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Hawaii resident pleads guilty to wildlife violations

Posted: March 21, 2012 - 12:02am

The brother of local fishing guide Michael P. Duby pleaded guilty to two state of Alaska hunting misdemeanor violations in Juneau District Court Tuesday.

Jason W. Duby, 36, appeared in court via cell phone from a fishing boat in Maui, Hawaii, where he works as a sport fishing guide. He pleaded guilty to black bear baiting without a permit in 2009 and to hunting in a closed area, Mendenhall Lake, in June 2007.

Duby is one of about nine people, including family members, friends and clients, charged with hunting or fishing violations in connection to local guide Michael P. Duby, 37, the owner and operator of FishHunter Charters in Juneau.

Michael P. Duby received one of the harshest sentences in the history of the state of Alaska last month for breaking wildlife laws, prosecutors said at the time.

His sentence totaled 280 days to serve in prison and tens of thousands of dollars in fees and restitution, plus five years probation and revocation of his fishing and hunting license for multiple state and federal hunting and fishing violations from May 2007 to June 2009.

According to charging documents, Jason Duby admitted to hunting an unregistered bear site behind his brother’s property in the 7200 block of Glacier Highway in Juneau three to four times in 2009 with his Bow-Tech compound bow and Bremann arrows.

He also admitted maintaining the bait site with duck, fish, dog food and pink and white marshmallows as bait.

A trail camera set up Alaska Wildlife Troopers in Juneau photographed the Duby’s and others in the act.

Until the change of plea hearing, Jason Duby maintained his innocence that he did not kill a bear in 2009, but law enforcement obtained photos of Jason posing with his kill and compound bow, according to charging documents. The incriminating photograph was found in the Facebook photo album of one of his friends tilted “My back yard bear hunt + 1” with the caption “my captain up here ... slayed this thing with his bow.” In subsequent interviews, Jason Duby’s friends gave him up and admitted Duby killed the black bear. Both of those friends, Jordan and Andrew Morse, pleaded guilty to a violation offense of illegally possessing and/or transporting the bear killed by Jason Duby.

On Tuesday, Juneau District Court Judge Keith Levy accepted a proposed plea deal for Jason Duby that imposed 20 days in suspended jail time, about $4,000 in fines and about $1,220 in restitution, plus three years of probation, and revocation of his Alaska sport hunting license for one year.

Duby will also be required to forfeit the black bear skull and hide, bow and arrows and a trail camera used at the black bear site.

Assistant Attorney General Andrew Peterson, who has prosecuted all the state satellite cases revolving around Michael P. Duby, said there was no evidence Jason Duby violated any fishing laws, thus his fishing license would not be revoked. But, Peterson added, Duby will not be able to hunt in the 35 states participating in the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, which is an agreement between about 35 states to recognize suspension of hunting, fishing and trapping licenses in member states.

“I have no evidence that he committed any fishing violations while he was in Alaska, and that’s why the state agreed to only revoke his hunting privileges,” Peterson said. “He will be revoked in all the compact states, so (that’s) approximately 35 states he won’t be able to hunt in.”

The plea deal allows for Duby to withdraw his guilty pleas if federal charges for the same offenses are brought against him. It also dismisses a third misdemeanor charge against him for taking a black bear without an appropriate license.

Peterson said the sentence was consistent with the other cases and urged the judge to accept the agreement.

“This is a pretty severe penalty,” he said. “It’s an appropriate penalty for someone whose committed a first offense but has done it multiple times. Potentially, this brings to conclusion the Duby cases with the exception of one case which is outstanding due to a warrant status, and it’s consistent with the other cases that have been resolved.”

Jason Duby declined to address the court when given the opportunity.

Judge Levy said in cases such as these the primary sentencing goals are deterrence and community condemnation, and that he felt this sentence was appropriate.

“The laws are there for very good reason: preservation of the resources, and to some degree, fairness among people who are given the privilege to benefit from those resources. And when you abuse that privilege I think there do need to be consequences, and primarily I think for the purpose of deterring people from violating those laws,” he said.

Levy added, “The other consideration here is consistency in sentencing, and I think this is consistent with what I have seen in other cases where somebody has no prior criminal convictions and violates the game laws.”

Both black bear baiting without a permit and hunting in a closed unit are class ‘A’ misdemeanors, the most serious classification of misdemeanors. They are punishable by up to one year in jail and a $10,000 fine.

Broken down by charge, for count one, Duby was sentenced to 10 days in jail with all time suspended, a $5,000 fine with $2,500 suspended, $310 in restitution for an unpaid hunting license, forfeiture of bow and arrows and the trail camera, revocation of sport hunting privileges in Alaska for one year and informal probation for three years.

For count two, Duby was sentenced to 10 days in jail with all time suspended, a $3,000 fine with $1,500 suspended, $310 in restitution for an unpaid hunting license, $600 in restitution for the black bear that was killed, forfeiture of the black bear hide and skull, revocation of sport hunting privileges for one year (which is concurrent with count 1) and informal probation for three years (also concurrent with count 1).

• Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at emily.miller@juneauempire.com.

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