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GUNKS- NEAR TRAPPs- LOST/(BASICALLY STOLEN GEAR):
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By Matt Davis
Feb 20, 2012

Eric D wrote:
What about a single cam? You would turn that in too?


Yup.


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By Yarp
Feb 20, 2012

Matt Davis wrote:
Yarp, a tradition of keeping found gear isn't a legal defense. Of course none of this will ever see the light of day in a courtroom. But suggesting it's somehow legal to keep found gear worth more than 20 bucks because that's what's been done in the past, is erroneous. I expect you will disagree, so perhaps you could link to a news story about any crime anywhere, in which "we've been doing this for years", or something to that effect, has been a successful legal defense.


Didn't bother to dig for specific cases but the theory of Customary(law)
law is a well established concept within this country's (and many others) legal system. It is not often successfully used as a defense but I'm of the opinion that "bootied" gear is a well developed custom within our community and could thus be argued quite convincingly to a judge as a basis for removing and keeping the gear. One could also use this same theory to go after people stealing perma draws, bolts, fixed mank of all sorts, etc. etc. since it's also pretty well established in climbing circles that gear of this type is meant to be left in place.

I understand that you strongly believe that the law supports you in this Matt. I also happen to think you are wrong and that a judge would agree with me and the rest of the climbing community that cleaning abandoned trash off a wall is not theft. Unless, of course, you could show some sort of intent, knowledge, malice, etc. on the part of the person who cleaned up the litter.

How this applies to the OP? He left his gear on a wall and didn't make any efforts to notify the other users of the area that he intended on coming back to get it. Thus, based on the the "customs" that exist within this community, it is reasonable to assume that someone removing it was doing a public service rather than participating in a high angle burglary. You should be thanking the person that cleaned up this mess rather than trying to paint them as evil or ill intentioned with your accusations of thievery and implied moral degradation.


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By mitchy
From nunya gotdamn business.
Feb 20, 2012

Looks like i'll be revisiting the gunks ALOT this spring-fall, haven't climbed there in a few years, and i ain't turning in any booty.


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By Matt Davis
Feb 20, 2012

Customary law "Customary lun is a recognized source of law within jurisdictions of the civil law tradition, inferior to both statutes and regulations. In addressing custom as a source of law within the civil law tradition, John Henry Merryman notes that, though the attention it is given in scholarly works is great, its importance is "slight and decreasing."


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By Yarp
Feb 20, 2012

Yarp wrote:
It is not often successfully used as a defense but I'm of the opinion that...


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By Matt Davis
Feb 20, 2012

I understand that's your opinion. Of course I must disagree. It seems pretty clear that customary law is inferior to statutes and regulations. So, with all due respect, I think you are conveniently deceiving yourself to think somehow customary practice would supersede statutes and regulations in this instance. It comes back to the "climbers are special" idea. We're not.


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By mitchy
From nunya gotdamn business.
Feb 20, 2012

Yarp, we might as well give up. i think this cat will keep on keepin' on with this law BS. For him the law is black and white, there is no grey area like for the rest of us.


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By Yarp
Feb 20, 2012

Matt Davis wrote:
I understand that's your opinion. Of course I must disagree. It seems pretty clear that customary law is inferior to statue and regulations. So, with all due respect, I think you are conveniently deceiving yourself to think somehow customary practice would supersede statutes and regulations in this instance. It comes back to the "climbers are special" idea. We're not.



Oh for the love of christ...

Matt,

You continue to insist that those written rules and regs apply to this situation and refuse to recognize the validity of a customs defense. That's cool but the courts aren't quite as black and white as you seem to think they are.

In this case, I could easily drag a thousand climbers into a court room that would happily tell a judge that it is "customary" to remove found trad gear on a wall. You would find a few that would testify to the contrary.

I could easily convince a judge and even more so a jury that this is a common and accepted, perhaps even encouraged practice, among our community and since these things were left where only a climber or perhaps a sport rapper would be it is perfectly reasonable to assume that if you left them there, you should have reasonable expectations that they will not remain.

If he had made some effort to signify that he intended to return. Like, I don't know, maybe a fixed rope or something? Then perhaps you could argue that your "statue" and regs apply but by using a customary defense I could easly show that this was not "theft" and thus your beloved written rules don't apply.

You owe an apology to those you've been calling thieves.


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By Matt Davis
Feb 20, 2012

Yarp, you're missing the most basic of points. Custom doesn't prevail over statute or regulation. It doesn't matter how many climbers show up and say it's the customary practice.

Your statement of how you could easily convince a judge otherwise is another fanciful self-deceit. When did you last convince a judge of anything?

