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Escanaba, Mich. – Time behind bars and thousands of dollars in
fines and restitution were handed down on two Delta County men
convicted of using illegal gill nets last fall. The sentencings
took place in district court Jan. 4.

Kerry Todd Johnson, 27, of Cooks, and Daryl John Tatrow, 48, of
Garden, were arrested by DNR conservation officers for using gills
nets on Big Bay de Noc on Nov. 2 when officers seized 1,100 pounds
of fish and 1,200 feet of gill net.

Johnson was sentenced to 30 days in jail, $1,713 in fines and
costs, and joint restitution of $5,552, to be paid by him and
Tatrow. His fishing license was suspended for three years.

Tatrow – also sentenced for attempted resisting/obstructing a
conservation officer – was sentenced to 180 days in jail, 24 months
probation, $1,713 in fines and costs, and joint restitution of
$5,552. His fishing license also was suspended for three years.

Prior to sentencing, Tatrow’s lawyer, Kathryn Denholm, of
Manistique, addressed the court on behalf of her client.

Concerning the charge of using an illegal fishing device,
Denholm said Tatrow “initiated” the fishing activity and “admits he
participated in the illegal activity.” She said he accepts
responsibility for his actions but doesn’t fish for commercial
purposes.

Regarding the attempted resisting/obstructing charge, Denholm
said Tatrow voluntarily walked away from the DNR but later turned
himself in to a conservation officer.

Judge Glenn Pearson said he received and read letters written on
behalf of the defendant’s character. However, he said the letters
were inconsistent with his criminal history. In 1985, Tatrow was
arrested for assaulting/resisting/obstructing a DNR officer.

“These are not two isolated incidents of violating fishing laws
25 years apart,” Pearson said.

Tatrow also has a criminal record of controlled substance and
hunting violations, the judge said, adding no information has been
received on the defendant being involved in any long-term illegal
fishing operations.

Pearson said, regarding Tatrow’s 180 days in jail, that DNR
officials requested this be divided up during walleye spawning
seasons, so fish would be the most safe at these times. Tatrow was
ordered to serve time in jail from April 15-May 31 and Oct. 19-Nov.
30, with the balance of his jail time suspended to the end of his
probation.

No community service was granted in lieu of jail time. Work
release will be granted only for employment in the local area.

Pearson said the $859 the DNR received for the sale of whitefish
confiscated in the illegal gill net will go toward restitution. The
sale of other items seized – a 14-foot boat, motor, trailer, and
other equipment – will also go toward restitution.

Johnson, representing himself in court, was ordered to pay joint
restitution of $5,552 and $1,713 in fines and costs. His 30-day
jail sentence will begin on April 15. He was granted work release
in the area. He also may check to see if he is eligible to serve
time in a Wisconsin jail closer to his job there, Pearson said.

Johnson also has a criminal history, revealing “a hint” of
noncompliance with hunting and fishing laws, Pearson said. In the
past, he was charged with an uncased gun in a vehicle and catching
trout illegally.

Previously in district court, Johnson and Tatrow both pleaded no
contest to using an illegal fishing device. The maximum punishment
of this misdemeanor is 90 days in jail, a $1,000 fine, and
revocation of ones fishing license. The maximum sentencing for
resisting/obstructing is one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

A third man arrested in connection with the illegal gill-netting
case will be charged in the Sault Ste. Marie Band of Chippewa
Indians Tribal Court for subsistence fishing without a license,
according to DNR officials.

The tribal prosecutor’s office did not return telephone
inquiries regarding the above cases.

Editor’s note:_This story is reprinted with permission of the
Escanaba Daily Press.

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