An Indecipherable Embarrassment of Regulatory Incoherence

Duplin County Regulation  2009

Duplin County Regulation 2009

Duplin County Regulation  2008

Duplin County Regulation 2008

Duplin County Regulation  2007

Duplin County Regulation 2007

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raleigh Constituent drops by with another editorial for the files:

Dear JohnJacob,

Now that Turkey Hunter Clyde Coffey’s life has been sacrificed on the altar of incomprehensible law enforcement policies I thought it might be useful to study the legal terrain Hunter “Joe Rifleman” must traverse in his adventures afield.

I quickly discovered this topic cannot be reasonably covered by an encyclopedia, let alone a book or a few articles. In fact, this maybe the first in an unending series of comments so difficult is it to plumb the depth of knavery and tomfoolery embedded in North Carolina hunting regulations.

The word “quagmire” only begins to describe the situation. The IRS code is an Elementary School “Dick and Jane” reading primer by comparison.

Below please find a brief (?!) overview of the topic.

To begin know it is said amongst the knowledgeable North Carolina is sprinkled with a number of “sweet spots” where a fellow can stand in an open field and box the compass in four opposite directions (North,East,South and West) for a few hundred yards and find himself under four conflicting sets of hunting regulations.

I know not personally if this is true, but a quick perusal of the hunting regulations certainly reveals it to be plausible.

You have your International Treaty Laws and regulations, your Federal laws and regulations, your State laws and regulations, your local (rural) county laws and regulations and your local (urban) city and town laws and regulations.

There are separate laws and regulations that govern conduct on State Game Lands and another separate set of laws and regulations that govern conduct on Military Reservations and yet another set of laws and regulations that essentially ban hunting from mining operations and facilities even if the owner were inclined to give permission.

“Working Agriculture Operations” (farms) have their own set of exemptions and rules.

Dare and Currituck Counties have their own countywide Game and Wildlife Commission.

Every year the Hunting Regulations Digest issued to hunters with their license purchase helpfully highlights regulation changes in red. Every year there are at least fifty changes, some quite significant.

In the August 2008 issue of North Carolina Sportsman Magazine (CLICK LINK HERE) author Craig Holt reported Judge Timothy Lee Paige ruled the definition of “take” was “unconstitutionally vague” when he dismissed a charge of “hunting over bait” against bear hunter Charles Smith

Craig Holt concluded his report with the comment if the ruling stands “WRC (Wildlife Resources Commission) will have to rewrite the bear baiting law for the third time in two years, then get new wording adopted by the General Assembly”.

In the 2007 archives of the North Carolina Bear Hunters Association website these comments are included in a discussion of Senate Bill 1246:

CLICK LINK HERE

Senate Bill 1246

Regrettably, the NCBHA and the Wildlife Resources Commission (WRC) found themselves faced with vastly opposing viewpoints on how best to stop an unexplained flood of bear baiting enforcement citations.

The issue came close to ruining an effective working relationship that had spanned over 20 years.

At issue was a sudden and mysterious increase in bear baiting enforcement citations.

Hunters were charged without particular evidence or conditions that would normally cause an enforcement officer to write a citation.

There was remarkable evidence that suggested poor enforcement practice and possible violations by law enforcement personnel in District 2.

Hunters on several occasions met with WRC executive staff trying to find out what was behind the incidents.

In the face of incredible evidence, the WRC did not demand that the rash of enforcement abuse stop.

If anything, arrogance and intimidation, in addition to poor law enforcement was the response. Hunters loudly voiced concerns and the NCBHA leaned hard against the WRC. 

All of the above examples do not even begin to describe the local regulations that attempt to outline geographical areas where certain practices are restricted.

They are couched in genuinely obscure and arcane language such as that found for Franklin County.

