Author Topic: Any legal experts in here?  (Read 181 times)

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Offline Slateman

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Any legal experts in here?
« Topic Start: December 06, 2012, 11:41:11 AM »
Hypothetical: If a courrier/transport company transports an illegal item (Drugs, stolen property, ect) is that courrier legally couplable for it? Could he/she be arrested and prosecuted for transporting drugs/stolen items? Assume for this situation that the objects in question come in a sealed container and are simply listed as "agricultural goods" or "jewlery"

Offline Kevrock

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Re: Any legal experts in here?
« Reply #1: December 06, 2012, 11:45:47 AM »
FREE SLATEMAN

Offline Kevrock

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Re: Any legal experts in here?
« Reply #2: December 06, 2012, 11:47:02 AM »
All the drug runners claim they are couriers with no knowledge of what they are carrying. I saw it happen on some weird TSA reality show when I was flipping channels. I'm not a legal expert, but I doubt anyone gets off because they claim ignorance.

Offline imref

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Re: Any legal experts in here?
« Reply #3: December 06, 2012, 11:52:06 AM »
Hypothetical: If a courrier/transport company transports an illegal item (Drugs, stolen property, ect) is that courrier legally couplable for it? Could he/she be arrested and prosecuted for transporting drugs/stolen items? Assume for this situation that the objects in question come in a sealed container and are simply listed as "agricultural goods" or "jewlery"


I don't think carriers are liable.  I think it's "common carrier status" - same as phone/Internet companies not being liable for illegal activity conducted over their networks. 

Offline tomterp

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Re: Any legal experts in here?
« Reply #4: December 06, 2012, 11:53:55 AM »
I don't think carriers are liable.  I think it's "common carrier status" - same as phone/Internet companies not being liable for illegal activity conducted over their networks.

right.  Otherwise nobody would work for FedEx or UPS, they probably ship tons of illegal stuff daily without knowing what's in the packages.

Offline houston-nat

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Re: Any legal experts in here?
« Reply #5: December 06, 2012, 11:58:08 AM »
right.  Otherwise nobody would work for FedEx or UPS, they probably ship tons of illegal stuff daily without knowing what's in the packages.
And the USPS for that matter. I knew a guy who got busted for ordering marijuana plants online and getting them sent to him by standard mail, they simply followed the package to his house.

Offline The Chief

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Re: Any legal experts in here?
« Reply #6: December 06, 2012, 11:59:36 AM »
All I know is that you guys all signed away your right to blame me for anything when you signed up :mg:

Offline lastobjective

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Re: Any legal experts in here?
« Reply #7: December 06, 2012, 12:12:12 PM »
It is the responsibility of the consignor to declare what is being shipped (the consignor is whomever pays for shipping). The shipper is not responsible in this case. However, with international shipments, things are different. The US government is trying to get companies to inspect their cargo before leaving foreign ports and coming to the US, so in cases where shippers are required to check their cargo, they are obviously responsible for the contents of their containers.

Private carriers are always responsible, as they own the transportation which they ship their goods on (e.g. Walmart would be responsible for whatever is shipped on their private fleet of trucks).

I don't think carriers are liable.  I think it's "common carrier status" - same as phone/Internet companies not being liable for illegal activity conducted over their networks. 
You're right - but I'd imagine it's different for contract carriers, who have a much different (closer) relationship with their customers.
Common Carriers: Must serve any and all customers until capacity is filled.
Contract Carriers: Serve small amount of customers and can refuse outside customers.

But in all cases, the shipper would have to deal with the consequences of shipping illegal goods. Obviously incidents can tarnish reputations and cause legal problems, so for some companies it is in their best interest to know exactly what is being shipped.

 :mg: I like this stuff, it's what I'm majoring in at school. I've learned some of the law and liabilities of carriers but not all the specifics, my law class is next year.

