- June 30, 1921 – E. J. Staley (Commissioner) to JSA
I have your favor of June 29th with enclosure regarding the Underwood case in Schoharie County.
I fully appreciate the attitude to which you refer on the part of game protectors, and that the educational features of their work are very important and that their duties in regard to enforcing the law should be so performed as to receive public commendation rather than public condemnation, if such can be done within the requirements of the law.
In this particular case the law provides that frogs shall not be taken, possessed, bought or sold, except from July 1st to March 31st. As you know the statute is one penal in its nature, and the question of intent is not, as a matter of law, an element of the offense. If the thing which the law prohibits is done, it constitutes a violation of the law, whether it was done innocently or intentionally.
While it is my purpose to sustain and support the protectors who are doing their duty as required by law, it is not my purpose to encourage them in prosecuting people upon doubtful technicalities.
Thanking you for calling this matter to my attention, I beg to remain,
Very truly yours,
- J. Staley, Commissioner