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Thread: Alaska courts have no mercy

  1. #1
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    Default Alaska courts have no mercy

    Alaska courts have no mercy when it comes to hunters pleading guilty to a hunting violation even though the violation was not intentional. If you kill an illegal moose by accident and/or there was no way of knowing the animal was illegal and turns it in to a trooper there is no mercy in the courts.

    If you read, “hunters caught on horns of antlers dilemma” by Craig Medred” in the Anchorage daily news on Sunday you will understand why I say this. This is one of many hunters who turn in an animal into the trooper, plead guilty and given no mercy.
    It makes a person wonder why the courts feel sorry for a drug dealer, crook, ect, and not a person who is trying to feed his family, and makes a mistake. Could the answer be, drug dealer, crook, ect do not turn themselves in, give the trooper all the evident and plead guilty.

  2. #2
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    Default Touchy Subject

    I would have to agree on the part about providing all the evidence to condemn yourself but at the same time it's the right thing to do. I would only hope the judge would shows me some mercy since I did the right thing after I done the wrong thing. Hope to never have to find out..... I didn't read the article due to not being home so I was wondering about the sentence or fine. None the less, I think it takes a man with real ethics and lots of integrity to come forward and admit his wrongdoing and I have to commend the guy for that.

  3. #3
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    Default I always thought of this during moose season.

    I would be pissed if a judge stuck it to me for being ohnest. It make you think twice about turning your self in. If there is no differnce in punishment why turn yourself in. Yes it's the right thing to do.

    Well I hope the judge realizes his mistake.
    Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Default

    I read that story also and had the same reaction. For those who haven't seen it, here is the link:

    http://www.adn.com/outdoors/craig_me...-9326132c.html

    Basically, they made it illegal to keep a moose with a broken antler. The guys in this story shot what appeared to be legal moose, but upon close examination, the antlers were found to have been damaged at some point (naturally). The rule was put in to prevent someone from intentionally altering an antler to make a moose appear to be legal, however the wording of a "damaged" antler made it all-inclusive and the troopers took the letter of the law instead of the intent. The judge stated after the fact that he wished these guys would have plead not guilty so that the intent of the law could be challenged, but by pleading guilty they actually set precidence for the rule to mean any naturally broken antler is illegal as well as an intentionally altered one.
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  5. #5
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    Default no mercy everywhere?

    So they turn themselves in and get no mercy? Some places in alsaka, poachers that shoot moose out of season, in a no season area, cows instead of bulls and DON'T turn themselves in but instead get caught, nothing happens to them. THis is a total hipocracy.

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    Default enforcement discreation

    all it would have taken was some enforcement discretion on the part of the trooper.......

    people will say this "can't be done", but it's done all the time.....

    this was moronic and is what leads to an "us vs. them" mentality concerning fishing and hunting laws.....

    if I understand the article correctly the antler was damaged at some point while still in the developement stage

  7. #7

    Default

    Thats really sad and probably why we have all heard the horror stories of guys finding a whole bull moose or a cow Caribou dead, with a bullet hole in it and left to go to waste. I have always been the kind of guy that if I did do something wrong accidentally that honesty is my only virtue. But I have friends that will tell you differently and its because they have been there done that and the consequences werent good. That aticle and the actions taken really sucks!

  8. #8
    Member SoggyMountain's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JOAT View Post
    I read that story also and had the same reaction. For those who haven't seen it, here is the link:

    http://www.adn.com/outdoors/craig_me...-9326132c.html

    Basically, they made it illegal to keep a moose with a broken antler. The guys in this story shot what appeared to be legal moose, but upon close examination, the antlers were found to have been damaged at some point (naturally). The rule was put in to prevent someone from intentionally altering an antler to make a moose appear to be legal, however the wording of a "damaged" antler made it all-inclusive and the troopers took the letter of the law instead of the intent. The judge stated after the fact that he wished these guys would have plead not guilty so that the intent of the law could be challenged, but by pleading guilty they actually set precidence for the rule to mean any naturally broken antler is illegal as well as an intentionally altered one.
    That's a good take on it JOAT... Both ADF&G and the courts could/should have recognized a legal moose with a broken antler.
    "...just because we didn't agree with you doesn't mean we didn't have good discussion. It just means you missed it." -JMG-

  9. #9
    Member Matt's Avatar
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    Default

    I know and it's pretty sad. It makes you not want to turn yourself in.

