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United States v. Helsley

ELR Citation: 9 ELR 20326
Nos. No. CR-78-91-BLG, 463 F. Supp. 1111/(D. Mont., 01/11/1979)

The court declares the Airborne Hunting Act of 1971 unconstitutional because it violates the states' reserved power to regulate fish and wildlife and dismisses one count of a criminal information filed against defendants. Defendants, who were charged with violating the Act by engaging in airborne hunting, challenged the statute's validity. The federal government argued that the statute is a proper exercise of congressional power pursuant to the General Welfare Clause of the Constitution. Relying on Geer v. Connecticut, the court concludes that the regulation of fish and wildlife is a power reserved to the states under the Tenth Amendment and that Congress is therefore powerless to preempt Montana's airborne hunting regulations. The court also orders the suppression of certain statements and evidence because they were obtained in violation of defendants' Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Robert L. Zimmerman, Ass't U.S. Attorney
P.O. Box 1478, Billings MT 59103
(406) 657-6101

Counsel for Defendants
Willis B. Jones
First Federal Bldg., Billings MT 59101
(406) 245-0655