Ticketed Civilian Deer Rescuers Defend Case In Court

BALTIMORE (WJZ)–When a deer got stuck on the frozen Patapsco River, animal lovers worked together to rescue the animal. It ended successfully, but two of the rescuers got citations.

Mike Schuh was in court as they tried to defend themselves.

The deer was stuck 50 feet from the shore in the Patapsco. With firefighters and the DNR watching, a group of civilians rescued the animal after two men broke a pathway through the ice. For their trouble, the two were given citations for not having life vests in the rafts.

The DNR superintendent said they are responsible for public safety.

“Our officers are trained to handle situations like this,” said George Johnson, DNR superintendent. “Unfortunately, the citizenry out there are not.”

The civilians came to fight the $90 citation. Right away, things went wrong for Khaalil Abusakran. His charge was dismissed, but the issuing officer was instructed to issue him a new ticket.

“I guess he said a technicality; the ticket wasn’t properly filled out,” Abusakran said.

The other rescuer brought pictures of where the life vest was stored on the raft  and he even had a Baltimore County officer subpoenaed to provide testimony backing up their claims of innocence. But his case fell apart when he decided to act as his own attorney.

In court, Jim Hart chose not to take the stand and also chose to represent himself. Because of his lack of legal experience, though, he brought two witnesses they weren’t able to tell anything to the court that would get Hart off the hook.

“I didn’t see no need because it was only $90,” Hart said. “I believe it should have been squashed.”

The new citation may have given the other man a chance, as he too showed up to court without an attorney.

“I’m definitely going to have an attorney with me, yes,” Abusakran said.

That second trial will be in early May.

More from Mike Schuh
  • Stacey V-AwarenessHelps Citraro

    This animal needed help and these fine people heard its cry. Give me a break!!! the minor citation should have been waived in light of their heroic efforts and the nature of this case. ||||| http://www.AwarenessHelps.info

    • CAMRY1

      They were instructed not to go out, but yet they proceeded.. They should have been jailed!

      • Alla Bradley

        your an a..s

  • D. Bos.

    If it was only $90 then why didn’t you pay it!! You chose not to listen to the proper authorities, now you must pay..

    • Alla Bradley

      you suck

  • jakasbury

    Isnt anyone in the court system interested in the truth? Are they only interested in assuring that defendants hire a lawyer? It seems that are judicial system has gone the way of the academy awards of self promotion. If you dont have a lawyer then you are guilty , no matter what the truth . Whats more the DNR superintendent has the responsibility to save animal life as well as protecting civilians. The successful rescue of this animal proved that a rescue was possible without endangering any of the DNR employees. Hence a ticket was issued because of the embarrassment of the DNR itself. Clearly these people did have life vests in the boat DNR needs to admit to the cowardice of their employees and the justice system needs to stop wasting the states money. The judge in question does not have the authority to have a new ticket issued. That in itself constitutes cohersion, and is totally illegal. A judge must weigh the evidence as presented and not allow any authority to change it after a case is presented. Dismiss this case before Maryanders end up paying a multi million dollar lawsuit. Simply because the issueing officer was dishonest when the ticket was presented.

  • Herman Glimsher


  • Jackie Duvall

    Just goes to show how stupid the legal system is in Maryland.
    It could have been a child these men saved, and they still would have gotten a ticket. The Judge should have thrown this out of court. No wonder there is such little respect for the legal system anymore.

  • Wheres common sense when you need it

    The State doesn’t care whether the people were indangered or not. It just wants the revenue. Fines, court costs, taxes on those services, etc,etc. More money to waste.

  • Michael Fitzpatrick

    Lesson learned – No matter if its a DNR employee or Judge that has fallen through the ice, let ’em drown as its not worth the $90 ticket to save their sorry ass!

    • Jonathan Chiles

      LOL – I couldn’t agree more.

  • bryan

    you people defending the government make me sick ok so if it is a human sorry i cant help you i dont have a safety vest just goes to show how our system works in this country it is really starting to take away all our freedom cant do this cant do that oh pay this tax an that tax i can see a cival war in 25 years….

    • KottaMan

      No, 25 MONTHS is more likely.

  • Jeanne Clarke

    is that what the judge really wants from this? for the next person to think twice if a child is drowning or trapped in ice because maybe there’s not a life jacket around? Hopefully someone would put the life of a child or dog or any living being before the cost of a ninety dollar ticket but you never know – who has ninety bucks to spare these days?

  • nazi computer racist

    Who gives a fat rats ass?

  • OldEllicott

    If someone wants to walk into a freezing cold river to rescue an animal let them.

  • Trish

    Whatever the official explanation, anyone who can stand and deliberately watch an animal drown is just cold. And the DNR officer compounded the problem. Not only did he refuse to help (God forbid he should get his own feet wet!), he rewarded those who did with a fine. He brought a heap of scorn down on himself and his agency winds up looking odious, when it so easily could have been otherwise. A little compassion would have gone a long way in that situation.

  • outkasts

    So many Laws that no one can use common sense ! Maryland just loves to put it to its tax payers !

  • LuLu

    It’s nice that they saved the deer but why even bother when with-in a couple of weeks it will prob be shot and i will be having deer jerky :P Just pay the fine you should have listened to the officals

  • Jamey

    Hopefully a nice attorney will read this, have heart, and help them pro bono! This should not have went to court reguardless…..

  • KottaMan

    What this country is getting back to: citizens doing for themselves what the govern-meant will not. As a prior county cop, I say this DNR officer should have engaged his judgment before getting irritated and issuing a citation. DNR may have won the battle but they lost the war on this one.

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