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Game Commission Investigating Viral Video Of Hunters Abusing Deer

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4 hours ago, pstan said:

Why don't you volunteer to become their lawyer and find ways of getting them off with a slap on the wrist for not having blaze orannge attire, 

Don't think for a moment that I like what they did, but if a law doesn't apply, then you need to find one that does.  If there isn't a law that applies, well guess what - they get off.   Don't like it?  Then get a law passed that does apply.   That is how it works.   The federal government has no constitutional authority to regulate acts that take place solely within a state.  For the Fedz to even have remote authority the crime must happen on federal land, cross state lines, or effect interstate commerce.   The United States of America isn't one nation, it is 50 nation-states in a union.  Pennsylvania, and the other 49 states, are effectively their own countries.  But they are joined in a irrevocable union that can only be broken by Congress.

PA has its own animal cruelty laws which are more likely to apply.  Then add on game law violations, and disorderly conduct.   The lowest criminal laws, summary offenses, carry a potential of 90 days in jail, misdemeanor 3 = 1 year, misdemeanor 2 = 2 years, misdemeanor 1 = 5 years, felony 3 = 7 years, etc, etc.   A judge can rule to have multiple offense convictions run concurrent or consecutively.

However, PA has a sentencing guideline that a judge is to follow.  It takes in account the level of conviction(s) with prior convictions to determine the window of sentencing.

The older federal Animal Cruelty video law has a good chance of applying since it was uploaded to the internet, which then crossed state lines.  But federal prosecutors will have to find a way to divorce acts relative to hunting to make it work. 

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These two PA laws have a chance to apply.  But 5531 has some specific definitions for some of the words used below that may create a loophole.
 

§ 5533.  Cruelty to animal.

(a)  Offense defined.--A person commits an offense if the person intentionally, knowingly or recklessly illtreats, overloads, beats, abandons or abuses an animal.

(b)  Grading.--

(1)  Except as set forth in paragraph (2), a violation of this section is a summary offense.

(2)  If the violation causes bodily injury to the animal or places the animal at imminent risk of serious bodily injury, a violation of this section is a misdemeanor of the second degree.

----------------------
 

§ 5534.  Aggravated cruelty to animal.

(a)  Offense defined.--A person commits an offense if the person intentionally or knowingly does any of the following:

(1)  Tortures an animal.

(2)  Violates section 5532 (relating to neglect of animal) or 5533 (relating to cruelty to animal) causing serious bodily injury to the animal or the death of the animal.

(b)  Grading.--A violation of this section is a felony of the third degree.

 

 

 

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Pennsylvania is in the top of the nation for protecting animals according to this organization.

 

Overall Rank: #15 (Top Tier)
  • + Felony provisions for cruelty, neglect, abandonment, and fighting 
  • + Legal mechanisms for pre-conviction restitution and forfeiture of cruelly treated animals
  • + Court may prohibit convicted animal offenders from owning or possessing animals

 

 

 https://aldf.org/project/2018-us-state-rankings/

https://aldf.org/project/2018-us-state-rankings-pennsylvania/

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Charge them with as many counts and venues as the law allows. The more it costs to defend the better. Federal grand jury meeting in California with multiple sessions would be nice. Convictions after spending $$ would be great. IF my kids were ever involved in such a matter, car gone, cell phone and computers turned in to police, bare necessities to live provided, Off the Wrestling Team, ect. ect. ect. Don't like it they could move out. Oh by the way my boys knew that growing up. Better lock up all the guns too, never know what they will do next.

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2 minutes ago, Hostofchucks said:

Charge them with as many counts and venues as the law allows. The more it costs to defend the better. Federal grand jury meeting in California with multiple sessions would be nice. Convictions after spending $$ would be great. IF my kids were ever involved in such a matter, car gone, cell phone and computers turned in to police, bare necessities to live provided, Off the Wrestling Team, ect. ect. ect. Don't like it they could move out. Oh by the way my boys knew that growing up. Better lock up all the guns too, never know what they will do next.

 

Proceedings are required to be in the jurisdiction that the act took place.   For State crimes they will have to determine which county this happened in.  Potential counties being:  Jefferson, Clearfield, Elk, Forest, Clarion, Armstrong, or Indiana counties.    Odds are it happened in one of those.

For federal, it would have to be in the 3rd Circuit, and likely held in Pittsburgh.  (I'm sure everyone is pretty certain this took place within Pennsylvania)

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1 minute ago, dubois_15801 said:

 

Proceedings are required to be in the jurisdiction that the act took place.   For State crimes they will have to determine which county this happened in.  Potential counties being:  Jefferson, Clearfield, Elk, Forest, Clarion, Armstrong, or Indiana counties.    Odds are it happened in one of those.

For federal, it would have to be in the 3rd Circuit, and likely held in Pittsburgh.  (I'm sure everyone is pretty certain this took place within Pennsylvania)

IF discussions on the various internet sites are true and accurate about one of the kids father/step father being a local police chief could it be grounds for the potential of/perceived conflict of interest in the county court system?