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    Everyone seems to agree that the "Right thing to do" is to turn yourself in, why? I certainly would consider turning myself in if that would bring the mistakenly killed animal back to life, but it will still be dead. How many people have ever stopped in at the police station to turn themselves in for accidently running a red light? Would you just turn yourself in because you want to be punished? If that is the case why not just right out a big check to a charity rather than the State of Alaska? Or better yet write me a check if it will make you feel better.

  11. #11

    Default Wont let me put on thread

    Have you ever broken the law ? Ran a stop sign or not come to a complete stop at a stop sign ? Went to fast for conditions ? If you have and not turned yourself in for the violation then you are just wrong and a law violiater. Have you ever drank a little to much and drove home ? Time to turn yourself in .

    If someone turns themself in for Breaking the law .For shooting something that was not legal game .There are situations that happen ! If they bring in there should be a fine A very small one .Like not hunting for a year .Or 250.00

    If I shot an animal and it turned out not to be legal .I am sorry but I would give that animal every respect that a legal animal deserves I would eat it.
    But truth be known I am not going to shoot an animal that is not legal.Thats just me though .If I have to shoot an animal defending my life I will not bring it out for the troopers I will give them the GPS # of where it is at and they can go in and recover there Pelt

  12. #12
    Member Kay9Cop's Avatar
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    Default

    It's not the part where they turned themselves in, it's the part where they said they were quilty of the crime that caused their dilema. The right thing to do was to turn themselves in and go to court where they should have plead their case. Instead, they chose to not object to the citation and take the punishment. Why would you plead guilty to something you didn't do or didn't think was wrong?

    A perfect example is if I shot a sheep that in my opinion was full curl and a sealer said it wasn't. I wouldn't take the citation and plead guilty; I would go to court and attempt to make the judge see it my way if I thought I did the right thing.

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    Default Mercy?

    What was the fine? What sentence did the judge impose? What are the fines and sentences imposed for people who got caught but did nothing to help or come forward on their own. Maybe I missed that part so somebody can point me in the right direction to see what the judge did, especially compared to more egregious cases. The guys plead guilty, the judges hands were tied to some degree, how do you know he did not give a lighter sentence?
    I agree with K-9, never, never plead guilty or no contest to something that just seems wrong to you. And never go to court without a professional on your side. Unless of course you are willing to take whatever comes your way. Law enforcement and the judiciary are not there to play games. Nothing they do should be taken lightly.
    Losing my hunting priveledges for a year, a multi hundred dollar fine or more, loss of my meat, and possible loss of my gear, not to mention my reputation is all too valuable to start playing games where I do not know the rules. Spend the money, hire a pro.

  14. #14
    Member Queen of Kings's Avatar
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    Default Exactly

    Quote Originally Posted by Kay9Cop View Post
    It's not the part where they turned themselves in, it's the part where they said they were quilty of the crime that caused their dilema. The right thing to do was to turn themselves in and go to court where they should have plead their case. Instead, they chose to not object to the citation and take the punishment. Why would you plead guilty to something you didn't do or didn't think was wrong?

