Wittman Man Pleads Guilty to Undersize Oyster Charge in St. Mary's - Southern Maryland Headline News

Wittman Man Pleads Guilty to Undersize Oyster Charge in St. Mary's


Individual was charged with same offenses in Dorchester County two days prior to trial

LEONARDTOWN, Md. (Feb. 13, 2009)—Joseph Bruce Janda Jr., 22, of Wittman pleaded guilty today in St. Mary's County District Court to undersized oysters and boating charges that were filed by the Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) in October of 2008.

NRP charged Janda on Thursday, Oct. 9, with two counts of possession of undersized oysters, failing to have a Tidal Fish License available for inspection, and insufficient number of fire extinguishers onboard his vessel. Janda was harvesting oysters commercially in the area of Town Creek on the Patuxent River when NRP stopped and checked his catch. Officers found Janda to be in possession of two bushels of oysters containing 32 percent and 42 percent of undersized oysters and cultch.

Janda was sentenced to one year in jail to be served at the St. Mary's County Detention Center; all but 90 days were suspended; three years supervised probation upon his release; Janda can not renew or apply for a Maryland commercial or recreational fishing license for three years; fined a total of $140 for the failing to have Tidal Fish License available for inspection and insufficient number of fire extinguishers; and ordered to attend a boating safety education course.

"I want to commend the District Court for taking this case and these natural resource offenses seriously," said DNR's Assistant Secretary for Aquatic Resources, Frank W. Dawson. "The theft of natural resources hurts everyone in the Bay community. In addition to the court penalty, DNR will be pursuing a license revocation against Mr. Janda."

On Wednesday, Feb. 11, two days prior to Janda's St. Mary's County trial date, NRP charged Janda and Jeremy V. Shockley, 35, of Church Creek with multiple commercial oyster harvesting violations. The charges are the result of an investigation that started with an incident on Jan. 26.

Janda was charged in Dorchester County with 22 counts of possession of undersized/unculled oysters and one count of landing oysters in an unapproved container. A court date of April 6 has been scheduled for Janda in Dorchester County District Court.

Shockley was charged in Dorchester County with 15 counts of possession of undersized/unculled oysters and one count of landing oysters in an unapproved container. Shockley was also charged with two counts of undersized/unculled oysters in Talbot County. A court date of April 6 has been scheduled in Dorchester County District Court and April 16 in Talbot County District Court for Shockley.

Source: Maryland Natural Resources Police

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