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4 minutes ago, NikonSniper said:

IF discussions on the various internet sites are true and accurate about one of the kids father/step father being a local police chief could it be grounds for the potential of/perceived conflict of interest in the county court system?

That is possible.  The judge could recuse himself, and a judge from another county could be brought in.

 

And with the local outcry, a fair and impartial jury might not be available.  It would start in the county of where it happened, then possibly get moved to another.  ...usually within a 3 county radius.

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16 hours ago, dubois_15801 said:

Don't think for a moment that I like what they did, but if a law doesn't apply, then you need to find one that does.  If there isn't a law that applies, well guess what - they get off.   Don't like it?  Then get a law passed that does apply.   That is how it works.   The federal government has no constitutional authority to regulate acts that take place solely within a state.  For the Fedz to even have remote authority the crime must happen on federal land, cross state lines, or effect interstate commerce.   The United States of America isn't one nation, it is 50 nation-states in a union.  Pennsylvania, and the other 49 states, are effectively their own countries.  But they are joined in a irrevocable union that can only be broken by Congress.

PA has its own animal cruelty laws which are more likely to apply.  Then add on game law violations, and disorderly conduct.   The lowest criminal laws, summary offenses, carry a potential of 90 days in jail, misdemeanor 3 = 1 year, misdemeanor 2 = 2 years, misdemeanor 1 = 5 years, felony 3 = 7 years, etc, etc.   A judge can rule to have multiple offense convictions run concurrent or consecutively.

However, PA has a sentencing guideline that a judge is to follow.  It takes in account the level of conviction(s) with prior convictions to determine the window of sentencing.

The older federal Animal Cruelty video law has a good chance of applying since it was uploaded to the internet, which then crossed state lines.  But federal prosecutors will have to find a way to divorce acts relative to hunting to make it work. 

I still say that they will get away with it with a slap on the wrist... They really don't care because what happens because they achieved their stated goal...

famous.jpg

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7 hours ago, pstan said:

I still say that they will get away with it with a slap on the wrist... They really don't care because what happens because they achieved their stated goal...

famous.jpg

It is possible that they will only get a slap on the wrist.  I personally hope that one of PA's cruelty laws apply, either of which would net a minimum of probation, with a potential of some jail.  M2 carries a possible 2 years of prison, F3 carries 7 years possible.   Then compound the issue with other minor offenses.  Although, the jail time is unlikely. ...if they do get some, it would likely be less than 2 years which the 18yo could serve at the county jail.  The 17yo would serve at a juvenile center.  

There is no chance that they will get max sentences.   They are too young to have enough criminal history for the PA sentencing guideline to allow it.  I do hope they get the F3 conviction because it would at least prohibit them from ever touching guns or ammo ever again(unless they get a pardon later).  And I hope they are found guilty of a game law violation that is strict enough to strip them of hunting privileges for life(doubtful).

And federal convictions more often than state get even lower sentencing.   Probation and/or half-way house time is usually the max for federal first time convictions.

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58 minutes ago, dubois_15801 said:

It is possible that they will only get a slap on the wrist.  I personally hope that one of PA's cruelty laws apply, either of which would net a minimum of probation, with a potential of some jail.  M2 carries a possible 2 years of prison, F3 carries 7 years possible.   Then compound the issue with other minor offenses.  Although, the jail time is unlikely. ...if they do get some, it would likely be less than 2 years which the 18yo could serve at the county jail.  The 17yo would serve at a juvenile center.  

There is no chance that they will get max sentences.   They are too young to have enough criminal history for the PA sentencing guideline to allow it.  I do hope they get the F3 conviction because it would at least prohibit them from ever touching guns or ammo ever again(unless they get a pardon later).  And I hope they are found guilty of a game law violation that is strict enough to strip them of hunting privileges for life(doubtful).

And federal convictions more often than state get even lower sentencing.   Probation and/or half-way house time is usually the max for federal first time convictions.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission and the State Police are just biding their time waiting for the dust to settle.  Then they will be brought to trial and the punishment will be one year suspension of their hunting privileges.  Or we may never hear the result.  Their punishment should be severe enough to deter anyone else thinking of committing these kinds of heinous acts.

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1 hour ago, pstan said:

The Pennsylvania Game Commission and the State Police are just biding their time waiting for the dust to settle.  Then they will be brought to trial and the punishment will be one year suspension of their hunting privileges.  Or we may never hear the result.  Their punishment should be severe enough to deter anyone else thinking of committing these kinds of heinous acts.

They still have to figure out where it took place.   For all we know, this could have happened in New York(unlikely).   But they have to prove jurisdiction.

If they rush things they have a chance of screw it up, which would result in no conviction at all.

There is plenty of time on the statute of limitations to deal with this.

 

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7 hours ago, BillyC said:

I did notice in the Courier today that Cody Hetrick is listed as being as senior on the wrestling team.