This is what the Franklin County paragraph says, I kid you not:

(It is illegal to) hunt game from the right-of-way of any public road in that part of the county bounded on the north beginning at the Tar River at the Granville County line east to US 1, then south along US 1 to the intersection of NC 56, then east along NC 56 to the intersection of US 401,then north along US 401 to the intersection of NC 39, then south along NC 39 to the intersection of NC 98, then east along NC 98 to the Nash County line.

So now you know, when it comes to hunting, local sovereignty still rules over both State and Federal Highways! And you thought all that stuff was forever relegated to the musty past with the Magna Carta and the Constitution!

Nope, when it comes to hunting the Bolshevik “greatest good for the greatest number” is unapologetically replaced with good old fashioned local sovereignty.

Anything goes if it cudgels an unenlightened activity like hunting into submission.

But I am not finished!

Here is one more really great example of indecipherable regulatory incoherence. The leading (current) contender for complete Alice-In-Wonderland-Mad-Hatter “the law is ours to know and yours to find out” bureaucracy is DUPLIN COUNTY.

On page 67 of the North Carolina Regulations Digest the Duplin County portion contains this instruction: For information concerning hunting from the roadway in Duplin County contact the County Attorney.

When you call Duplin County you will be told by staff they have a guideline sheet that must be A. Mailed or B. Faxed or C. Picked up in person. It CANNOT be emailed or posted on the Duplin County Website.

So there is a genuine mystery here. The mystery maybe related to the number of times the regulation for Duplin County has been changed in the last five years as demonstrated by these JPEG images.
(Posted At Top)

 Some knowledgeable commentators have said Duplin County has two diametrically opposed and unenforceable statutes regulating the same activity.

If so, what could the County Attorney possibly include in a super secret guideline sheet to reconcile the conflict? And why would that guideline sheet be unavailable under the Public Documents Law?

Only Alice’s Mad Hatter knows for sure.

Here is the North Carolina General Statute for Duplin County.

Presumably it is the current “controlling legal authority” Or maybe not. (CLICK LINK HERE)

My suggestion is for all 500,000 hunters who have a copy of the North Carolina Regulations Digest call Duplin County Attorney Wendy Sivori at (910) 296-2233 and asked to be mailed their own personal copy of Duplin County’s Super Secret Hunting Guidelines so they will be in compliance and not be shot by some zealous Game Warden whose grasp of the law may be no better or worse than the people who create them.

Hunters are not second class citizens and should stop allowing government to treat them as though they were. If tourism dollars are welcome, so should recreational hunting dollars be welcome.

Clyde Coffey rest in peace. Apparently you were just in the wrong place at the wrong time: hunting on your own land, minding your own business. (CLICK LINK HERE)

Real Hunting: Game Wardens Gone Berserk

A good example of just how treacherous modern hunting has become. Regulation trumps common sense and everyone is guilty until proven innocent.

Sickening excerpt:

Elk hunters held at gunpoint: Local men were acting legally in Brinnon, say state and county law officials

By Barney Burke and Allison Arthur of The Leader

Two fathers and their sons went hunting in Brinnon on Saturday, but after legally downing an elk with a muzzleloading rifle, they found themselves staring down the barrels of guns pointed at them by uniformed officers of the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe.

“The whole thing was handled way wrong,” said Don Phipps, who shot the elk. “I’ve never had anyone pull a gun on me in my whole life. I didn’t understand it.”

Phipps, his son Danny, 22, and friend Adam Boling, 28, were handcuffed for two hours while bystanders watched from nearby U.S. Highway 101. Also with the three men was Boling’s 2-year-old son, Taylor.

All eventually were released at the scene and allowed to take the elk home for butchering, but the whole experience has left them wondering why the tribal police handled the incident in the way that they did.

According to Washington and Jefferson County law enforcement officials, Phipps was in full compliance with state and local laws on hunting and the use of firearms.

CLICK HERE FOR LINK TO COMPLETE STORY

Professor Gates, President Obama: Clyde Coffey Is Still Dead

It would be hard to find a better example of the self absorption exhibited by children of the “Age Of Aquarius” than the inane discussion conducted by President Obama and the Nattering Nitwits of the National Press about the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates by Cambridge Police.

