State probe faults DEC search, seizure policies on fishing

A state agency charged with policing Long Island’s fisheries failed to process years of vital fishing reports, had inadequate procedures for returning proceeds seized in fishing arrests and improperly allowed , a state probe has found. The findings follow a three-year probe of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation by state Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott. Newsday obtained a draft copy of the report, which is scheduled to be released this week after years of delays. Read the rest here  00:39

  • Ec Newell Man

    This is an issue with the NYS DEC L.E. that I have written on a number of times, in fact just recently.

    Statutory law gave them the power to conduct warrantless searches, but one questions the constitutionality and intrusiveness on searching for fish…..not weapons….not drugs….not to prevent some crime……just fish. Where is the Supreme Court case providing the “fish” exception to law enforcement to violate a citizens 4th Amendment right to illegal search and seizure?

    It is also well known about the threats and intimidation by NYS DEC enforcement against fishermen who were just charged with a violation of the ECL…essentially a summonsable offense. To wit:

    “Leahy Scott’s report found the practice “may create an appearance of impropriety and coercion,” and recommended it be stopped. “An accused defendant should have the opportunity to discuss and negotiate his or her case with an independent prosecutor, not the accusing officer,” the report said.”

    “An appearance of impropriety and coercion”….and recommending it stop?

    A NY court should immediately “order it” to stop, similar to what has happened in NYC with the court directly ordering changes to the NYPD use of Stop, Question and Frisk….which unlike searching for fish, SQF is a valuable tool in policing and protecting our communities, and has court precedent allowing its use (Terry v. Ohio).

    What will come of this? Makes you wonder here in the once Empire State especially with the marine law enforcement practices of the NYS DEC.