You're funny.


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By Andrew Buchan
From New York, NY
Feb 20, 2012

Dude. What are you talking about? In the future, just make sure you're the first one on the wall and go get your gear, you bum.


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By Yarp
Feb 20, 2012

Matt Davis wrote:
When did you last convince a judge of anything? You're funny.


Last Tuesday at 1:30 PM. He agreed with my logic and not the bullshit from the cop that pulled us over. And no, this wasn't a speeding ticket we were arguing about.

What's so funny?

When's the last time you were in a court room since we seem to be asking for credentials now?


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By Matt Davis
Feb 20, 2012

So what was it about, if not a speeding ticket? Do tell.

Did you get caught taking abandoned property from someone's abandoned car parked on the street somewhere? ;-)


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By Yarp
Feb 20, 2012

Matt Davis wrote:
So what was it about, if not a speeding ticket? Do tell. Did you get caught taking abandoned property from someone's abandoned car parked on the street somewhere? ;-)


What it was about is none of your business and completely irrelevant to this conversation. But thanks for again subjecting us to your morally superior view's. I appreciate you accusing me of theft.

Above you stated that I was missing the most basic of points. The reality is that I'm not missing anything and your continual self righteous attitude that you are right and the law on your side is doing nothing to further your argument.

I've read the "statutes" you linked to. They may be outdated by the way, and there is no link provided to their source so, yeah, whatever.

Anyway, the sticky thing about those "laws" you keep talking about is that you have to show knowledge. If someone removed the gear from the wall and then refused to give it back after knowing that it was not abandoned your laws and such would apply. However I, or anyone else with half a brain, could easily argue that there has been a long standing tradition of cleaning found "removable" gear from the cliff. The person removing it is cleaning up trash. Something left behind by someone who couldn't or wouldn't take it with them. You'd have to show that it was theft in order for your rules to apply. They don't because it wasn't. Regardless of what the voices in your head are telling you.

You'd lose this case and the lawyer's fees would come out of your pocket. Good luck with your case though.


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By Jake D.
From Northeast
Feb 20, 2012

Matt Davis wrote:
When did you last convince a judge of anything?


When was the last time you actually climbed something?

Maybe if you got your nose out of law books then perhaps you'd have a clue about the real world.


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By JesseT
From Portland, OR
Feb 20, 2012
25' drop...wheeeeee!

I can't believe this thread's still going.

Let's forget about the legality of this and talk about the ethics since law is, at its roots, a codified version of a consensus on ethics, right?

1) If you find gear that someone left behind, it's classy to give it back.

2) If you leave gear behind, fail to leave a note and don't come back early to get it it's classy not to kvetch about it (posting about lost gear is fine, accusations aren't becoming).

3) If you leave gear behind, don't leave a note and don't come back early to get it and someone is classy and returns it to you it is classy to provide compensation.

4) In case 3 it's even classier to let the finding party keep the gear.

5) If nobody ever removed left gear the cliffs would be littered with the stuff.

6) Losing gear sucks.

I'm not exactly sure what my point is...maybe that it's not perfectly black-and-white (ethics almost never is, law is designed to be, which is why law is an imperfect translation of ethics), and since different people have different values this ethical issue will likely never be resolved.


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By thomas ellis
From abq
Feb 20, 2012
Mint jullop

I have to agree with yarpe diem on this one.
I have had gear bootied and gear stolen.
Bootied: gear I left at the crag.
Stolen: gear that was in my house.
We wouldn't even use the term (universally) bootied if it was concidered inarguably stealing.
I bootied so much gear climbing in the gunks that I miss it. Not because of money but because it can be fun to find cams in trees.
With that said, I always gave gear back if I figured out who owned it. Not doing so would be theft (ethically speaking).


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By mitchy
From nunya gotdamn business.
Feb 20, 2012

i think matt could use a little weed to help him lighten the eff up a little.


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By S Denny
From Carbondale, CO
Feb 20, 2012

thomas ellis wrote:
I have to agree with yarpe diem


yes


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By PRRose
From Boulder
Feb 20, 2012

There is a New York case from early in the last century that considered the issue of whether the courts should apply Onondaga customary law. The court held that where the legislature had enacted a statute covering a particular matter, customary law could not be invoked. Customary law, it seems, has a place where there is no controlling statute. That's not the situation here, since there is a quite specific New York statute regarding found property. Accordingly, I doubt one could successfully defend against an alleged violation of the New York found property law on the basis of a purported climbers' exception.

Do you have any authority for your claim that customary law provides a defense when there is statute covering the matter? Your wikipedia link is a bit weak in that regard.

