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24 January 2005 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – A fishing boat cap…

24 January 2005 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – A fishing boat captain today pleaded guilty to two federal charges for shooting at California sea lions last fall while his boat was off the coast of Catalina Island.

John Gary Woodrum, 38, of Harbor City, pleaded guilty this morning to two misdemeanor counts of attempting to kill a marine mammal. By pleading guilty, Woodrum admitted that he used a .22-caliber rifle to shoot at California sea lions on October 13 and November 8 of 2004.

California sea lions are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Woodrum pleaded guilty before United States District Judge John F. Walter, who is scheduled to sentence the defendant on February 28. The two misdemeanor charges carry a maximum possible penalty of two years in federal prison.

In a plea agreement, Woodrum has agreed to serve 60 days in jail. Furthermore, Woodrum admits that his admissions in this case constitute misconduct under the terms and requirements of his merchant mariners license administered by the United States Coast Guard. In return for his admissions, the United States Coast Guard has agreed to suspend Woodrum’s merchant mariners license for a period of 50 days to run concurrently with his prison sentence.

This case was investigated by the California Department of Fish and Game; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries, Office of Law Enforcement; and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

British MP George Galloway and his opponent the Daily Telegraph will leave no stone unturned to sort out what could be a spectacular libel case.