The Associated Press
MOBILE -- A federal judge, citing appeals court decisions, said it would be improper for him to reverse an 8-year prison sentence for a Honduran businessman who was convicted of lobster-smuggling but whose country now says no law was broken.
A jury in Mobile convicted David Henson McNab in 2000 of violating the Lacey Act, a U.S. law that prohibits people from importing plants and wildlife that were taken in violation of the laws of a foreign country.
The Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal after the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that changes in Honduran law, which made McNab's actions legal, did not justify overturning the conviction.
McNab's lawyers turned to Senior U.S. District Judge Charles Butler Jr. in Mobile. But Butler ruled Monday that it would be improper to reverse the sentence because the appeals courts already have upheld it.
The Honduran government, which worked closely with prosecutors during the trial, reversed course and has lobbied strongly ever since for McNab's release.