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Not stiff enough in my opinion.


Area poachers get stiff sentences

By Jim Morris

Staff Writer

Sunday, May 06, 2007

There is a judge in Darke County who seems to have the right outlook on dealing with poachers. Municipal Court Judge Julie L. Monnin recently handed down a pair of sentences that show wildlife law violators they'd best not wind up in front of her if found guilty.

As those who have followed the history of wildlife law in Ohio well know, it has been a struggle to find courts that take infractions of wildlife law seriously. Poachers have been getting slapped on the wrist too long instead of paying serious fines and doing jail time.

As one wildlife official told me, in the past the judges in cities rarely impose stiff penalties for wildlife violations because, when stacked up against the murders and other serious crimes they must adjudicate every day, wildlife law does not seem as important. And to be sure, there is no comparison between killing a human and killing a deer.

Perhaps, then, judges in rural counties do have a better appreciation for the need to enforce wildlife law. Monnin certainly does.

She recently lowered the boom on two deer spotlighters. Thanks to a tip from a concerned citizen and an undercover investigation by District 5 wildlife officers, the two poachers were nailed for their illegal activity during the extra weekend of last year's deer gun season, in December.

"They were doing a little bit of just about everything," said Dave Brown, law enforcement supervisor for District 5. "They were spotlighting, hunting without permission, not tagging deer, killing deer over their limit and killing deer with a rifle ... a total of 26 charges."

Trenten Livingston, 20, of Greenville was found guilty on 19 charges. Monnin meted out the following sentence: $1,900 in fines; 30 days on monitored house arrest; probation with the condition that he does not commit similar violations for two years; $1,600 in restitution; and loss of hunting and trapping privileges in Ohio for five years.

Richard Shives, 22, also of Greenville, was found guilty on seven charges including jacklighting deer; illegal use of a rifle in taking deer; taking of a deer during the closed season; and attempting to take an over-limit of deer. He was ordered to pay $1,050 in fines; serve 30 days on monitored house arrest; pay restitution of $400; serve two years probation; and lose hunting and trapping privileges in Ohio for five years.

In addition, the two forfeited two rifles, two shotguns, one compound bow, several knives, an estimate of more than 150 pounds of deer meat, and antlers.

As the result of the investigation, six others faced wildlife violations.

"These two guys bragged that they are the 'best deer poachers around,' " Brown said. "I think they got what they deserved."
 
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