Wildlife Violators Compact Helps Jail Repeat Offender
Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officers recently made history in the state utilizing the Wildlife Violator's Compact. A Bradley County man received jail time after he violated his Tennessee wildlife violation probation by fishing in another state.
On July 8, Kurt Wesley Ellis, 31, of Cleveland, pled guilty to the charge he violated his probation by fishing in Georgia. He received two consecutive 364-day jail terms in Bradley County with credit for time served up to that point in both states.
"This is the first time a violator has received jail time as a result of utilizing the Wildlife Violator's Compact," said Fred Funte, TWRA Compact Coordinator.
In January 2009, after pleading guilty to 12 wildlife violation charges in Bradley County, Ellis received in addition to fines, 10 days in jail to serve, 100 hours of community service, and two years of intense probation.
"Ellis' hunting and fishing privileges had already been revoked for a 20-year period in Tennessee as a result of previous charges,” said Phillip Earhart, Bradley County TWRA Wildlife Officer. "Back in November 2008, TWRA discovered evidence that suggested Ellis was violating his hunting privilege revocation. After that we received additional information he was operating on both sides of the Tennessee and Georgia state line and numerous officers from both states became involved in attempting to catch Ellis in the act of hunting or fishing."
Wildlife officers continued to gather information and this spring Tennessee officers Earhart and fellow Bradley County officer, Ben Davis, received information that Ellis was fishing in a trout stream in Georgia. They contacted Georgia Department of Natural Resources, local officer, Cpl. Casey Jones. Cpl. Jones apprehended Ellis and charged him with three charges in Georgia. With assistance from the Bradley County District Attorney's office, Ellis was placed on hold in the Murray County, Ga., jail and later transferred to the Bradley County Jail to face the charge of probation violation.
"I cannot say enough good things about how hard numerous Tennessee wildlife officers worked on this case and how well we all worked with our counterparts in Georgia," said Earhart. "This is a testament that the Wildlife Violator's Compact works for the sportsmen when the proper information is shared."
Ellis is still facing charges in Hamilton County, Tenn. and Murray County. Tennessee and Georgia are two of the 34 states currently members of the Wildlife Violator's Compact. Three other states have passed legislation to join, and three additional states are in the process to initiate the process to join. Tennessee became a member in 2005.