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Idaho State Police trooper to face criminal charge

Hagadone News Network | November 25, 2010 8:00 PM

SANDPOINT - An Idaho State Police trooper will be prosecuted for harvesting a bull moose out of season.

"We do intend on filing charges," said Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson, whose office is handling the case against Cpl. Jeff Jayne.

It remains unclear exactly what offense Jayne will be charged with or whether it will be prosecuted at the felony or misdemeanor level. Thompson said he's awaiting further information from Jayne's defense counsel before making a final charging determination.

"At this point, we haven't finalized a decision on the exact nature of the charge, but it will be for violations of the Fish & Game code for taking an animal out of season," Thompson said.

Thompson declined to elaborate on the factors which influenced his office's decision to prosecute Jayne, but said those facts will become public when the case gets filed.

Jayne became the subject of a Idaho Department of Fish & Game investigation after allegedly bagging the moose four days before the hunting season opened. Authorities were tipped off when Jayne reportedly took the animal to a taxidermist.

"They're making a charging decision and we're having some ongoing conversation with the prosecuting attorney, but that's all I can tell you," said Jayne's attorney, James Siebe.

In a statement to The Bonner County Daily Bee shortly after the allegations surfaced in late September, Jayne admitted accidentally taking the moose because he incorrectly memorized the dates of the season.

"I am facing stiff scrutiny from the public and the judicial process - a challenge I am willing to accept in exchange for my mistake. I wish to put this behind me, move on, and make changes to ensure this will never be repeated," Jayne said in the statement.

Bonner County Prosecutor Louis Marshall moved to appoint a special prosecutor in the case to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. Jayne's patrol beat includes Bonner County.

Thompson anticipates the case will be filed in the next couple of weeks, although it's not clear where it will ultimately be prosecuted. Both counsels have offices in Moscow and they could stipulate to handle the matter down there.

Siebe expressed doubt that a judge in Bonner County would agree to preside over the case because of Jayne's employment as a local state trooper.

"I don't think we're going to end up with a judge up there because of the fact that Jeff works up there. There's a good chance of getting it resolved here," Siebe said.

Thompson acknowledged there is a lot of local interest in the case against Jayne, but said he will be treated no differently than any other defendant.

"We're working on this, trying to treat it just like anybody who would be involved in the same conduct and not do anything to suggest either preferential treatment or overly harsh treatment because of his position as a law enforcement officer," Thompson said.

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