Export Conviction Upheld
Just or background, for a criminal law to be enforceable, it must be written in a way that allows people to understand what is illegal and to adjust their behavior accordingly. When the speed limit is set at 55 MPH, we all know what is expected. If, however, the speed limit we written as "Travel as fast as is appropriate given the circumstances described in a chart published in the official regulations and assuming the Governor has not let his executive order expire," would you know how fast to go?
The Defendant in this case conspired with others to export FLIR thermal cameras to China without the required licenses. FLIR cameras are prized by the military, security services, industry, and cryptozoologists for their ability to image people, animals, and blobsquatches in the dark. Because of their obvious value to people who do not have the best interests of the United States at heart, the Commerce Department controls their export to much of the world. So, next time you mount a Yeren hunt, be sure to get a license to export the FLIR cameras.
In this case, the defendant argued that the export controls laws are too vague to be constitutional. The Ninth Circuit discovered what compliance people have always known: it is damned complicated but not impossible to figure out. So, the Court upheld the conviction. While I have no sympathy for the defendant based upon his bad acts, I do have some sympathy for his criminal defense lawyer. Apparently, he got so frustrated trying to figure out the Commerce Control List that he threw up his hands and said, "This can't be constitutional."