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Couple face jail time for rescuing injured deer

Posted: February 5, 2013 at 9:45 am   /   by

What they did was not wrong, even if the law says it was illegal. In such conflicts, it is the law that is wrong.

(I wonder if George Stephanopoulos, an ardent statist, truly understands that principle outside of a narrow context in which a cute deer is involved.)

ICYMI . . .



More from Heritage:

Historically, crimes have two elements: (1) actus reus (bad act), and (2) mens rea (bad intent).

Most people would agree that nursing an animal back to health is not a “bad act” in the sense of being morally blameworthy. Keeping the deer is deemed to be a “bad act” only because the legislature has said it is prohibited. Do we as a society want to punish acts that are not inherently wrong with criminal penalties?

Was there a bad intent? Is intending to save an animal bad? Most people would say it is not. Jeff Counceller is a police officer. It is highly doubtful that he intended to flout the law. It is much more likely that he simply didn’t know that his conduct was prohibited, much less a criminal act. If an officer of the law does not know that his conduct is illegal, how can others expect to know it?

If the act itself is not bad, and the Councellers did not know that their action was illegal, what could society possibly gain by having people like the Councellers serve time in prison and get a criminal record?

Should you think that this is solely a problem in Indiana, you would be very much mistaken. Sadly, this is not an isolated incident. Others have been prosecuted for their efforts to help animals in need.

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Christopher Cook

Christopher Cook

Managing Editor at Western Free Press
Christopher Cook is a writer, editor, and political commentator. He is the president of Castleraine, Inc., a consulting firm providing a diverse array of services to corporate, public policy, and not-for-profit clients.

Ardently devoted to the cause of human freedom, he has worked at the confluence of politics, activism, and public policy for more than a decade. He co-wrote a ten-part series of video shorts on economics, and has film credits as a researcher on 11 political documentaries, including Citizens United's notorious film on Hillary Clinton that became the subject of a landmark Supreme Court decision. He is the founder of several activist endeavors, including (now a part of Western Free Press) and He is currently the managing editor of and principal contributor to
Christopher Cook

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Couple face jail time for rescuing injured deer