounds. They used the fact that before Krister moved back to Wasilla to care for his 80-year-old mother, he had safely and securely stored all of his fuel-cell materials in Salmon, Idaho.
According to the government, when Krister was in jail in Alaska due to the first unjust charges, he had “abandoned” his fuel-cell materials in Idaho. Unfortunately for Krister, federal lawmakers had included in the Resource Recovery and Conservation Act a provision making it a crime to abandon “hazardous waste.” According to the trial judge, the law didn’t require prosecutors to prove that Krister had intended to abandon the materials (he hadn’t) or that they were waste at all — in reality, they were quite valuable and properly stored away for future use.
With such a broad law, the second jury didn’t have much of a choice, and it convicted him. He spent almost two years locked up with real criminals in a federal prison. After he testifies today, he will have to return to his halfway house in Idaho and serve another week before he is released.
So, this innocent man was unjustly charged, convicted and jailed for a paperwork mistake. Not because he was a terrorist or because he intended to use the chemicals for a terrorist act, but because he ran afoul of fanatical, vindictive assclowns in the EPA who couldn’t pass a common sense test to save their lives.
And gawd forbid you should import Orchids:
The other hardened criminal whose story members of Congress will hear today is retiree George Norris. A longtime resident of Spring, Texas, Norris made the mistake of not knowing and keeping track of all of the details of federal and international law on endangered species — mostly paperwork requirements — before he decided to turn his orchid hobby into a small business. What was Norris’s goal? To earn a little investment income while his wife neared retirement.
The Lacey Act is an example of the dangerous overbreadth of federal criminal law. Incredibly, Congress has made it a federal crime to violate any fish or wildlife law or regulation of any nation on earth.
Facing 10 years in federal prison, Norris pled guilty and served almost two. His wife, Kathy, describes the pain of losing their life savings to pay for attorneys and trying to explain to grandchildren why for so long Poppa George couldn’t see them.
Norris had a paperwork snafu; another capital crime in the minds of the geniuses at the Fed.
More on Krister’s case:
Both of these victims of overzealous prosecutors testified before the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security at the House of Representatives, 22 July 2009.
Read Krister Everston’s tesitmony here:
The Washington Legal Foundation has taken up the cause for the appeal of his conviction.
Read Kathy Norris’ testimony here:
The Feds should have enough to worry about with all the illegal alien traffic coming across the border, and the terrorist threat. Focus on the real criminals, not people who commit minor and unintentional infractions.
What happened to these people is nothing short of a Kafkaesque nightmare. This kind of shit should not happen in America, but it does. The best disinfectant is sunlight. The more light shined on abuses by Federal authorities, the better.