Saturday, February 03, 2018

WY: 7mm Mag for Self Defense Against Moose; Jury Agrees



Image from Linda Blakeman

In early 2016, Chauncy G. Goodrich and his family started having problems with a young bull moose on their property near Pinedale, Wyoming. They were repeatedly chased by the moose. They tried various non lethal methods to haze the moose away. They worked for a short period, but the bull continued to hang around the area. 

By July of 2017, the non-lethal methods were exhausted and/or were no longer effective. Chauncy took a 7 mm Magnum with him as a precaution when he attempted to chase the moose off his property and away from his wife and young children.

The bull was in velvet. It started to move away, then charged him. He shot it in the chest, and it died. Chauncy called the game warden and texted him. From pinedaleroundup.com:
“He stated he tried to push the moose away from his house when it charged him and he shot it,” it says. “… On 7/24/2017 he texted me saying he had put that bull down.”

Last Tuesday, July 25, Roundup reporters went to the Schroeder Ranch, near Goodrich’s property, where they observed a dead bull moose lying in tall grass, its antlers in the velvet stage.

Haley’s affidavit states that he, Pinedale supervisor John Lund and Warden Jordan Kraft went to the “kill site” and found the moose with a single gunshot wound to its left chest and a spent 7 mm magnum rifle casing by the tree where Goodrich reported to be when he shot it.

“The wound path indicated the bull was shot as it was facing Goodrich head on,” Haley wrote.
Moose have killed and maimed numerous people with their hoofs. They clearly have the means and motive for homicide.

In self defense law, if someone has repeatedly and credibly threatened you and your family with deadly force, most people would believe you would be justified if you finally resort to deadly force when credibly threatened.   Animals are incapable of committing crimes, because they cannot read or know the law.

Chauncy was charged with the illegal take of a moose. The crime is a high misdemeanor with a penalty of up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

Chauncy decided to take the case to a jury of his peers. On January 17, after a one day trial, the jurors returned a verdict after an hour and 15 minutes. From gillettenewsrecord.com:
PINEDALE – After a one-day trial in state court, six jurors returned a verdict of “not guilty” for Chauncy G. Goodrich of Pinedale, who testified he shot and killed a young bull moose in self-defense.
I suspect Chancy's legal fees were a couple of thousand dollars. He did not spend time in jail.

I like Washington State's system. If you are prosecuted in a self-defense case, and are found not guilty, the state will reinburse you. From apps.leg.wa.gov:

Defending against violent crime—Reimbursement.

(1) No person in the state shall be placed in legal jeopardy of any kind whatsoever for protecting by any reasonable means necessary, himself or herself, his or her family, or his or her real or personal property, or for coming to the aid of another who is in imminent danger of or the victim of assault, robbery, kidnapping, arson, burglary, rape, murder, or any other violent crime as defined in RCW 9.94A.030. 
(2) When a person charged with a crime listed in subsection (1) of this section is found not guilty by reason of self-defense, the state of Washington shall reimburse the defendant for all reasonable costs, including loss of time, legal fees incurred, and other expenses involved in his or her defense. This reimbursement is not an independent cause of action. To award these reasonable costs the trier of fact must find that the defendant's claim of self-defense was sustained by a preponderance of the evidence. If the trier of fact makes a determination of self-defense, the judge shall determine the amount of the award.
Model legislation for all states should include defense against animal attack. I have read of prosecutions for defense against moose, bears, and dogs. There are likely others.

©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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1 comment:

Paul Weber said...

This prosecution wasn't just a waste of the taxpayer's money, it was a waste of time and effort. Clearly this case should never had been brought. I see this prosecution as another example of "punishment by process."