FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 16, 1998
Diana M. Hawkins or
Vicki M. Boatwright

 

SENTENCE OF CONVICTED TAXIDERMIST HAS STRINGS ATTACHED

Some unusual stipulations were attached to a sentence handed down last week in Federal Court in Mobile, Alabama. Following the guilty plea entered last October by local taxidermist Donald Ray Hawkins to one felony count of interstate transportation of hides from illegally-taken Alaskan bears -- a violation of the Lacey Act -- Chief U.S. District Judge Charles Butler ordered Hawkins to serve 5 years supervised probation.

The judge further ordered that Hawkins would serve the first 6 months of his probation under house arrest with electronic monitoring, limit all his travel to within the southern district of Alabama, perform both 100 hours of community service and donate $500 annually to a wildlife organization, and engage in no hunting or hunting-related activities anywhere in the world. In addition, the judge ordered Hawkins to purchase both a Federal duck stamp and a State duck stamp each year for these five years and immediately surrender the stamps to his probation officer.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Regional Director, Sam Hamilton, said that Hawkins, who is well-known in Gulf Coast hunting circles, received an appropriate sentence from Judge Butler, noting that Hawkins has been previously convicted of similar or related offenses in Colorado and in Alaska, where he has served jail time.

Passed in 1900, the Lacey Act prohibits the import, export, transportation, sale, receipt, acquisition, or purchase of fish, wildlife, or plants that are taken, possessed, transported or sold in violation of any Federal, State, tribal, or foreign law. The 1981 amendments to the Act were designed to strengthen Federal laws and improve Federal assistance to States and foreign

governments in enforcement of fish and wildlife laws. The Act has become a vital tool in efforts to control smuggling and trade in illegally taken fish and wildlife.

Individuals convicted of violating the Lacey Act may be sentenced up to $100,000 and one year in jail for misdemeanors and up to $250,000 and five years' imprisonment for felony violations. Fines for organizations in violation of the Act are up to $250,000 and $500,000 for misdemeanor and felony violations, respectively. In addition, vehicles, aircraft, and equipment used in the violation -- as well as illegally taken fish, wildlife, and plants -- may be subject to forfeiture.

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Release #: R98-002


1998 News Releases

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