"Egregious and wilful" violators escape jail
76711.1261 at COMPUSERVE.COM
Sun Aug 20 02:00:29 CDT 1995
Forwarded from: Shirley Mc Greal, International Primate Protection League,
According to the 18 December 1984 issue of the "New York Times"
TW0 MEN ADMIT BREAKING LAW ON BUTTERFLIES
San Jose, California, December 17
Two men have pleaeded guilty in the nation's first federal case
against butterfly poachers, the authorities have said.
The men Richard Skalski, 39, a pest exterminator, and Mark L.
Grinnell, 40, a businessman, face up to five years in prison and $250,000 in
fines for conspiring to violate wildlife laws by capturing 2,200 rare
butterflies on federal land, United States Attorney Michael Yamaguchi said
"We're not talking about kids with their butterfly nets, "Mr.
Yamaguchi said. "They were selling and trading these species, many of which
are on the verge of extinction."
Collectors pay hundreds of dollars for rare butterflies, some
protected by the Endangered Species Act and others by international convention.
The two men admitted taking butterflies from [US] federal preserves
in ten states, Mexico, and Germany...
"It's a first for butterflies," said Lee Altschuler of the United
States Attorney's Office, "and it's a first to allege a broad poaching
scheme across federal lands set aside for conservation purposes."
During a decade of plotting, the prosecutors said, the defendants
wrote letters to one another signed, "Yours in crime" and "Yours in poaching."
Mr. Skalski and Mr. Grinnell entered pleas separately over the past
According to the 2 August issue of San Jose News
RARE BUTTERFLY POACHERS AVOID PRISON
Plea-bargain: Stanford professor's tip initiated prosecution.
Two men who pleaded guilty to poaching rare butterflies on federal
lands for nine years were spared prison Tuesday in a plea agreement with
During Tuesday's hearing in San Jose before U.S. District Court
Judge James Ware, Richard Skalski of Redwood City and Thomas Kral of Tucson,
apologised profusely and said they accepted responsibility for their conduct.
Half-way houses and fines
Skalski was sentenced to five months in a work-furlough facility in
Mountain View and five months in a halfway house and two years probation.
Kral, considered less culpable, drew three years probation. Both were fined
$3,000 and ordered to stay away out of wildlife sanctuaries unless their
probation officer gave them permission. The men's attorneys had negotiated a
plea bargain with prosecutors.
"We had egregious and wilfil violations of wildlife laws and we
obtained felony convictions," Assistant US Attorney Leland Altschuler said
Tuesday, "And the defendants were stripped of their most cherished
possessions - the poached wildlife stolen over nine years."
Investigation of the case and the indictments in December 1993 sent
waves of concern through the butterfly collecting and research communities
and spawned nummerous articles in professional publications.
The conspiracy came to light when the US Fish and Wildlife Service
received a tip from a Stanford University biologist that Skalski - an
exterminator for a pest control service that worked for the school - was
filching a rare species of butterfly from Grand Canyon National Park in
Arizona. A search of his home yielded other endangered species of
butterflies mounted under glass as well as correspondence linking Skalski
with Kral, Grinnell and other collectors around the country in the conspiracy.
Among the butterflies the men were found to have collected were
Kaibab swallowtails, bay checkerspots and San Bruno elfins.
While Kral conceded there was "no excuse" for illegal activity, he
said that the 1973 Endangered Species Act under which he was prosecuted was
sometimes ambiguous. Kral said that some of the endangered species that he
was charged with poaching or possessing were collected before the law's
Judge Ware agreed the statute might not always be clear and directed
Kral to help dispel confusion by teaching other collectors about the law
ands the need for the protection of wildlife.
IN MY OPINION THESE "EGREGIOUS AND WILFUL VIOLATORS OF FEDERAL WILDLIFE LAWS
GOT LITTLE MORE THAN A "SLAP ON THE WRIST." THE US CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
DOES NOT TAKE WILDLIFE CRIME SERIOUSLY ENOUGH! PROBATION IN THE US USUALLY
MEANS A PERIODIC CHAT WITH AN OVER-WORKED PROBATION OFFCER, IT'S A JOKE.
International Primate Protection League (IPPL), POB 766, Summerville, SC
Phone 803-871-2280, fax 803-871-7988 E-mail: ippl at sc.net
See the IPPL Home Page on the World Wide Web:
"You're innocent till proven broke"
PS from Richard
Kral is czech name and Skalski looks polish isnt it?
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