Offline houston-nat

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Re: Any legal experts in here?
« Reply #8: December 06, 2012, 12:39:56 PM »
I just had an IM conversation with a friend who's in his second year of law school. Not a lawyer yet, but more knowledgeable than me, at least!

me:  here's his question. [I copied and pasted Slate's question]
 Sent at 11:08 AM on Thursday
 Friend:  let me get back to you after class (20 min
)
 Sent at 11:14 AM on Thursday
 Friend:  hey
ok, so the quick and dirty answer is no
 me:  alrighty
 Friend:  a crime has 2 components that must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt
the actus reus (AR) and the mens rea (MR)
So, imagine the statute proscribes "knowingly transporting illegal controlled substances"
prosecutor has to prove 3 elements
transportation
of a substance
excuse me, of a controlled substance
which is illegal
at this point, prosecution has proven the AR. But he still has to prove the MR
In this case, the MR for each element is knowingly. so the prosecutor has to prove that the defendant knew he was transporting the parcel, knew the parcel contained a controlled substance, and knew that the substance was illegal
 me:  yeah, that's more or less what i expected. i knew a guy who was busted ordering marijuana online, and they didn't arrest the mailman or whatnot
 Friend:  yeah, no mens rea

As a side note, if you had opened up a box saying "jewelry" and discovered illegal substances, you'd be in trouble for opening the customer's box with no reasonable suspicion, right? Otherwise UPS would open all our stuff to check for drugs.

Offline lastobjective

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Re: Any legal experts in here?
« Reply #9: December 06, 2012, 12:44:50 PM »
:) Ok so that means (depending on the type of carriage...)

Common Carriage: Since these kind of carriers serve anyone, they would not have knowledge of what is being shipped. This covers UPS, FedEx, USPS, etc.
Contract Carriage: These carriers only work with a few clients, and might have knowledge of what is being shipped. Depends on the contract and relationship.
Private Carriage: They're responsible, since they are shipping their own goods on their own fleet.


Also note that since deregulation carriers/shippers can be in more than one category - for example, UPS is a common carrier but it also have contracts with USPS and other companies, making them also a contract carrier. /TMI

Offline Slateman

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Re: Any legal experts in here?
« Reply #10: December 06, 2012, 12:50:21 PM »
I know about mens rea and actus reaus. crap, if you take pre-law you should know that.

For this instance it would be Contract Carriage. A friend of a friend wants to set up a high class, high security, low key courrier service. Think like bonds going from a company to a bank. You don't want to hire a normal armored car company because they hire idiots. Brinks will ask for your first born. In steps this guy's service. Just sedans/SUVs with guys dressed like business attire.

Offline HalfSmokes

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Re: Any legal experts in here?
« Reply #11: December 06, 2012, 12:53:26 PM »
Brink asks for your first born because they have the insurance to cover it when someone steals your truck full of cash (not to mention the insurance if one of their drivers fires their weapon and hits a bystander)

Offline Slateman

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Re: Any legal experts in here?
« Reply #12: December 06, 2012, 01:11:16 PM »
Brink asks for your first born because they have the insurance to cover it when someone steals your truck full of cash (not to mention the insurance if one of their drivers fires their weapon and hits a bystander)
Right, I understand this. Essentially, this leaves the market somewhat open. Not to mention Brinks uses armored cars that some businesses and persons may not want.

Offline houston-nat

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Re: Any legal experts in here?
« Reply #13: December 06, 2012, 01:31:54 PM »
Friend:  He needs to talk to a real lawyer, because that kind of company would have special legal duties.
 me:  right, they're thinking contract carriage where they may have knowledge of what's being shipped depending on the client
 Sent at 12:23 PM on Thursday
 Friend:  Yeah, that is a high-risk business, lots of ways for civil and criminal liability. He needs a very good lawyer

Offline Coladar

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Re: Any legal experts in here?
« Reply #14: December 06, 2012, 06:42:00 PM »
All I know is that you guys all signed away your right to blame me for anything when you signed up :mg:

Lol, our last 'troubled poster' must have missed that bit when he threatened to sue you. :)

Offline houston-nat

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Re: Any legal experts in here?
« Reply #15: December 06, 2012, 06:50:50 PM »
Lol, our last 'troubled poster' must have missed that bit when he threatened to sue you. :)
Hey now there's a legal expert!!

Offline comish4lif

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Re: Any legal experts in here?
« Reply #16: December 06, 2012, 09:14:31 PM »
Depends, are you a guy who's carrying package for a friend? If so, you're screwed.

Are you a FedEx/UPS driver? If so, you're probably OK... Unless you had knowledge...