Posts Tagged ‘Chris McAliley’

Malaysia Launches GREEN COURTS, Takes Global Leadership Role on Environmental Crime

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Everyone knows that wildlife law enforcement around the world is terribly underfunded and that hardly any wildlife traffickers ever go to jail.  In The Lizard King, the very motivated Agent Chip Bepler couldn’t get federal prosecutors to take his endangered species cases when they had the NY mafia’s John Gotti to go after. 

I have said it before, but one of my discoveries while researching The Lizard King was that historically the most important innovation in wildlife law enforcement was not more money or more cops, but a committed court.  Perhaps the key step a country can take to reduce environmental crime is to separate environmental prosecutions from other forms of crime. When the US Department of Justice did this it revolutionized wildlife and environmental prosecutions in the US.   Today’s Environmental and Natural Resources Division enables federal wildlife and environmental investigators to take their cases directly to a knowledgeable prosecutor, who can help push a case forward.   In The Lizard King, AUSA Chris McAlilley created a mini-version of the ENRD in the Miami office of the Justice Department and that move ended up key to sending Mike Van Nostrand to prison.

And so it is with this background one should consider this news from Malaysia this week:  “The Environmental Court set up by the judiciary on Sept 3 will start operations on Monday.”  Malaysia is launching Green Courts!   Here is the full story in The Star

And lest anyone forget, this effort to create a green court rises in large part from the voice of  Azrina Abdullah, who called for a green court in her editorial November 2010.  The voice of committed individuals can make a difference around the world.  It takes passion and brains, and Azrina Abdullah has both.

 

Courts are Everything

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

In researching The Lizard King I discovered that historically the most important innovation in wildlife law enforcement was not more money or more cops, but a committed court.  The creation of the Wildlife and Marine Resources Division in the US Dept of Justice and its attendant Environmental Crimes Section in the wake of the Henry Molt reptile smuggling case was the single most important development in getting wildlife crimes prosecuted. AUSA (now judge) Chris McAliley modeled her prosecutorial office in Miami after the DOJ’s Environmental Crime Section as did a prosecutor in California, resulting in the two of the most effective wildlife enforcement jurisdictions in the world.   It’s worth adding that John Webb (below) was McAliley’s mentor.  As usual, Azrina Abdullah says it best:

Judges warm up to green issues  by Azrina Abdullah (22 Nov 2010)

MUCH has been said in my column and letters to the editor about the need for stronger enforcement and laws to shed Malaysia’s image as an illegal wildlife trade hub. The focus has been on enforcement. And to the government’s credit, laws have been improved and enforced, in addition to investigations by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission of a senior staff of the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan).

However, many tend to forget that judges play an essential role in the efforts to reduce wildlife trafficking. It is only in recent years that the judiciary was recognised as a key agent in the (more…)