Should attending a cock fight be punished by a year in prison and a $100,000 fine?

That seems harsh to me. A pro-cockfighting group (for which I have little respect) is attacking Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for support of such legislation encased in last month’s farm bill. The penalty for bringing a minor to a fight is as high as 3 years in prison or a $250,000 fine.

Yes, US bills are long and complicated and it wouldn’t surprise me if McConnell devoted all of 15 seconds to the issue before it passed.

That said, if you think cockfighting is a big problem, it seems to me that asset forfeiture of those running it would be the way to go. Or maybe I can see $100 fines for the audience. $1000 if you’re feeling mean.

$100,000? At a federal level? Isn’t there a 4th amendment issue here? Are there any Burkian conservatives in Congress who opposed this measure?

The Humane Society is pleased with this development. Cockfighting is illegal in all 50 states, though enforcement is reportedly uneven. They cite relationships with drug trafficking, which sounds like a stretch to me.

Cockfighting was popular among the founding fathers during colonial times which I thought I would add, just to mention an idiotic argument. It is also the world’s oldest spectator sport, which has no relevance whatsoever. It is popular in Communist Cuba. Also Peru. And Bali.

Another brief piece: http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/politicsnow/la-pn-farm-bill-catfish-eggs-cockfighting-20140204,0,4485741.story#axzz2tqmc70R4

is there any other legal precedence for just watching illegal activity gets a year in jail? that large a fine?

What’s the penalty for viewing child pornography?

This seems like an overreaction to me. Even if cockfighting was legal with a cockfighting parlour on every corner, it wouldn’t be good but it wouldn’t be any kind of disaster that requires locking up everyone who even observes a fight.

not even locked up for 24 hours?

Perhaps you meant the Eighth Amendment?

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
There’s some interesting discussion in this Wikipedia article.

I don’t think the year in jail would qualify as “cruel and unusual” based on the cases summarized there.

The $100K fine is a closer call. Not much caselaw at all out there on point, per this article, but apparently the applicable standard is “grossly disproportional to the gravity of a defendant’s offense.” I think an argument could be made that $100K for attending a cockfight (not promoting, hosting, gambling, training, organizing or anything beyond being a mere spectator) meets that standard.

But I probably wouldn’t take the case if a Defendant tried to hire me. Not unless he also offered a huge fee. Maybe not even then.

umm… so what we are saying is, for example, they decided vandalism of less than $500 property was now a one year jail sentence and a $100,000 fine, and there was limited case law to refute it, people would get convicted and sentenced to said amount.

I would think the assumption is that everyone there has money on the outcome, but it’s hard to prove that in a raid. I would also assume that it’s the gambling that’s really the problem–drugs, crimes of violence, etc., tend to follow large groups of people wagering significant sums of money in real time.

That said, the penalty does seem all out of proportion. What’s the penalty for watching a dog fight? Gambling at an illegal card game?

How do you feel about dog fighting?
Michael Vick was charged with crimes that could have given him 5 years in jail. (Though he served less due to a plea bargain.) He’s a popular sports star, but very few people felt sorry for him, or wanted to let him off easy.

Some things simply belong on a list of “totally unacceptable for a decent society.”
Cock fighting and dog fighting are included in that list. They may be popular in other countries…but so what? ( Should we also allow ancient-Rome-style gladiator contests and fights to the death?)

i dont think physically abusive foster parents get a year for beating up a kid, do they? actually beating up a kid, not just watching it happen. of course animal fighting is bad but the penalty should still be reasonable.

Dog fights are a threat to people, because it means training large dogs to attack things. With rare exceptions, cockfighting is only a threat to a very stupid bird.

this kind of sounds like you dont care about dogs being hurt or cocks being hurt.

This analogy only holds if you think the only objection to cockfighting is what happens to the rooster. I think the objection to cockfighting is also that it’s bad when your street is flooded with people who 1) really enjoy watching something extremely violent 2) are likely using drugs or alcohol to enhance the experience 3) are betting lots of money on the outcome. Events like that tend to have all sorts of related crime that are bad for society.

Which isn’t to say it’s worse than beating a kid. But it’s not really analogous.

Is there any evidence that cockfighting is associated with drug use?

No. What he’s saying is that if vandalism < $500 carried a $100,000 fine and the case law showed that similar penalties had been upheld, people could be convicted and sentenced under the law. An absence of case law doesn’t tell us anything.

so what is to stop some zealous politician from passing some severely similar laws?

In your hypothetical? Or in real life?

ok we will just stick to the issue itself. well, i’ll try to. handball in NYC is played mostly in bad neighborhoods. people bet on games, a lot, lots of money. you have arguments over money and you have drug use (to a small degree) and lots of other similar criminal elements. so i’ve just taken out 2 of your 3 points right there. not trying to be rude, just pointing it out.

PS- not all handball courts are like that in NYC but a lot of them in the bad neighborhoods are…

in real life. what is to stop new strict laws being made that “should” be held in check.

The Eighth Amendment and public opinion.

I’m not sure that really answers the question, not if a law can be passed that gives a year in jail for watching a cockfight. (and 100K fine)

If you refer back to Oakminster’s post, you’ll see that the $100k fine probably doesn’t pass constitutional muster.