Three deputy district attorneys were given recognition by the local chapter of Trout Unlimited for prosecuting three men who illegally used a gill net to fish on the North Fork of the Consumnes River.
Five members of the El Dorado Chapter of Trout Unlimited recognized Lisette Suder, Worth Dikeman and Jody Jensen, and gave them certificates to show their thanks in their handling of the prosecution of Steve Thang, Kuay Sin Saethern and Charles Tang. They had been accused of three misdemeanors each: illegal method of take, illegal gear — the gill net, which is illegal in California within 100 feet of a canal, river, stream, lake or reservoir — and unlawful possession of over limit of trout, allegedly 70 with a legal limit of five per day and possession of 10. One was also allegedly fishing without a license, an infraction.
Berni Bahro, president of the chapter, said that it was rare for a case such as this to progress so far in the legal system, as they are usually dismissed. John Sikora, chapter vice president, added that it was the chapter’s letters to the District Attorney’s Office and the presiding judge, Suzanne Kingsbury, that helped keep the case alive. Sikora also said that he spoke with the president of operations for Trout Unlimited as a whole, who had never heard of a case making it this far.
“We asked them to take a look at the case and not to dismiss it,” Sikora said. In the past two years, membership has doubled, meaning more fisherman fishing regularly, but the three men who were prosecuted were essentially “wiping out an entire fishery,” he added.
Bahro and Sikora presented the certificates of recognition while Holst, Pat Barron and Ron Zigelhofer looked on.
“We sincerely thank you,” he told the DDAs. He noted that at the last board meeting, after telling the other board members what happened, it was all smiles and applause.
Jensen said it was a team effort and Suder added it was just what they do every day. “But it’s not often groups take the time to thank us. So on behalf of our office, thank you,” Suder said to the fishermen.
Thang, Tang and Saethern all pleaded out before trial, Jensen said. Tang was fined and sentenced to two years of probation; Saethern was sent to traffic court, where he received a fine; and Thang was given 90 days of alternative sentencing and 90 hours of community service to be served with Trout Unlimited, Jensen and Suder said.