Thursday, February 17, 2005

'How About I Endanger the Act?'

Well, homemaker Martha is going to be serving 'home detention', why not let another master criminal be punished by lobbying to repeal the law he violated:

Washington -- More than a year after he was convicted of violating a federal endangered species law, Smithsonian Institution Secretary Lawrence M. Small is still negotiating with the Justice Department over exactly what kind of "community service" he must perform as part of his sentence.

The Smithsonian's chief executive wants to use the 100-hour punishment to lobby Congress to change the "outmoded" law he violated, while prosecutors argue that Small's proposal doesn't match the severity of his crime.

In court documents filed in U.S. District Court in Raleigh, N.C., where he was convicted Jan. 23, 2004, Small said that "using my 100 hours of community service obligation to 'get educated' about the Endangered Species Act is highly constructive and totally appropriate."

Small wrote his probation officer that his community service should "take advantage of my 40 years of experience in large, complex institutions and the vantage point provided to me by my position at the Smithsonian Institution."

That kind of service "might well produce a more significant result for society than having me read for the blind or hammer nails for Habitat for Humanity."

Small provided a list of books he would read and lawmakers, environmentalists and private sector officials he would meet with to discuss endangered species issues. The ultimate goal of his community service, Small said, would be to use his stature to start "the process of modernizing" the Endangered Species Act, which he called "an outmoded law that doesn't work very well."

Federal prosecutors strongly disagreed.

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