We all get to choose what laws to obey and which to ignore, and disobeying the law does not necessarily make one a bad or immoral person. After all, there are laws against speeding and smoking dope that are routinely violated without a great deal of disapprobation attaching to the unlawful conduct. But Matt is likely correct that the New York property statute applies to bootied gear, and it is a data point that one might want to take into account in evaluating the ethics of the situation.


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By Yarp
Feb 20, 2012

PRRose wrote:
There is a New York case from early in the last century that considered the issue of whether the courts should apply Onondaga customary law. The court held that where the legislature had enacted a statute covering a particular matter, customary law could not be invoked. Customary law, it seems, has a place where there is no controlling statute. That's not the situation here, since there is a quite specific New York statute regarding found property. Accordingly, I doubt one could successfully defend against an alleged violation of the New York found property law on the basis of a purported climbers' exception. Do you have any authority for your claim that customary law provides a defense when there is statute covering the matter? Your wikipedia link is a bit weak in that regard. We all get to choose what laws to obey and which to ignore, and disobeying the law does not necessarily make one a bad or immoral person. After all, there are laws against speeding and smoking dope that are routinely violated without a great deal of disapprobation attaching to the unlawful conduct. But Matt is likely correct that the New York property statute applies to bootied gear, and it is a data point that one might want to take into account in evaluating the ethics of the situation.


Mostly true. I'd argue that the statutes regarding found property don't apply because any "reasonable" person (but more specifically a "reasonable" climber) would assume that this gear had been abandoned. If it's abandoned it can't be stolen. I would think that a judge or jury would be very interested in hearing the specifics regarding how the community has handled these situations. I don't know how NY law handles the "abandoned issue either.

The reality is that judges don't exist in a vacuum and that they can consider the specific situations when making their decisions. I don't believe that this statute would prohibit a judge from finding that it would be perfectly reasonable to assume that any climber coming across this gear would remove it thinking it was left behind and abandoned. It's not a bike sitting next to a park bench and the very nature of the activity would certainly have some impact on how this was viewed by a court of law.

I'm not making any claims that the laws are in my favor. I will however point out once again that the laws are not so cut and dried as Matt would like them to be.

I agree with others in this thread that the appropriate thing to do would be to return the gear if at all possible. But calling someone a thief and claiming the law should paddle their ass in the best interest of the general public is simply ridiculous.

Edit: Yeah the wikki link is more than a little weak. I'm lazy and that popped up first. Google's got lots more to read regarding customary law and how it's been used historically and how it applies today.


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By MJMobes
From The land of steady habits
Feb 20, 2012
modern man

To me when I find gear on a route, unless its an anchor that obviously someone bailed on(and maybe I have seen blood somewhere on the pitch), the gear is worth 0.00 dollars, it doesnt matter if it is shiny and brand new looking or old and worn. NY state law problem solved, used gear from an unknown source is not worth anything, it only has some personal/sentimental value.

I think people that constantly lose gear are just bent out of shape from losing so much shit.


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By Eric D
From Gnarnia
Feb 21, 2012
Born again on the last move of the Red Dihedral, high Sierras.

Matt Davis wrote:
Yup.


You are then in the minority in regards to this issue. You can argue the law all that you want, but that is not what climbers generally consider to be acceptable protocol in this situation.

Kind of like speeding 2mph over the limit. Illegal? Yes. Generally considered acceptable? Yes.


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By Matt Davis
Feb 23, 2012

Yarp, way upthread you wrote this, which is what attracted my attention in the first place.

Yarp wrote:
The law agrees with me even if you don't


Now you write this.

Yarp wrote:
I'm not making any claims that the laws are in my favor.


Make up your mind. :-)

------------------------------------

Mobley makes a good argument for the most part. Most of the crap left on the cliff is just that, crap. And most of it that's not crap is worth less that $20. Used cams sell on eBay for more than $20 though. But just saying something is worthless to you and therefore it's value is zero and you can take it, legally, doesn't wash. I could simply say your car is worthless to me, and therefore you shouldn't mind if I take it. These values for cams are moot though because this is such a petty crime that no one will care. It's not as if one would get arrested or prosecuted for such an infraction.

Still though, taking property worth more than $20 is a criminal act and those who commit those acts are indeed criminals.

---------------------------------------------------------

Eric D at least presents a candid view. "We're thieves. So what?"


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By Jake D.
From Northeast
Feb 23, 2012

oh for fucks sake shut up.. we know what you think. you said it like 47 times.

you know this thread started in AUGUST.


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By Matt Davis
Feb 23, 2012

Having a bad day Jakey?


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