Fish & Game enforcement is often one of the harshest and rigid in all of law enforcement. They have a lot of authority over the livelihood of a commercial fisherman and the enjoyment of the recreational fisherman. Fish & Game law is detailed and complex and requires an attorney who is experienced in the nuances of such law and has experienced success in the courtroom in defending clients against Fish & Game charges.
I have had the pleasure of working with and learning from two excellent Fish & Game Bay Area attorneys, the late Ilson New and Michael Linscheid. Both of these attorneys, also avid fisherman and hunters themselves, have each provided me a resource and a guide through the frequently arcane depths of Fish & Game Law.
Following are a few of the Fish & Game matters I have helped resolve over the years:
- My very first criminal defense case as a lawyer was a Fish & Game charge of a “barbed hook” against my client, a recreational fisherman. After much research and negotiation, the case was Dismissed.
- Rare granting of a Coram Nobis petition which resulted in a dismissal of a client’s misdemeanor Fish & Game violation conviction from several years before, thus preserving his commercial fisherman’s license and his livelihood. My client, a lifelong commercial fisherman, had plead guilty to a minor Fish & Game violation in criminal court, and did so without representation of counsel. Several years later, the Fish & Game sent my client a notice of an upcoming suspension of his license based on that conviction, jeopardizing his livelihood.
Once retained, we did much research and determined that our client’s only option left was the Coram Nobis petition, a long shot in most cases, a petition rarely granted. We, however, prevailed and convinced the court to vacate the conviction and the DA to dismiss the case.
We then prevailed again before the judge at the Fish & Game licensing hearing after the Fish & Game still insisted on suspending my client’s commercial license even after the underlying conviction was vacated and dismissed in the criminal court.
- Mr. Linscheid and I represented our client in the first shark fin case charged and filed in California. Client was charged with possessing over $100,000 worth of illegal shark fins. After a hearing and subsequent negotiation, we reached a misdemeanor disposition where client performed 30 days on the work program.