LAWFUEL – US Law, US Law Jobs – R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Eddie McKissick, Senior Resident in Charge, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announced that defendant Jimmy Spurgeon Smith of Highlands County, Florida was sentenced on March 5, 2007 by United States District Court Judge K. Michael Moore to one year probation and fined $55,000.
On November 2, 2006, the United States Attorney’s Office filed a misdemeanor information charging Smith with two counts of violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act by baiting land for the purpose of causing any person to take migratory game, and rallying migratory game birds, all in violation of Title 16, United States Code, Sections 704(b)(2), 707(c), 703, and 707(a).
For the past several years, Smith leased his hunting lodge and a portion of his 2,700 acre ranch to Centex Homes. Centex paid Smith an annual lease fee of $54,400 for hunting privileges. Beginning October 2, 2006, Smith placed 200 pounds of brown top millet onto his property in preparation for an upcoming dove hunt. On October 7, 2006, the date of the scheduled hunt, Smith covered the bait prior to the hunters’ arrival so as not to alert them to the baiting. In addition to baiting his fields, Smith used an all terrain vehicle to rally and stir up the doves. Law enforcement documented at least 40 hunters on the property. After being questioned by law enforcement, Smith admitted to baiting his fields and said that he did so because he wanted the hunters to have a good time.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, this is one of the most significant sentences imposed involving the baiting of a field for hunting.
Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Rinku Talwar.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov/ or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov/.