Seriously folks, We, The Public, should shed crocodile tears over the arrest of a Professor with more degrees than intelligence because he could not talk his way out of a routine investigation? And he teaches where? At Harvard? AND he wants to make the incident into some kind of racial issue?

Geez. A small reality check is in order.

In just five years, writer David Codrea CLICK HERE has amassed nearly 3,500 Police Misconduct Incidents in his (TM) “Only Ones” File; incidents that range the gamut from (but are not limited to) murder to rape to child molestation among other charges.

Really, CLICK HERE.

Before David Codrea’s (TM)”Only Ones” File there came the now defunct Bad Cop News, where, as the description on their masthead stated: Bad Cop News:10’s Of Thousands Of “Isolated Incidents” – Our Tax Dollars At Work

Really, CLICK HERE

Before that, JJ Johnson of the equally defunct Sierra Times maintained an archive dubbed the Whack’em and Stack’em Files.

Really, CLICK HERE

I, myself, here in this small humble blog of a few hundred daily hits have uncovered a ridiculous number of police misconduct reports to the point where I tire of the chronicle.

Police who invade the wrong address in SWAT Team garb, police who gratuitously shoot the family pet dog, who terrorize women and children over fabricated charges of illegal food sales(?!) and just generally leave a trail of mayhem and mischief where ever they go.

Really, CLICK HERE

A surprising number of these incidents, if not the overwhelming majority, occur between white cops and white citizens.

Which brings us to the strange case of Clyde Coffey in North Carolina. CLICK HERE

In April of this year 76 year old (Caucasian) (male) (taxpayer)(Citizen)(Landowner) Clyde Coffey was turkey hunting on a remote parcel of land he owned in Wilkes County, North Carolina as he had for 25 years without incident when he was approached, shot and killed by (Caucasian) (male) Wildlife Enforcement Officer Mark Minton who alleges Clyde Coffey was engaged in illegal bait tactics.

In spite of a severely contaminated crime scene (caused by Emergency Medical Personnel and others) the State Bureau of Investigation has exonerated the conduct of Wildlife Enforcement Officer Minton and the County DA has declined to even present the case to a grand jury.

In a State that brought (recently) disgraced Prosecutor Mike Nifong to national attention, the inaction of the Wilkes County DA seems to reach the level of routine procedure.

Where is the national discussion or outrage over this case?

Professor Gates, President Obama, get over yourselves.

The issue is hardly racial profiling. The issue is Police Training.

Who writes the curriculum for these people and how have they become so isolated from their fellow Americans (Black or white?) that they shoot, kill and terrorize with impunity?

Professor Gates had a mild experience, probably because he is black.

Clyde Coffey is still dead.

Update: Be sure to visit the Traffic Stop and Police Encounter Tutorial CLICK HERE

Raleigh Constituent Investigates The Clyde Coffey Shooting

WildLifeEnforcement3

Our occasional correspondent from Raleigh, Raleigh Constituent,regales us with another telephone adventure.

For a link to the NC Wildlife Resources Page with .PDF Files of Wildlife Enforcement Officer Standards and Qualifications CLICK HERE

Posted with no additional comment:

Dear John Jacob,

As I have explained in the past I occasionally tangle with bureaucrats in government because my proximity here in Raleigh make them a somewhat irresistible target.

Once again a simple inquiry to what should have been a yes- or-no question became something of a quest as I bounced through various layers of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Bureaucracy in my attempt to ascertain over the phone whether they were a CALEA (Commission for Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies) Certified Agency

I must tell you this telephone visit with the Wildlife Resources Commission is consistent with previous telephone visits in that the people in Wildlife Resources are universally helpful and cheerful and dare I say intelligent people who really do offer their best help to the public when they call about some hunting related issue. They all seem to have attended the same finishing school and unfailing treat me in the manner I like to think I treat phone inquiries to my phone number.

