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Case Summary

United States v. McClain

United States v. McClain (McClain I), 545 F.2d 988 (5th Cir. 1977), reh’g denied, 551 F. 2d 52 (5th Cir. 1977); United States v. McClain (McClain II) 593 F.2d 658 (5th Cir. 1979), cert. denied, 444 U.S. 918 (1979). 

The McClain case (which includes two 5th Circuit opinions, known as McClain I and II) was the second case in which the National Stolen Property Act, 18 U.S.C.§2314 ("NSPA") was used to prosecute, as criminal traffickers in stolen property, United States citizens who brought pre-Columbian objects into the U.S. from Latin America. At issue was whether a Mexican statute, adopted in 1972, which declared that all pre-Columbian objects then located in Mexico were the “imprescriptible property of the Nation,” created sufficient ownership rights in the Mexican Government so that . . . .

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