United States v. Gerber

999 F.2d 1112 (1993)

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United States v. Gerber

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
999 F.2d 1112 (1993)

  • Written by Robert Cane, JD

Facts

General Electric owned a piece of land in Indiana that included an ancient Indian burial mound containing many artifacts. During construction of a highway on the land, workers uncovered the burial mound. The workers alerted Bill Way, also one of the workers on the project, to the existence of the artifacts. Way, a collector of Indian artifacts, bulldozed into the burial mound and discovered hundreds of artifacts. He removed many artifacts and took them home that day. Way was introduced to Arthur Gerber (defendant) through an acquaintance because Gerber was a well-known collector of Indian artifacts. In exchange for the artifacts Way had removed and guidance to the burial mound, Gerber paid Way $6,000. Making several trips to the site, Gerber removed hundreds of artifacts. Eventually, Gerber was spotted by a security guard and ejected from the site. Soon after, Gerber sold some of the artifacts from the burial mound in Kentucky. Gerber admitted to accessing the burial mound and removing the artifacts without permission and that he had violated Indiana state law by committing criminal trespass at the site and by conversion of the artifacts. He also admitted to transporting the artifacts in interstate commerce. Gerber pleaded guilty to violations of the § 470ee(c) of the Archaeological Resources Protection Act (the act), but he preserved his right to appeal the applicability of § 470ee(c) to his conduct. Gerber appealed and argued that § 470ee(c) applied only to violations of state and local laws that were on federal or Indian lands or that it applied only to state and local laws that expressly protected archaeological objects.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Posner, J.)

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