Appealing a fishing suspension

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ktzdaman

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Hello friends,

My fishing buddy recently committed a big no-no. He was salmon fishing and caught an out of season fish. He is a young guy (22) and has been fishing his whole life. There were people around him (all had suspended fishing licenses and incidents with ODFW) that he did not know and were very intimidating telling him to keep the fish. After he left the people called ODFW on him and reported him.

He hired a lawyer to try to help him out, however he lost the case and was fined 1500 (on top of lawyer fees) and had his license suspended for 3 years.

I have known this guy since he was in my 4th grade classroom and most recently have reconnected with him as he has got me in to the sport of fishing. I truly feel that this was a one time accident with an incredibly tuff suspension. Is there a way to appeal his decision? Is there anything that I can do to help him?

Thank you for your advice.

Shane
 
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Snopro

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I don't have any good advice other than don't give into peer pressure if you know something is wrong.

It does seems like a harsher penalty than normal for a single salmon. https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/496.992

Is there more to the story? What river? What species?
 
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troutdude

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How did he/do you know that those other fishermen had suspended licenses? Especially given that your friend didn't know any of them.

Putting that aside...It sounds like this is the only time that he's violated the laws. So it seems like a fine would've sufficed. Unless he has a rap sheet with previous violations.

However no one is really to blame except himself. And it's a bitter pill to swallow; but unfortunately he's an adult whom should've known better.
 
hobster

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I agree with troutdude, there is really no excuse for not knowing the regs and keeping fish you shouldn’t. That penalty does seem extremely harsh though, was there anything else involved?
 
Troutski

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Hello friends,

My fishing buddy recently committed a big no-no. He was salmon fishing and caught an out of season fish. He is a young guy (22) and has been fishing his whole life. There were people around him (all had suspended fishing licenses and incidents with ODFW) that he did not know and were very intimidating telling him to keep the fish. After he left the people called ODFW on him and reported him.

He hired a lawyer to try to help him out, however he lost the case and was fined 1500 (on top of lawyer fees) and had his license suspended for 3 years.

I have known this guy since he was in my 4th grade classroom and most recently have reconnected with him as he has got me in to the sport of fishing. I truly feel that this was a one time accident with an incredibly tuff suspension. Is there a way to appeal his decision? Is there anything that I can do to help him?

Thank you for your advice.

Shane
The fine would have been more in line for his offence, like was said we don't have all the facts. I would think there is a way to get the suspension reduced after 18 months, might be worth looking into.
Bummer to learn the hard way...

Chuck
 
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ktzdaman

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Thank you guys for the responses,

The attorney that he hired did the leg work on the people that reported him and found out that they all had suspended licenses. I guess he was trying to prove they were not credible.

He does not have any other negative strikes on his record. I've been fishing with this guy for 6 months now and can tell you he knows his regs and knows his fish. I have never seen him do anything immoral or against the law. I have even painfully put back some beautiful catches because we know that it is the right thing to do and the law.

The way he told me, the story goes - he has a fish on and people ran from around the beach to watch him reel it in. A couple of older men grabbed the fish as it came out of the water and 'helped' bring it in. They then did the wink wink nudge nudge to him. He took the fish and left. Odfw showed up at his place a couple days later via a license plate referral.

I completely agree with you about knowing your regs and your fish. Being a new fisherman, I have personally struggled with all the crazy changes that happen and having to check regs vs. online updates and what not. Still, there is no excuse. He made a bad choice. I just feel that the fine along with 3 years is a bit harsh. Especially for a young guy who lives for the outdoors.
 
Echskech

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Sketchy story. I wish your friend a great fishing season and a good harvest in 3 years time :(
 
Irishrover

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ODF&W would not show up at the door it would be a game officer from the Oregon State Police.

If he has an attorney the attorney should know the appeals route.

If he was cited for unlawful harvest and retention of a game fish the case would be heard in a circuit court in the county were he caught the fish. The fine and suspension would be determined by the judge in that court.

If the story is as described an OSP officer could show up at the friends residence and question him about the incident. The friend is under no obligation to speak to the officer. Without an admission, most likely he would not have been cited.

Suspect there is much more to this story.

This is where the big fine and suspension came from: Ors 496.992 (6)

"A violation of a provision of the wildlife laws, or a rule adopted pursuant to the wildlife laws, relating to the size or quantity limits for fish or shellfish, other than size and quantity limits for salmon, steelhead trout and sturgeon, is a Class C violation if the offense is committed without a culpable mental state."

Sorry to hear your friend made the choice he did.
 
troutdude

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Yeah this story is getting kinda fishy indeed. ODFW can’t show up at your door 3 days later, they need to catch you in the act with the fish to do anything.
EXACTLY what I am now thinking. "Word of mouth" won't get you ticketed. A game warden/Trooper has to personally witness the OFFense. I'm beginning to feel like our collective legs are being pulled.
 
hobster

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ODF&W would not show up at the door it would be a game officer from the Oregon State Police.
Absolutely right, I was going to correct myself but forgot. I’ve only been checked by State Troopers. I still don’t believe anyone can show up at your doorstep with just hearsay, you must get caught in the act.
 
troutdude

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Absolutely right, I was going to correct myself but forgot. I’ve only been checked by State Troopers. I still don’t believe anyone can show up at your doorstep with just hearsay, you must get caught in the act.
As the infamous Bill Schonely would say...BINGO BANGO BONGO!!!
 
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