The Farmer And The Dolphin is the story of an 86-year-old World War II U.S. Navy veteran who found himself unfairly charged with the killing of a dolphin while vacationing along the South Carolina coast. For more than 40 years, C.P. Mincey, a farmer from rural Marion County, S.C., had fished with a lightweight gill net in front of his vacation home on Garden City Beach, S.C. On an autumn morning in 2013 Mincey walked down to the strand and found a dead dolphin in his net. Within hours he was cited by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Mincey’s fine was set at $6500. Despite the long odds against him, Mincey chose to fight the U.S. government in court with the help of LaFon LeGette, a veteran attorney from Latta, S.C. In a 15-month-long battle, Mincey took on NOAA, the government agency that brought the charge against him. This unusual case was argued in a courtroom at Georgetown, S.C., before a federal administrative law judge in July 2014. And in January 2015 the judge ruled for Mincey and against NOAA.
Author William Walker attended the hearing and tells this unique story with precision, clarity and a measure of good humor. He provides an unexpected behind the scenes perspective of how the Mincey family, their attorney and a supporting cast from the little town of Nichols, S.C, joined in the successful fight against a powerful U.S. government agency. Walker’s extensive research for the book reveals that internal government inspector general reports have previously criticized NOAA for its dealing with the public and for arbitrarily levying fines which appeared excessive. The research also showed that Mincey’s case was quite out of the ordinary for investigators. NOAA records show him as the only private, non-commercial fisherman charged with the death of a dolphin since 2010. The author’s research of NOAA activities was completed despite the near total lack of cooperation by the organization which declined to answer detailed questions about the Mincey case or allow any of its employees to be interviewed.
Walker concludes in the book, “I hope you will find The Farmer And The Dolphin at its heart a message to law officers and government officials alike that they must be fair and open with the public they serve. That justice tempered with the application of common sense is the American way. That government agencies work for the people, not against them, and must treat individuals with respect. As this story shows, anything less is unacceptable in these United States.”