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Charges Dropped In Bear Self-Defense Shooting(ID)
thenewamerican.com ^ | 9 September, 2011 | Raven Clabough

Posted on 09/10/2011 7:57:48 PM PDT by marktwain

When the government infringes upon Second Amendment rights through regulation and harsh gun control, it is accused of violating one’s right to self-defense. There is no greater example of this violation, however, than when the federal government attempted to punish a man for killing a grizzly bear that threatened his life and the lives of his family. Fortunately, when the story was publicized and received a great deal of negative media attention, federal prosecutors decided to drop the charges.

Idaho resident Jeremy Hill faced trial after he killed a grizzly bear that came into his yard on May 8. According to Hill, his six children were playing in their yard when three grizzly bears — a mother and her two cubs — entered the property. The children called to their father who was inside of his home. He immediately came out with a rifle.

According to neighbors of the Hill family, the bears had visited several properties that day before their stop at the Hill home. Neighbor Bob Vickaryous told The New American that the bear appeared on his own property, as well as the neighbor Tom Davis’ property. Vickaryous indicates that Davis actually fired off a round of warning shots to scare the bears off, but that the bears appeared unafraid of the weapon and its sounds and remained until they eventually ventured off on their own and arrived at the Hill property.

Hill shot one of the bears, thereby scaring the others away. He then reported the incident to the proper state authorities, who raised no issue with the incident. However, once federal authorities learned of the incident, they charged Hill with killing an endangered species, as the grizzly bear is a threatened species in the lower 48 states, and therefore protected by federal law.

As a result of the charges, Hill faced a year in prison and a $50,000 fine. His trial was set to begin on October 4.

However, Hill’s story attracted a number of supporters, including Idaho Governor Butch Otter, who told the Obama administration in a letter that he supports the right of Jeremy Hill to defend himself and his family. The letter, submitted to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar on August 22, read:

I recognize the federal jurisdiction under the Endangered Species Act, but I strongly support the right of individuals to defend themselves and others in such situations. Many, including me, feel Mr. Hill did what a concerned parent would do. Now, Jeremy and his family must endure the cost of the trial.

Otter’s letter went on to explain that the prosecution could potentially impact recovery efforts because the community would be less likely to offer their support.

Otter also declared that the government’s priorities are a tad askew:

One of the flaws of the ESA is the premium it places on protecting species at the expense of everything else. Although an individual can protect human safety under the law — as Jeremy felt he was doing — it’s a shame that the Endangered Species Act still does not enable citizens to protect their private property and pets in the same manner.

Governor Otter’s letter to the Obama administration came at the behest of the Boundary County commissioners, who addressed a letter to Otter asking for him to get involved and come to the aid of Jeremy Hill: “We feel that at all costs, this man has the obligation and responsibility to protect his children. This is not some flagrant or malicious act. We urge you to do all that is in your power to have this matter settled.”

In August, Hill appeared at the U.S. Courthouse in Coeur d’Alene, where he plead not guilty to unlawfully killing a female grizzly bear in his yard. Hill reportedly had so many supporters appear at the courthouse for him that the arraignment was forced to be moved into a larger room.

In attendance was Idaho state Senator Shawn Keough, who said after the hearing, “It seems unjust to me that someone would be charged when they were protecting their family. I’m at a loss to understand why the U.S. government is pursuing this in the manner they are.”

Following in the same vein as Governor Otter, Keough continued, “Jeremy did the right thing, he called Fish and Game. I think that prosecuting this case really sets back the grizzly bear recovery effort.... People are saying, ‘Boy, if that happened to me, there’s no way that I’d report it.’ That’s a human reaction.”

Governor Otter’s assertions that the government’s charging of Hill would discourage Americans from complying with wildlife recovery are certainly realistic. For example, Vickaryous told The New American that he believes the Endangered Species Act should be entirely repealed, and given the experiences his neighbor has had to endure, he may find some support in such a push.

Members of Hill’s community were so sympathetic towards his plight that they raised $19,558 for a defense fund for Hill’s family at a 4-H animal sale in Bonners Ferry.

On September 7, after mounting pressure from a variety of different sources, the federal government decided to drop the charges filed against Jeremy Hill.

Chron.com reports:

As part of a deal, Hill agreed his actions violated a regulation of the Endangered Species Act against removing nuisance bears and paid a $1,000 fine. The act classifies the grizzly bear as a threatened species in the lower 48 states, and the animals are protected by federal law.

U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson issued a press release which indicated, “The United States Attorney’s Office well understands Mr. Hill is a concerned husband and father who wants to protect his family.”

However, according to Olson, investigators were unable to determine the location of Hill’s children when the bears approached, and were therefore unable to determine whether there was acute danger that necessitated the killing of the bear.

Hill, grateful that the ordeal is over, issued a statement thanking all of those who supported him.

“We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of concern from the many people who have contacted us. I received a federal civil ticket and have paid the $1,000 fine to avoid putting my family through the emotional strain and the cost of a trial. I am glad this issue has been resolved out of court, and I am looking forward to putting this unfortunate incident behind me.”

Hill’s lawyer, Marc Lyons, points to this case as a reason for the federal government to review some of its provisions that regulate how people can respond to potentially dangerous wildlife.

“This unfortunate event underscores the need to critically review and evaluate the Endangered Species Act so that people can use reasonable and appropriate actions to protect their families, homes and property,” Lyons said.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Government; News/Current Events; US: Idaho
KEYWORDS: banglist; bear; defense; id
One of the gross injustices of the ESA is that it takes property for public use without compensation.
1 posted on 09/10/2011 7:57:54 PM PDT by marktwain
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To: marktwain

Anyone killing a grizzly now will rent a backhoe rather than report it.


