By Tim Pratt
Four men cited for hunting violations on Gibson Island this winter were ordered Friday to make donations to a Maryland Department of Natural Resources poaching enforcement program.
District Judge Shaem C.P. Spencer also ordered Bryan Webb, 57, of Pasadena, David Butler, 51, of Gibson Island, John Tracey, 58, of Owings Mills, and Charles Vieth, 58, of Reisterstown, to complete community service.
The orders came down during "natural resources day" in District Court in Annapolis.
Once a month, a portion of the court docket is designated for cases that involve Natural Resources Police. More than a half dozen cases went before Spencer during the hearing Friday.
Webb, Butler and Vieth, who were charged with hunting waterfowl over a baited area, were given 10 hours of community service and ordered to donate $200 to DNR's "Catch a Poacher" program.
Tracey, who also was cited for hunting with an unplugged shotgun, was given 12 hours of community service and ordered to donate $225 to the DNR program.
The hourlong hearing involved everything from illegal hunting and fishing to moving violations with boats and vehicles.
A pair of brothers caught riding all-terrain vehicles on county property in Pasadena this winter were given $200 fines.
A man who was under the influence of alcohol when he crashed his uncle's boat into City Dock in downtown Annapolis last summer was sentenced to a weekend in jail. He also was ordered to pay more than $5,200 in restitution to the city for repairs to the pier.
One of the biggest cases, involving Benjamin Reihl, 27, of Chestertown, who is accused of commercial fishing while his license was revoked, was postponed. Reihl's attorney said Reihl, who has 22 prior natural resources convictions, is appealing the revocation.
More than a half-dozen NRP officers were in the courtroom for the hearings, as were a handful of police from other agencies.
Natural resources day has been around since 2010. The idea came from the Conservation Law Enforcement Summit, held in Annapolis in 2009, that attracted police, prosecutors, hunters, lawmakers and recreational and commercial fishermen.
"The group wanted to draft laws and encourage programs that cracked down on poachers and other bad actors," Natural Resources Police spokeswoman Candy Thomson wrote in an email.
Then-District Court Chief Judge Ben Clyburn, himself an avid angler, then-Attorney General Douglas Gansler and NRP Col. George F. Johnson IV came up with the pilot natural resources day court program and launched it in District Court in Anne Arundel County in 2010.
Deemed a success, it was expanded to the lower Eastern Shore counties in the summer of 2011, Thomson said. Natural resources day in District Court is now held in 18 of Maryland's 24 jurisdictions.