In 2000 four Americans were charged with importing lobster tails in plastic bags rather than cardboard boxes, in violation of a Honduran regulation that Honduras no longer enforces. They had fallen foul of the Lacey Act, which bars Americans from breaking foreign rules when hunting or fishing. The original intent was to prevent Americans from, say, poaching elephants in Kenya. But it has been interpreted to mean that they must abide by every footling wildlife regulation on Earth. The lobstermen had no idea they were breaking the law. Yet three of them got eight years apiece. Two are still in jail.
Krister Evertson, an Eagle Scout with no criminal record – not even a single traffic ticket, was initially arrested by four FBI agents wearing black SWAT gear and pointing automatic rifles at him because he didn’t know that obscure federal regulations required him to put a certain sticker on his otherwise lawful UPS package. After spending 21 months in an Oregon federal prison, Krister today lives by himself in a ramshackle aluminum trailer sitting on the fenced-in grounds of a construction company’s equipment yard. Because he is on parole, he is not allowed even to move to Alaska – where he was arrested – to live with his 80-year-old mother whom he used to care for.
The Over Criminalization of America
BY JOHN LOTT- 14 things that Americans have recently been arrested for.
#1 (December 2010) A Michigan man has been charged with a felony and could face up to 5 years in prison for reading his wife’s email.
#2 (December 8, 2010) A 49-year-old Queens woman had bruises all over her body after she was handcuffed, arrested and brutally beaten by NYPD officers. So what was her offense? The officers thought that her little dog had left some poop that she didn’t clean up.
#3 (December 22, 2010) A 56-year-old woman who was once a rape victim refused to let airport security officials feel her breasts so she was thrown to the floor, put in handcuffs and arrested.
#4 (December 26, 2010) In Milwaukee, one man was recently fined $500 for swearing on a public bus.
#5 (December 6, 2006) Several years ago a 12-year-old boy in South Carolina was actually arrested by police for opening up a Christmas present early against his family’s wishes.
#6 [August 20, 2010] In some areas of the country, it is now a crime to not recycle properly. For example, the city of Cleveland has announced plans to sort through trash cans to ensure that people are actually recycling according to city guidelines.
#7 [February 5, 2010] A 12-year-old girl from Queens was arrested earlier this year and taken out of her school in handcuffs for writing “Lex was here. 2/1/10″ and “I love my friends Abby and Faith” on her desk.
#8 Back in 2008, a 13-year-old boy in Florida was actually arrested by police for farting in class.
#9 [April 22, 2010] The feds recently raided an Amish farmer at 5 AM in the morning because they claimed that he was engaged in the interstate sale of raw milk in violation of federal law.
#10 [December 14, 2007] A few years ago a 10-year-old girl was arrested and charged with a felony for bringing a small steak knife to school. It turns out that all she wanted to do was to cut up her lunch so that she could eat it.
#11 [June 18, 2010] On June 18th, two Christians decided that they would peacefully pass out copies of the gospel of John on a public sidewalk outside a public Islamic festival in Dearborn, Michigan and within three minutes 8 policemen surrounded them and placed them under arrest.
#12 [October 01, 2009] A U.S. District Court judge slapped a 500-dollar fine on Massachusetts fisherman Robert J. Eldridge for untangling a giant whale from his nets and setting it free. So what was his crime? Well, according to the court, Eldridge was supposed to call state authorities and wait for them to do it.
#13 [Nov 10, 2009] Once upon a time, a food fight in the cafeteria may have gotten you a detention. Now it may get you locked up. About a year ago, 25 students between the ages of 11 and 15 at a school in Chicago were taken into custody by police for being involved in a huge food fight in the school cafeteria.
#14  A few years ago a 70-year-old grandmother was actually put in handcuffs and hauled off to jail for having a brown lawn.
Another example: “A 17-year-old student at Huntington High School has been arrested after allegedly bringing an unloaded BB gun onto the campus to show a group of students during a JROTC class.”