    A perfect example is if I shot a sheep that in my opinion was full curl and a sealer said it wasn't. I wouldn't take the citation and plead guilty; I would go to court and attempt to make the judge see it my way if I thought I did the right thing.
    As stated, it doesn't seem to bright on thier part. But of course you have to remember who wrote this article, so how much FACT is being presented here? Most of the cases that I have heard about, when a mistake was made and the individual came forward, pleaded thier case, the minimum was "state resitution" $$ for the animal value and the rest of the fine or sentence was removed. Doesn't sound like this guy made a mistake other than not speaking his peace to the judge and pleading not guilty. Again this is only "C---g's" portion of the story. I would be willing to bet the hunter has another version?
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    Default

    The article slant was that the antlers were broken; the law says specifically that the broken antler made the moose illegal, therefore the hunters (2 separate guys in 2 separate incidents) notified the troopers that the animals they had harvested had broken antlers and the troopers wrote citations based on the letter of the law. In the courtroom, since both parties agreed that the antlers were in fact broken, the hunters (being honest law-abiding citizens) agreed with the facts and assumed that since the facts were clear that they should plead guilty. But this was an error on their part. If they would have plead not guilty, then it would have been up to the judge to look at the facts of the case and hear out both sides to make a determination. By pleading guilty, they didn't allow the court to do anything in their favor. In short, they didn't plead their case at all.

    As a personal example, quite a few years ago I was pulled over for an expired tag on my car. I had no idea that the tag was expired, but sure enough, it had expired a month prior. The officer wrote me a ticket. I immediately contacted DMV and was told that a large batch of renewal notices were not mailed out due to a computer error in Juneau and this included mine. I paid the renewal and they were happy to charge me the extra "in person" fee even though they didn't send me a means to renew by mail at the lower rate. On the ticket, I marked "not guilty" due to the fact that DMV failed to send me a notice. In court, I told the judge that I did not contest the facts of the charge but had extenuating circumstances that I wanted him to consider and presented the info from the DMV and the proof that I renewed the tag in a matter of hours after it was brought to my attention. He said that it sounded good enough to him and tossed out the ticket entirely. No fine, no ticket.

    I believe that these hunters, if they would have contested the citation, would probably have received similar treatment by the court. Yes, they technically broke the letter of the law, but the circumstances would allow for great leeway by the judge to compare their actions to the intent of the law.

    And, as pointed out by another post, if the law enforcement officers in any of these cases would have used a little common sense discretion, none of this would have taken up valuable time in a courtroom at taxpayer's expense. In my case, it was a new and young city police officer with little experience. Any number of older officers at that department that I know would have said, "did you know your registration is expired?" most likely followed by "go get it fixed." And off I would have went to the DMV without a ticket in hand and everyone would be happy, even the DMV for getting that extra counter fee.
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  16. #16
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    Default Very Interesting

    This is an interesting post because a poplar TV hunting show hostess recently recieved a ticket for shooting a cow moose. She did shoot a bull and somehow a cow was wounded. The guide had to shoot the wounded cow as it was hurt badly. And as an ethical guide he had to report it.

    Said TV hostess, recieved the ticket. Details of the entire incident are not out but it was the ethical thing to do shooting the wounded cow. On Nov. 7th when the case goes to the judge we will have to see. She did not mention anything on her web page of the incident although she did describe the hunt leaving out the cow incident. Show to air next fall.

    So will honesty pay off for her?

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    Default Sentencing is very Different

    At least in Kenai, the sentencing structure is completely different between someone who turns himself in and someone who attempts to get away with it--but both have consequences. Before going into private practice, I was with the the DA's office and we typically recommended that the court sentence self reporting indivuals with a violation and a $300 fine for sub-legal moose. If someone was actually poaching or was turned in by someone else after processing, etc., then it would often be prosecuted as a crime and the penalties were much, much more steep--including possible forfeiture of guns, truck, atv, etc... These were simply generalities and varied depending on the cases. Big difference in the court's eyes between someone who shoots a 30" vs. 49" bull or a spike/fork vs. a young paddle bull.

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    Let your conscience be your guide, but remember the Alaska State Troopers are, not your friends.
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    Default agreed

    concur with smitty.

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    Default smitty's right

    I agree with smitty

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