Cumberland Times-News

Outdoors

January 19, 2014

Hunting, fishing violations

After further review, the call on the field

does not stand.

The field I am talking about is the Cumberland

Times-News and the call is the way we

report violations of hunting and fishing regulations

that are alleged to have

taken place in Maryland.

The Maryland Natural

Resources Police is being

very thorough in making us

aware of violations. They

range from fishing without a

license to baiting bears to

having a salmon egg in your

pocket on a stream where

that is a no-no.

From having covered

these sorts of incidents for

many years, we know that

some people are found guilty and some are

found not guilty. Other cases are nolle

prossed, which means they pretty much

become moot. Some are put on the stet docket,

with kind of the same result.

In addition, some cases are postponed or

rescheduled. That makes following the bouncing

ball a bit more difficult.

All of this, of course, requires a great deal of

attention from a reporter if a case is going to

be followed to conclusion.

Candus Thomson, who became NRP’s public

information officer in September, tells me

that she makes public all the charges for our

newspaper’s coverage area.

By reading the charges from the most

recent bear hunting season, I can see that

NRP plays no favorites.

The managing editor wants to continue

reporting certain high profile charges. The

bear hunting violations would be among those.

I can’t tell you right now what some of the

others would be, but we’ll know them when we

see them.

But here’s the deal. You can follow all cases

yourself, as long as you have access to the

Internet.

It’s easy.

To find out if somebody has been charged,

inspect, on a regular basis, the website of the

Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

Go to www.dnr.state.md.us and look at the

upper left portion of the page. Click on “Press

Releases & News.”

That is where you will find out who was

charged with what and in which county it took

place.

Now that you have the accused’s name, go

to the web site of the Maryland Judiciary Case

Search (casesearch.courts.state.md.us/

inquiry/inquiry-indes.jsp).

It might be easier to simply use a search

engine, which will pop up the page and you

can bookmark it.

Once you click on the box that you understand

the terms and conditions, click “continue”

and you can type in the accused’s name

and the county. Under “party type” choose

“defendant.”

You can follow the case to the bitter end, or

sweet end, however it turns out. You can

choose to attend a trial if one takes place, usually

in district court.

There is one other step you can take. These

charges are public information.

If you take the case number from the Internet

site, you can visit the district court in the

appropriate county and ask to see the file.

You will have to provide proof of your identity

and your name will be included in the file as

having looked at it.

Sometimes the enforcement officer completes

a charging document with ample detail,

but other times you can draw a blank in that

regard.

When it comes to hunting and fishing violations

in West Virginia, we have received press

releases about those rather sparingly over the

years, and usually only when severe violations

have been alleged.

If there is a judiciary case search website in

the Mountain State similar to the one in Maryland,

I am not aware of it.

Mike Sawyers is outdoor editor of the Cumberland Times-

News. He can be contacted at msawyers@times-news.com.

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