A Maryland man accused of poaching fish now has another charge to worry about. According to reports, a commercial fisherman from the eastern shore is under investigation for poaching hundreds of thousands of dollars in rockfish from Chesapeake Bay. This allegation was serious enough.
Now, however, federal prosecutors are also interested in securing a conviction for threats the man allegedly made towards witnesses of his poaching activities. As one of the prosecutors explained, the cover-up may be more condemning than the underlying crime itself. This scenario presents a challenging predicament for the accused's criminal defense.
Rather than being faced with a one-dimensional criminal case, the criminal proceedings now may prove to be a complex cocktail of various charges and allegations. This new potential charge will expose the accused to much more serious penalties, such as 20 years in federal prison.
Authorities aggressively pursue criminal convictions. In many cases, the criminal code for state and federal courts is malleable enough for them to successfully charge individuals with multiple crimes for a single infraction. These facts are proof of that.
Fortunately, there are a variety of defenses that may be raised, even in complex cases such as this one. Given the potential consequences of a conviction in this case, it will be essential to determine the best defense strategy and begin building a strong defense case before formal charges are even filed. This will place the accused in the best position to anticipate the charges and defend himself against these accusations and a potentially long sentence of incarceration.
Source: CBS News, "Md. fisherman accused of poaching also threatened witnesses, feds say," Barry Leibowitz, Sept. 20, 2013