Judicial Enforcement of Conservation Law in the county courts is a Monster of a problem simply because county judges dismiss more cases than they prosecute. It is my opinion that many cases are simply thrown out because most county judges review conservation law or the violations themselves as petty and they simply have better things to be doing than talking about a life jacket violation or a possession limit violation.
This Epidemic is not just Isolated, it is wide spread throughout Iowa and causes many other problems.
1. Iowa sportsmen pay the salaries if you will of our Conservation Law Enforcement. They spend many hours a field and countless man hours checking folks, writing tickets, spending time in court etc. This cost money.
We simply cannot counter the cost if the judicial system with in the county dismiss cases. Can you imagine the tax payer Liability if you will if county judges dismiss the majority of their domestic law enforcement cases ( Simple Traffic Violations) if you will ? It simply would have monumental negative budget implications not to mention increased tax payer liability.
Case in point: I could write a ticket for over possession limit on fish. The Fine 30 sum dollars, the court fee is 60 dollars. A judge throws it out and we are stuck with a $60 Bill. This would be one example and boy are there many.
2. Morale, does anyone understand what it is like or how the above effects Conservation Law Enforcement Officers in the field? Why would they write tickets go through the paper work, spend time in the court room if they know that the probability of the case being dismissed by a county judge is very likely? Again this cost money.
3. Overall Negative budget implications to the above effects the ability to get new and needed equipment, more officers to lighten the field work load and so goes the chain. Again this is costing us money.
4. If your spending more money than your taking in, you simply are not capable of doing the job that the bulk of the constituents demand and are paying for to be done.
It would be my suggestion to legislature to write a Bill and pass a Law that requires county judges who judge conservation cases / Law / Violations to compile a cost analysis report on the Conservation cases they dismissed vs the ones they prosecuted as a means to identify the judicial prosecution problems of Conservation Law with in the state of Iowa and in the county. The people and you need to know exactly how much this problem is costing Iowa tax payers & Iowa Sportsmen.
This would greatly improve the ability of legislature to pass law that has teeth and eliminate bad laws that cost tax payers money. It may even give legislature some form or ability to Designate Judges with in counties who do prosecute Violations, the specific Responsibility of hearing said conservation cases. Putting our best county judges who do prosecute conservation Law and understand it on the bench, saving tax payers money, saving our IDNR money and time that they simply cannot afford to waste and in all honesty neither can you as a Legislatute.
Ignorance of Conservation Law and Failure to prosecute conservation law violations, simply cannot be tolerated and left up to ones self interpretation of what is conservation law. This is costing the state and tax payers, Sportsmen Money! It is very much like Good Teachers & Bad Teachers with in the public school system. We do have some great teachers but we do have some bad ones that bleed the public school system of valuable resources that could have been better spent on our kids and better teachers.
Recognizing that we do have a problem when it comes to Conservation Law Enforcement & Prosecution at the judicial level will help us all identify & resolve said problems and save Tax Payers Million$.