Poachers got off easy; loophole in new law must be closed

I hope this doesn’t set a precedent.

In October and December of 2010 a group of hunters from Maine
went on a killing spree in Bradford County. They killed 32 deer, at
least that’s how many officials know of, and fortunately they
didn’t get away with it.

Well, kind of.

Two of the hunters, or more accurately poachers, were recently
sentenced in Bradford County court. Everett H. Leonard pled guilty
to one felony, four misdemeanors and 10 summary counts. Thanks to
House Bill 1859 – which was introduced by state Rep. Ed Staback to
increase the penalties for poaching cases, Leonard faced seven
years in prison and $43,000 in fines.

Here’s what he got: 15 to 60 days in prison, 18 months probation
and a $2,300 fine.

His son, Everett Tyler Leonard, pled guilty to seven felony
counts, four misdemeanors and 14 summaries. He faced 24 years of
jail time and $100,000 in fines.

Here’s what he got: 105 days to 14 months in prison, 18 months
probation and a $3,550 fine.

They both got off easy.

The case was the first major test for the new poaching law, and
hopes were high that the Leonards’ case would show that lengthy
jail time and steep fines would be the norm for those caught
poaching.

At the very least, it would send a message that Pennsylvania
values its wildlife and won’t let poachers off easy. That didn’t
happen with this case.

One problem with the new poaching law is it doesn’t have any
mandatory minimum when it comes to jail time. It’s a loophole that
needs to be closed.

While there were five people charged in the case, the Leonard’s
were responsible for killing the majority of the deer, according to
several sources.

That’s at least 17, and they shot them all during early
muzzleloader season and the second week of the rifle deer
season.

Imagine shooting that many deer in two weeks time. It’s a
lot.

Pennsylvania now has a tool to make those who com

 

Categories: Pennsylvania – Tom Venesky

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