When asked to identify myself I said I preferred to remain a hunter and member of the public engaged in a routine inquiry. They accepted this without comment and continued to help me to the best of their ability. These folks could give lessons to other bureaucracies on how to deal with the public.

All that said, my initial question: Is NC Wildlife Enforcement a CALEA certified agency? drew a complete blank from the person/people on the other end. The Enforcement Division is not directly listed in the Raleigh Phone Book so I called a number which I judged most likely to be able to answer my question.

However, they did diligently connect me with a sworn LEO (a Lieutenant) who said he was familiar with CALEA, but to the best of his knowledge the agency was not so certified. He did mention all officers carried a book of some sort which outlined their duties and responsibilities. It was about the size of binder which could have revisions inserted as needed.

The Lieutenant also suggested I call his boss who oversaw all training related issues. In addition he gave me a phone number for the Public Liaison or Public Information Officer.

The Public Liaison, while not a sworn LEO, was a complete professional filled with a wealth of information about the Wildlife Enforcement Division. If I quote him correctly, he offered the following details about Wildlife LEOs:

There are approximately 300 applicants for about a dozen slots at a 19 week training Academy or “boot camp” of which only 10 successfully graduate.

In their 19 weeks of study all candidates undergo the NC State Standard Basic Law Enforcement Training after which they are sworn to enforce State and FEDERAL Violations. (Yeah, that is kind of an eyebrow raiser)

When I gently turned the conversation to the Clyde Coffey shooting, the formerly effusive Public Liaison immediately clammed up citing “an ongoing internal investigation”.

Since he could not talk to me, I asked if I could talk to him with some comments about the incident. He said he would take notes and pass them along.

I proffered the notion this incident was not local to Wilkes County, but was a statewide problem since hunters could no longer be confident about their interactions with Wildlife Enforcement. We may have crossed the Rubicon where the bond of trust between Investigators and the public has been seriously damaged.

Unlike Clyde Coffey I am not 76 years old, so if approached by a stranger in the woods, it will be my policy to immediately call 911 from a cell phone so some version of the incident will go on record in real time. I have the technology and know how to use it.

I further offered the observation the standard issue uniform of khaki shirt and forest green pants has always struck me as a recipe for disaster since I was advised in a hunter safety course Wildlife Officers are not required to wear blaze orange during deer season as they tramp through the woods.

Just one of several odd things about Wildlife Regulations long overdue for review.

Regardless of safe hunting practices and rigorous Law Enforcement training it may be time to overhaul protocols for public/LEO interactions.

In an era when a 6 foot 8 inch tall 300 pound North Carolina parolee can walk around Gaffney, South Carolina and kill 5 people in a week, no one should have to apologize for their caution when a man who claims to be Law Enforcement approaches you in the woods and declares his intention to disarm you.

In North Carolina Rabbit Cops Shoot Hunters

Attention Hunters!

If you plan to spend your recreational hunting dollars in North Carolina realize you do so at peril of your life!

Wildlife Enforcement Officers have gone as feral as their brothers in other parts of the “Thin JBT Line” .

Without fear of prosecution they now have license to shoot 76 year old landowners hunting their own property.

If the description of the encounter between the officer and hunter are correct Wildlife Resource Officers are apparently not bound by any CALEA Standards (Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies) for proper conduct of investigations as described HERE and HERE.

Be sure to call the Tourism Board and the Wildlife Resources Commission and tell them why you choose to hunt elsewhere.

In a country where the oldest joke about the judicial system is “The DA can convince a Grand Jury to Indict a ham sandwich” Wilkes County District Attorney Tom Horner has chosen to follow the path of former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong and selectively prosecute only those cases which have the highest positive publicity quotient.

In a case with a negative publicity quotient it is generally considered a bad career move to take sides against Law Enforcement Officers in the Court System. Apparently Tom Horner wants to keep his job.

