Saturday, June 5, 2010

Police on Trial

Actually, the title should be something like, "Policeman Being Persecuted" or "Conclusive Proof: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished".  In brief, Sargent Mark Fry of the Toledo Police rescued a fawn by Cesarean section (the doe was killed by a car), then took the new born home and he and his wife raised it.  This meant getting up once every hour to feed the fawn - think about that for just a minute, and remember you've got to show up for work not looking like five miles of bad road.  This is a noble effort on the part of officer Mark Fry and his wife Darla and I'm glad some good publicity is coming out of it.  How often do we get to read about the police saving a life?  And hey, it's Bambi!  Who wouldn't want to save Bambi, right?  Everything should be hearts, flowers and Officer Mark could visit a few grade schools as a kind of public outreach program or something.  You'd think everyone would be on board with this, right?  Wrong.  There's a fly in every ointment, a villain in every story and a politician in every elected office.  It seems that what officer Mark Fry did is against Ohio State law.  Here's the link to the story in the Toledo Blade: Officer Rescues Newborn Fawn But Ends Up In Trouble With State.   

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) are not happy with officer Fry, and so paid him a little visit the other day.  Things did not go as expected.  From The Blade:
ODNR officials visited Sargent Fry early Wednesday. He said he ordered the officials off his property, as they did not have a search warrant, and said he indicated to them that he would turn over the animal the following day.
Follow that?  The ODNR did not have a search warrant, and since we aren't reading about an armed standoff I gather the ODNR left when ordered to do so.  That's worth remembering.

Since then, Norman (AKA Bambi) has escaped his pen and is now at large somewhere in Lucas county.  Norman is armed and dangerous.  We think.  Things being how they are, the ODNR likely feels as though they've been had, which is accurate.  They aren't worried about any negative public relations, either.  The Toledo Police department is backing Sargent Fry:
Chief Navarre said he opposes any prosecution of Sergeant Fry for nursing the fawn back to life, and called Mr. Newsome [wildlife officer supervisor for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources] earlier this week to warn about the potential public relations ramifications of the issue.
If Officer Fry is arrested and charged with a crime, my advice to Officer Fry is to demand a jury trial.  Just let me sit on the jury.

Here I'm referring to something called jury nullification, explained in detail herehere and here. What this amounts to is that if the jury, or any member of the jury decides that the alleged actions of the accused were reasonable or justifiable then the jury is allowed to find the accused not guilty in spite of the law.  Judges will not inform the jury of jury nullification, likely because if the jurors discovered their authority they would begin applying common sense to criminal trials.  We couldn't have that, now could we?  We the people would be usurping the judge's authority, and the judge doesn't like that.

Everyone should understand their duties as a juror thoroughly, and most people don't.  If you don't know about jury nullification, go read about it and become informed.

My congratulations to Toledo Police Sgt. Mark Fry and his wife Darla for doing a good job.  I'm glad Officer Fry is a policeman.


Beat And Release said...

If DNR up there is anything like the one here, you have to be politically connected to get a job there in the first place. That usually leads to a bunch of morons staffing the joint.

historymike said...

I assume that the DNR realizes the PR fiasco into which it is beginning to sink - the articles I read quoted a DNR spokesperson who at least acknowledged the firestorm of protest that is brewing.

Mad Jack said...

B&R: I really don't know how you get a job with the DNR. Judging this situation, I tend to think all positions are by appointment.

HistoryMike: It's likely they know, but they don't care. Their feathers got ruffled and now they're out for some pay back - consequences be damned.

Beat And Release said...

Maybe next time Fry should deliver the little Bambi then rock it with some rounds from his service weapon. I doubt DNR would say much that. Ahhh...the stupidity is giving me a headache....Oh noez!!!! :)