I am hoping that article was written prior to all of this. No way he should be representing the Brookville Raiders. Not sure this will die down anytime soon. Thinking of the others on the team and the real possibility of protests at both home and away matches. 

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4 hours ago, dubois_15801 said:

They still have to figure out where it took place.   For all we know, this could have happened in New York(unlikely).   But they have to prove jurisdiction.



 

If this is true the perps are not cooperating with the Game Wardens. Parents ever want back to semi normal lives in the Brookville area they had better push them by whatever means necessary to cooperate and make it known the steps they are taking.

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37 minutes ago, Hostofchucks said:

If this is true the perps are not cooperating with the Game Wardens. Parents ever want back to semi normal lives in the Brookville area they had better push them by whatever means necessary to cooperate and make it known the steps they are taking.

There are other ways to find out where they were.  But that takes a little time to subpoena the info.   We know they had a phone on them at the time of the event...  ;)

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13 hours ago, dubois_15801 said:

They still have to figure out where it took place.   For all we know, this could have happened in New York(unlikely).   But they have to prove jurisdiction.

If they rush things they have a chance of screw it up, which would result in no conviction at all.

There is plenty of time on the statute of limitations to deal with this.

 

Maybe they are not releasing the information of where it took place to the public...  The PGC is giving as little information as possible hoping that this whole mess just goes away.  If they wait long enough, maybe it will.. 

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Game Commission Continuing Investigation into Alleged Deer Torture Videos

Deer VideoBROOKVILLE, Pa. (EYT) – The Pennsylvania Game Commission is still investigating the alleged abuse of a deer by two Brookville teenagers.

“In high-profile cases like this, we almost always have the district attorney involved from the beginning,” Chip Brunst, Information and Education supervisor for the Game Commission’s Northwest Region, told exploreJeffersonpa.com.

“There is no exception here.”

Brunst said Jefferson County District Attorney Jeff Burkett has been “most” helpful.

“After we have conducted our meetings and interviews, we will revisit the DA to determine what charges are to be filed and when,” Brunst said.

According to Brunst, part of the delay in filing potential charges may be related to the processing of evidence.

“If evidence needs to be processed, charges may wait until after results are back,” Brunst said.”But, once again, we would rely on the DA for his guidance here.”

One of the alleged abusers in the video is believed to be under 18 and therefore a juvenile.

Brunst, however, said any determination as to whether or not that individual, if charges are brought, would be charged as a juvenile or an adult would be made by Burkett.

“Determination of filing as a juvenile or adult is also (the DA’s) decision,” Brunst said.

In a Facebook post on Thursday, the Game Commission reiterated what Brunst told exploreJeffersonpa.com.

“This matter is still the subject of an active investigation being conducted by our state game wardens in cooperation with county law enforcement officials,” the statement said. “While we understand the desire for a swift response to the conduct displayed in the video, the proper legal steps must be followed in an investigation of this manner.

“We will provide updates when they become available. As always, the Game Commission appreciates the public’s concern for our state’s wildlife.”

Burkett’s office said that it would not comment on an on-going investigation.

“During any point of an investigation, there are no comments out of our office,” a representative from the District Attorney’s Office said. “All I can tell you is it is under investigation.”

In a Facebook post earlier this week, state Representative Cris Dush, who represents Jefferson County, asked for patience with the investigation.

“This case is not a Law and Order Special Victims Unit television show that can be wrapped up in an hour, Dush wrote. “It will be investigated properly (the Game Commission is doing everything to ensure there are no loopholes in the work they are doing) and by the law and the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure. I will be following the situation.”

Dush expressed concerns about threats made to the alleged actors’ families and others and said those reports have come to the attention of the Pennsylvania State Police.

“If laws have been violated in those cases, law enforcement will have my full support as well,” Dush said. “We live in a nation of laws. Those of us who’ve served in other countries where that is not the case understand the dangers to society of stepping outside those bounds. Most of the people of this nation have no idea how bad it can be if we cross those lines.”

Dush urged people to let the authorities do their job.

“Let those who we’ve hired to take care of things do their job and do what you can to tone down the rhetoric that is going on,” Dush wrote. “This is not a situation to be taken advantage of to further one’s individual status or one’s cause. It is a time to come together to solve problems, not throw threats or stir any additional anger above and beyond what one feels at seeing the video itself. Ask yourself the question; How can I peacefully and lovingly make this situation better?”

See Dush’s full statement here.

The Game Commission opened an investigation last weekend after a video surfaced on Facebook purporting to show the two hunters abusing the injured deer.

The video depicts two young men, reportedly from Brookville, kicking and abusing a deer that had just been shot. The deer was still alive at the time of the recording and was attempting to get away from the hunters.

The Game Commission is asking anyone who has any information related to the video to report it to the Operation Game Thief Hotline at 1-888-PGC-8001 or to the Game Commission’s Northwest Region Dispatch office at 814-432-3187.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Due to the graphic nature of the video, it will not be published on Explore.

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