Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

United States v. Dove

ELR Citation: 31 ELR 20554
Nos. No. 00-4248, 247 F.3d 152/(4th Cir., 04/13/2001)

The court holds that a district court erred in including as "relevant conduct" for sentencing purposes an individual's sale of 118 black bear gall bladders to an undercover agent. The court first holds that the district court erred because relevant conduct under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines must be criminal conduct, and neither the individual's sale nor his offer to sell the galls violated Virginia law or the Lacey Act. The sale did not violate Virginia law because the sale occurred in West Virginia, where the sale of galls is legal, and telephone conversations between the individual and the agent did not constitute a "sale" under Virginia law. The court also holds that the government could not rely on the "results theory" of jurisdiction to establish that the individual's sale in West Virginia violated Virginia law. This theory depends on the bringing about of an illegal result. Here, the individual sold the galls to an undercover agent, thus, the resale of galls in Virginia would never have occurred. Further, the court holds that because the individual did not make an offer to engage in an illegal sale in Virginia, his telephone offer to sell the galls in West Virginia did not violate state law. Consequently, because the galls were not sold in violation of state law, the individual's conduct did not violate the Lacey Act. The court, therefore, vacates and remands the case for resentencing.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Jean B. Hudson, Ass't U.S. Attorney
U.S. Attorney's Office
255 W. Main St., Rm. 104, Charlottesville VA 22901
(804) 293-4283

Counsel for Defendant
Frederick T. Heblich Jr.
Law Offices of Frederick T. Heblich Jr.
801 E. Jefferson St., Charlottesville VA 22902
(434) 244-2784

Williams, J. Before Traxler and Jackson, JJ.