Archive for Criminal Law

On Opening Bales of Cotton

Alabama has some very specific criminal rules regarding who can open a bale of cotton:

Any person who, without authority of the owner, consignee or agent, willfully or wantonly cuts, tears or otherwise opens any bail of cotton or takes any sample therefrom shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

So, be careful out there. Don’t go around wantonly cutting open cotton bales.

Selya’s Words of the Day

We need not tarry. The sentence imposed in this case falls comfortably within the commodious bounds of reasonableness.

Tarry – intransitive verb. “to abide or stay in or at a place.”

Commodious – adj. “comfortably spacious.”

From an opinion upholding a five-plus year sentence for being in possession of a 9mm pistol modified to be fully automatic.

On Detaining Poultry Thieves in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, it is legal for the owner of poultry to detain a poultry thief who “breaks or enters in the night” for “not more than twenty-four hours, Sunday excepted, until a complaint can be made against him for the offence[sic].” This is a felony that carries a penalty of up to three years in state prison or a steep $250 fine.