6 San Joaquin Agric. L. Rev. 193 (1996)
United States v. Wang-Lin Company: The Kangaroo Rat and Criminal Prosecution under the Endangered Species Act

handle is hein.journals/sjlar6 and id is 195 raw text is: United States v. Wang Lin Company: The
Kangaroo Rat and Criminal Prosecution
Under the Endangered Species Act
The case involving Taung Ming-Lin, a Taiwanese immigrant
charged with criminal penalties for violating the Endangered Spe-
cies Act (ESA),' provides a useful framework within which to ex-
amine the issues that arise under prosecution of the Act. Califor-
nia has 161 federally defined threatened and endangered species,
which necessarily creates a conflict as farmers try to reap the
bounty of the state's vast agricultural lands.
The case of immigrant Ming-Lin and his corporation, Wang
Lin Co., Inc., received a great deal of media attention. Farmers
around the country joined in one thought: Could that have
been me?2 With questions about ESA regulations and permit ap-
plications, and with concerns about their Fifth Amendment rights
to just compensation for a taking of property, farmers across
America identified with Ming-Lin and championed his cause.
The Wang Lin case has contributed more questions than an-
swers to the scope of criminal liability under the ESA. Because it
was resolved through a plea bargain,3 the case did not add to ex-
isting case law, and did not settle questions about how the ESA
can and should apply to private property. It did not become a
signpost for landowners who sought to avoid government inter-
vention while maintaining economically viable use of their land.
Even the facts of the case do not provide for clear legal anal-
ogy to be used by a landowner seeking to avoid pitfalls in an en-
dangered species statute that contains many unknowns. While the
defense painted a picture of a poor immigrant farmer blind-sided
16 U.S.C. §§ 1531-1544  (1995).
2 Russell Clemings, Valley Farmers Angry Over Endangered Species Prosecution,
FRESNO BEE, Aug. 1, 1994, at Al.
3 Stipulation and Order, United States v. Wang Lin Co., No. 94-5041 (E.D.
Cal. May 1, 1995).

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