2 posted on 09/10/2011 8:09:21 PM PDT by WePledge (Ich werde fur immer ein Hollenhund werden. Semper Fidelis)
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To: marktwain

GUBMINT SCREWS.A grand to protect your family against a wild animal.What bull!


3 posted on 09/10/2011 8:12:01 PM PDT by HANG THE EXPENSE (Life is tough.It's tougher when you're stupid.)
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To: WePledge

Furthermore, some people may end up taking their frustrations out on the Grizzlies for the Hell of it.

If there’s no good reason to conserve them, like the occasional sport hunt, then they go back to being seen as dangerous vermin and may end up being surreptitiously plugged left and right, especially if they’re seen as being held more important than innocent human lives. If ordinary people are aroused, every grizz in Idaho would be hosting maggots within a few weeks.


4 posted on 09/10/2011 8:34:13 PM PDT by sinanju
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To: WePledge

Shoot, shovel, shut-up....


5 posted on 09/10/2011 8:47:06 PM PDT by gunnut
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To: marktwain
As part of a deal, Hill agreed his actions violated a regulation of the Endangered Species Act against removing nuisance bears and paid a $1,000 fine.

That'll buy the feds a nice party night for the staff.
6 posted on 09/10/2011 8:59:24 PM PDT by Sundog (It takes a darn good reason for me to break down and post something these days.)
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To: WePledge

Why not throw the bear in the back of a van and dump it in Chicago. Shootings happen on the streets there everyday.


7 posted on 09/10/2011 9:03:09 PM PDT by USNBandit (sarcasm engaged at all times)
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To: Sundog

Hill is stupid. Accepting a deal means he admitted guilt. Now when he tries to get a gun or go through customs his name will be flagged.

Should of went to trial.


8 posted on 09/10/2011 9:10:31 PM PDT by GreaterSwiss
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To: marktwain

I guess the government could not bear to fully prosecute him.


9 posted on 09/10/2011 9:51:56 PM PDT by AEMILIUS PAULUS (It is a shame that when these people give a riot)
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To: marktwain
Endangered species act = revenue, federal with kickbacks to regional F&G, and lawyers.

In this case, with the support and donations, it didn't cost him anything except a criminal record. He didn't lose his guns.....yet.

10 posted on 09/10/2011 10:15:10 PM PDT by existtoexcel
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To: HANG THE EXPENSE

Here in rural Alaska, it’s still one’s patriotic duty to shoot every bear they see, all year long. Bear are seen as dangerous pests. My neighbor got a 400 lb grizz (our interior grizz are small, hungry country around here) yesterday. People here still eat bear and we got 8 out of my tree stand last June, all were cut & wrapped. Starting to bucket snare bear nx year, trying to get their numbers down as they are wiping the moose out when they calve.


11 posted on 09/10/2011 11:03:37 PM PDT by Eska
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To: marktwain
However, according to Olson, investigators were unable to determine the location of Hill’s children when the bears approached, and were therefore unable to determine whether there was acute danger that necessitated the killing of the bear.

And the government reserves the right to decide what constitutes acute danger to your children.

The prosecutor should be tarred and feathered and ridden out of town on a rail.

12 posted on 09/10/2011 11:46:15 PM PDT by Valpal1 ("I’ll work every day to make Washington DC as inconsequential in your life as I can." Rick Perry)
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To: Sundog
No, that's just a tiny contribution to obama’s reelection campaign, that is too small to even warrant a thank you note.
13 posted on 09/11/2011 12:18:48 AM PDT by tdscpa
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To: marktwain

This man forget the three S’s: Shoot, shovel and shut up.

The ESA need to be either repealed or severely revised.

I want Republicans to actually start doing these things.

They did NOTHING under Bush, when will they start rolling back the regulatory state that is bankrupting us and destroying our God given Liberty?


14 posted on 09/11/2011 1:53:54 AM PDT by jocon307
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To: WePledge
"Anyone killing a grizzly now will rent a backhoe rather than report it."

Either that or a BBQ.

15 posted on 09/11/2011 3:36:46 AM PDT by semaj
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To: marktwain

I’m sorry, ladies and gentlemen, but there was a far more elegant solution to Mr Hill’s problem -

He should have called in an anonymous tip to the local DEA about a gigantic methamphetamine operation being run on his property, taking the opportunity to mention the presence of his three grizzly “guard bear” pets (it’s important to mention that they are PETS).

He then must take his family out for ice cream in a neighboring county.

A federal SWAT team with air support would have appeared within five minutes and exterminated every living animal with a mile of the property.

Problem solved by government agents who are completely exempt from all laws of man and morals of God.

Downside - Mr Hill will have to replace the splintered front door, clean up the effects of the flash grenades, and bury the dead bears.

/sarc


16 posted on 09/11/2011 4:11:08 AM PDT by Senator John Blutarski
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To: semaj

Why does your post make me want to watch “Fried Green Tomatoes”?


17 posted on 09/11/2011 4:19:54 AM PDT by Library Lady
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To: marktwain
That title is WRONG!!!!!!!!!

As part of a deal, Hill agreed his actions violated a regulation of the Endangered Species Act against removing nuisance bears and paid a $1,000 fine. The act classifies the grizzly bear as a threatened species in the lower 48 states, and the animals are protected by federal law.

Charges weren't dropped...this asshole Federal Prosecutor forced Hill to plea to a lesser charge - for which the self defense argument should also apply.

He will still have a federal criminal record based on the information in the article.

What a crock.

18 posted on 09/11/2011 5:43:09 AM PDT by Abundy
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