In the latest news of overreaching law enforcement, an Indiana couple is facing criminal charges for rescuing an injured deer and nursing it to health. The couple is just one example of law enforcement overstepping their bounds and searching for a way to penalize even the most benign of activities.
According to Good Morning America, Jennifer and Jeff Councellar found the deer on a neighbor’s porch two years ago. The fawn was hurt and unable to walk. They took the deer home and cared for it.
The state Department of Natural Resources determined the deer could be a danger to the Councellers or the public and ordered she be euthanized. On the day she was scheduled to be killed, Dani “inexplicably escaped” into the wild.
This, officials determined, didn’t make the situation okay. Now, though the deer didn’t pose a danger to the couple or the public, the Councellers still violated a law.
The two are charged with unlawful possession of a deer. Both could face up to 60 days in jail and $2,000 in fines. It’s a misdemeanor. For rescuing a deer. A deer, incidentally, that has now returned to the wild.
So, just where is the harm in this story? What did the Councellers do that would warrant jail time? That’s what everyone else is asking too.
Their story has made national news, but it seems the local district attorney isn’t interested in dropping the nonsense charges. This is common, that law enforcement would levy charges out of spite and then refuse to back down out of pride, or something like that.
After the publicity, there is strong public outrage against this charge, and there is a petition for the DA to drop the charges.
Jeff Counceller wouldn’t have knowingly become a criminal. He is a cop himself. Had he thought that his “offense” would warrant jail time and possibly put his job on the line, he likely wouldn’t have done it.
We hear all the time of crazy criminal charges, but some less “crazy” charges are still unnecessary. People are often charged with things like disorderly conduct for nothing more than angering police. This is part of the reason most people have a guarded fear when coming in contact with law enforcement.
Whether you committed an offense you knew was wrong and are looking for a lenient penalty, or if you are still unsure of why you are charged with a crime, contact a lawyer for advice.