Re: NANFA-L-- Interesting news article

Jerry Baker (
Wed, 26 Jul 2006 01:42:58 -0700

Brian J. Torreano wrote:
> Derek,
> You are 100% correct! It is indeed unconstituional for someone to be
> busted for an action that was not illegal-in-the time they performed
> said action. Laws that make previously-committed actions illegal are
> called "ex post facto" laws. Article 1, Section 9 of the U.S.
> Constitution says that, "No Bill of Attainder or EX POST FACTO Law
> shall be passed". So what the restaurant owner did was not illegal!
> In fact it's not illegal because he DIDN'T do anything. The article
> says that, "The koi had been on display since Ly opened the
> restaurant NEARLY 15 YEARS AGO..", and, "A FEW YEARS AGO, however,
> Maine outlawed the importation and possession of koi..". Because Ly
> imported and possessed the fish BEFORE the law went into effect, he
> was not breaking the law by continuing to own the fish. The
> officials who busted Ly should hope and pray that he doesn't take
> them to court, because he would CLEARLY win on this one!

You are incorrect. It is not a violation of the Constitution to make
something illegal and then punish someone for possessing it AFTER the
law has passed. What the prohibition on ex post facto laws is designed
to prevent is passing a law today making possessing koi illegal and then
arresting you for possessing koi in 1980.
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