Deer hunting is a popular sportsman’s past-time in Mississippi as well as in many other parts of the country.
Hunters have the option of dressing (skinning, cleaning and separating the edible parts of the deer) themselves or taking their kill to a deer processor.
Of course, it is illegal to sell game meat in Mississippi, and such laws promote the beneficial objective of preventing the harvesting of game animals from becoming a commercial enterprise.
These laws, among others, are enforced by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries & Parks. These laws are quite strict, and call for a mandatory fine of $2,000 to $5,000 and a mandatory jail sentence of 5 DAYS IN JAIL!
The crime is a misdemeanor, and is handled, at least initially, in Justice Court, where the defendant has no rights of discovery from the prosecution (i.e., a list of witnesses, statements and reports, etc.)
I recently was retained by a deer processor who had been charged with selling deer meat. No problem, if he did it, then he is guilty of violating the law and has to pay the price.
The problem is that he was charged with having committed this crime EIGHTEEN (18) MONTHS EARLIER! AND, knowing the law as he does, he denies it.
Personally, I think this guy is too smart to sell meat to someone he doesn’t know, but if he did, then the person he knew turned him in, and then the question becomes one of entrapment, since that person must have had a grudge of some kind.
Several questions come up when a client is charged with a crime EIGHTEEN MONTHS after the fact.
- Why wasn’t the processor charged at the time?
- If the meat was sold to an undercover MDWFP agent, who was it?
- If it wasn’t an undercover agent who made the buy, who was it?
- What is the proof of this crime?
- Who are the witnesses, and where are they now?
What is obvious is that since there is a two (2) year statute of limitations on this crime, MDWFP waited an unconscionable amount of time to bring this charge, depriving the defendant of the means of defending himself.
How would you feel if you were charged with a crime (take your pick, DUI, malicious mischief, speeding and on and on) months or years after the fact?
If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, you need the best legal advice possible and the best criminal defense attorney available.
David Butts has 40 years’ experience representing those charged with crimes. Experience makes a difference.