Target: District Attorney James Scott, Juneau, Alaska
Goal: Thank prosecutor for helping to dismiss case against woman who rescued an injured bald eagle.
A lawsuit against a woman who freed a bald eagle from a hunter’s trap has been dismissed by a prosecuting attorney. During a hiking trip on Davies Creek trails, Kathleen Adair came upon an injured bald eagle with a trap sprung on each leg. The eagle was injured, struggling, and needed immediate attention. It was getting dark, and rather than wait the night for a rescuer to make it into the forest, Adair took action, using bird rescue skills she learned from volunteer work.
Adair, who had three dogs with her, sprung another nearby trap and tied up the dogs so they did not get injured. She then spent an hour freeing the bird from the trap before transporting it to a veterinary care center and notifying the park staff of her find. Unfortunately, the eagle had several injuries from which it was unlikely to recover, and had to be euthanized.
The next day, a hunter complained that several of his traps had been tampered with. While it was perfectly legal to free the threatened species, it was illegal to tamper with the third trap. A case was brought against Adair, who could have faced 30 days in prison and a $500 fine if convicted. When she arrived at her arraignment, the district attorney asked the judge to dismiss the case and encouraged Adair to keep freeing eagles in the future. He did, however, warn against tampering with other traps in the area.
This case is a perfect example of fair use of prosecutorial discretion. Rather than punishing Adair for a good deed, the prosecutor was kind and understanding. Praise the district attorney for his choice to dismiss a case against a Good Samaritan.
Dear District Attorney James Scott,
The state of Alaska recently dismissed a case against Kathleen Adair, who freed an injured bald eagle from a hunting trap. Rather than wait for rescuers who would arrive he next day, she spent an hour trying to free the eagle before seeking out a veterinarian. Before freeing the eagle, Adair sprung a nearby trap as she had dogs nearby. While freeing the eagle was completely legal, tripping the second trap was considered illegal interference with trapping equipment.
She was cited days later by Alaskan Parks staff, and could have faced a $500 fine and a 30 day prison sentence if found guilty. When Adair arrived at her arraignment, the judge agreed with a district attorney request to dismiss the case, clearing Adair of all wrongdoing. We, the undersigned, thank you for exercising good judgement and empathy toward the do-gooder.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Yathin S. Krishnappa via Creative Commons