Two war stories from legendary civil rights and criminal defense attorney Dennis Roberts on silly prosecutions
From an email sent 7 December 2010 by Dennis Roberts
I was approached by the girlfriend of a guy who was being charged with counterfeiting AUSTRALIAN dollars in the US. Who gives a shit you might ask. Turns out there is a federal statute prohibiting just this crime 18 USC 480. Even funnier is 18 USC 490 which prohibits counterfeiting pennies and nickles. I kid you not. Of course this guy had no intention of passing them in the US but was going to take them back to Australia. I figured it was a dream case. I mean would they prosecute a guy who counterfeited Iranian money here with the intention of passing it in Iran or a guy who counterfeited the currency of one of those African countries where a U S. dollar is worth 23 gazillion dollars of their currency; or a guy who counterfeits Bulgarian or Polish money which is (or at least was) absolutely worthless outside of Bulgaria or Poland I know this from being in Bulgaria in 1968.