Friday, June 12, 2015

Jury finds Idaho wolf shooter guilty

Posted: Friday, June 12, 2015 
COEUR d'ALENE - Rathdrum Mountain wolf shooter Forrest Mize was convicted by a jury Thursday."Our judicial system is horribly broken and I would say the same thing if I had won," Mize said after the verdict was reached after less than one hour of deliberations.
He was convicted by a jury of three women and three men - at least three of whom are hunters. One male juror in the front row wore a black T-shirt that read "got ammo?" in white letters.
Mize, 54, was charged in Kootenai County court with misdemeanor possession of a wolf without a tag.

Magistrate Judge Anna Eckhart gave Mize a withheld judgment with six months of unsupervised probation.
If he completes the probation period with no violations he can petition to have the conviction dismissed, erasing it from his record. He has no other criminal history.
Mize also has to pay $165 in court costs and $35 in prosecution costs.

He killed the wolf on Dec. 30 while he walked his three dogs on the mountain near his home.
He then sought to keep the pelt, taking the animal to a taxidermist. He bought a tag after the shooting.
"I went to court nine times and wasted countless hours over killing one wolf - a transplanted nuisance predator that Idaho spends $450,000 a year to shoot from helicopters," Mize said. "This is not the system I suited up for every day for 20 years to support and defend."

Mize, a former fighter pilot in the U.S. Navy, complained that he never got to explain to the jury that he killed the wolf to prevent it from attacking his dogs.
"Our entire country has become a life-support system for bloated judicial bureaucracy, enforcement agencies and lawyers," Mize said. "I never got to say one word while the jury was in the courtroom."
Mize's trial started Tuesday, took Wednesday off, and resumed Thursday for closing arguments and jury deliberations.

The case was investigated by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.
"We respect the jury's decision and appreciate the time and attention the jurors and the prosecutor's office gave the case," said Phil Cooper, a spokesman for Fish and Game in Coeur d'Alene.
During closing arguments, Mize's attorney, Michael Palmer, said Mize believed he was shooting a coyote at the time. He said Mize had no criminal intent.
"Folks, you ought to have doubts about these circumstances," Palmer said. "If you can't all agree - so be it."

Kootenai County Deputy Prosecutor Tony Clinger argued that the case simply comes down to shooting and possessing a wolf before acquiring the required tag.