Fraud Prosecution for Specific False Statements About Meat Claimed to Be Halal Allowed,

This 2015 Chief Judge Linda Reade (N.D. Iowa), interesting and correct, just happened to me. U.S. v. Aossey:

A grand jury returned an Indictment of 92 counts on December 5, 2014. (Docket no. 6) charging defendants with [among other things] … making false statements on export certificates … [and] wire fraud ….

The Establishment Clause prohibits the government from requiring truthful statements on foreign export documents relating to Halal slaughter, according to defendants. …

Commack Self–Service Kosher Meats, Inc. v. Weiss (2d Cir. (2d Cir. 2002). The Second Circuit ruled that the Kosher Fraud Statutes were in violation of the Establishment Clause. They had the primary effect to advance and hinder religion, and create an excess government entanglement. New York statutes are “define.”[d]”Kosher” means “prepared according to orthodox Hebrew religious requirements,” mandate[d]Respecting these requirements is essential [were]These requirements are essential for the enforcement by the state. According to the Second Circuit, the statutes required that the government “interpret “kosher” as meaning “of one branch of Orthodox Judaism”. This resulted in “the State effectively aligning itself with one side or another of an internal Judaism debate.” These statutes, according to the Second Circuit’s conclusion, “excessively embrangle New York State and religion” and are therefore in violation of the Establishment Clause. …

[T]The court found that statutes under which defendants are being prosecuted have clearly had a secular purpose. While the defendants acknowledge that they are charged with crimes that have a secular purpose on the face, they claim that there are more restrictive ways of achieving the same end. The defendants argue that criminalizing false statements about the underlying slaughter is a crime.[ ]It is the enforcing of religions that has no secular value.”

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The question of whether the government’s action is secular or restrictive is irrelevant to first. The court is also not in agreement with the Defendants when it comes to false statements being criminalized as enforcement of religious beliefs. Instead, it ensures that both purchasers and users of meat products can be protected and protects America’s reputation on the markets. These purposes are not religious.

Next, the court finds that the instant prosecution neither advances nor inhibits religion in its principal or primary effect…. The government does not advocate or uphold a specific religious interpretation. Rather, the government in this case merely seeks to enforce factually verifiable false representations….

[T]He was in court [also]Finds that the prosecution in this case does not encourage excessive government entanglement and religion. If the prosecution moves forward, defendants claim that it would have to decide and apply foreign Halal slaughter rules if there is a government attempt to enforce these religious requirements.

The jury and the court will not have to determine what Halal is. The government does not claim that the defendants were selling Halal products, but that they are actually Halal. Contrary to the assertions of Defendants, neither the court or the jury are required to “determine.”[e] … whether religious slaughter requirements have been complied with.”

Instead, the government alleges that Defendants made specific and false representations. The government claims that these false representations were used by defendants to make their customers believe that their meat products are Halal.

A jury is not required to find out whether Halal meat products are in fact Halal. It only needs to make sure that the Defendants have made specific and false representations. It doesn’t matter what the Halal meat looks like. The government could have merely claimed that the defendants represented their meat products to be Halal and they believed these meat products weren’t Halal. However, the government alleges that Defendants did more than represent that their meat was Halal—the government alleges that they made express, false representations about the way Defendants’ meat products were raised and slaughtered. “[T]he government, in its role as … enforcer, may interact with religious organizations.” … [T]He government isn’t trying to force a specific religious viewpoint. Even though the government may interact with religion, it does not automatically mean the government is violating the Establishment Clause.

The defendants also claimed that the Establishment Clause prevents the jurisdiction to regulate Halal slaughter because of the political divisiveness involved in enforcing religious slaughter laws of other countries. This case is not considered politically divisive by the court. The Establishment Clause analyses are not affected by the fact that the case is politically divisive. The court has the authority to decide cases, whether they are politically divisive.

Because the Indictment has a secular purpose, neither advances nor inhibits religion in its principal or primary effect and does not foster an excessive government entanglement with religion, the court shall deny the Motions to the extent they argue that the instant prosecution violates the Establishment Clause….