Unless, of course, the people of Wilkes County initiate a recall petition and boot him out of office.

Excerpt:
Minton will not be charged in shooting
by Chuck Hubbard

N.C. Wildlife Officer Mark Minton will not be charged in the April 11 shooting death of an elderly hunter in McGrady.

No charges will be filed against Mark Minton, a veteran state wildlife officer who shot and killed an elderly hunter in the early morning hours of April 11, the opening day of turkey season, District Attorney Tom Horner said in an interview with the Wilkes Journal-Patriot Thursday afternoon.

Killed was Clyde Hill Coffey, 76, of Lenoir. The shooting took place in a steeply-sloped, wooded area above a house on Cane Creek Road in the McGrady community. Coffey was hunting on land he and his family owned.

Horner said he made his decision after reviewing the results of a lengthy investigation conducted by agents with the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI). Yesterday morning, the district attorney met with officials from the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. In the afternoon, he met with members of the Coffey family.

Link To Complete Story Click Here

Other Links of interest HERE and HERE

Why Is Turkey Hunter Clyde Coffey Dead?

ClydeCoffey2

It has now been over two months since North Carolina Wildlife Enforcement Officer Mark Minton shot and killed 76 year old Cyde Coffey while Coffey was hunting turkeys on his own land.

In spite of dozens of news reports the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation has yet to release any information about the case and the county District Attorney has yet to issue any statement about imminent prosecution.

Family members allege Officer Minton was not in proper uniform and the use of deadly force over an alleged wildlife violation was excessive.

Interested readers can follow as many video and print links as they desire:

Excerpt from WXII12:

Coffey’s family members said Sunday they doubt Minton’s claim that he was provoked. “He was taken from us and he was shot on his own land minding his own business. Who shoots a 76-year-old on his own land?” Coffey’s daughter told WXII12 news.

Link to video and print report click here.

From WGHP:

In a previously issued statement, the commission spokeswoman Penny Miller said: “An armed confrontation with a hunter resulted in Officer Minton firing a shot, apparently in self-defense, which led to the death of the alleged assailant.”

According to the 911 tapes, first responders soon realized Coffey was dead when they got there and described the scene as a madhouse.

WGHP Link Click Here

Local Message Board Discussion Click Here

Local Message Board Discussion Reverse Order (From the beginning) Click Here

Interesting Comment on reverse order page:

informerxxx Posted 12:54 am, 04/12/2009
IT IS SO TRAGIC WHAT HAPPENED SATURDAY, HOWEVER IT COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED. I KNOW IN 2003 A TRAPHILL MAN MET MULTIPLE TIMES WITH MINTON’S SUPERIOR OFFICERS AND BEGGED THEM TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT HIS DANGEROUS BEHAVIOR, BUT NO ONE LISTENED. THEY JUST COVERED FOR HIS ACTIONS. I AM SURE MARK DID SHOOT THE MAN OUT OF SELF DEFENSE, BUT WHAT EVENTS LED UP TO THIS WE WILL NEVER KNOW. I KNOW PERSONALLY HOW MARK WILL PROVOKE PEOPLE. SOME PEOPLE DONT RESPOND TO WELL TO THIS BEHAVIOR. IF IT HAD BEEN THE LEVEL HEADED WARDEN, WALSH, WHO WAS NOT FAR FROM MARK WHO MADE THE INITIAL CONTACT WITH THE MAN THE SITUATION I KNOW WOULD HAVE BEEN NEUTRALIZED. MY HUSBAND WAS WITH THE TRAPHILL MAN WHEN HE MET WITH THE WILDLIFE OFFICERS A COUPLE OF TIMES. BILL TOWNSEND, JOHN CAMPBELL, C.D. THOMPSON, ROGER LEGUIRE, AND MAJOR BLANTON, YOU GUYS WERE ALL WARNED THIS DAY WOULD COME, YOU SHOULD HAVE PAID ATTENTION.