After delays, stays, changes in court sites and appeals, Robert V. Hageman Sr. of Gainesville has been sentenced on four game-law violations.
On Monday evening in Silver Springs Court, Judge John Proper imposed $100 fines and $75 court costs each for four violations.
This sentencing followed the longest court proceedings conducted for an environmental conservation offense arresting Environmental Conservation Officer Roger “R.J.” Ward has seen in his ten years of service as an ECO.
“Most cases are settled in less than a year, but this one has been in the court system for three years,” Ward said of the initial nine charges placed against Hageman.
In the fall of 2009, one misdemeanor and eight violations were charged for untagged and unreported deer in Hageman’s possession.
Court proceedings were moved from sites near two locations, Java and Gainesville. Wyoming County Assistant District Attorney Vincent Hemming processed most of the counts brought before that county’s courts.
Finally, after several delays and rescheduled appearances, the Monday night sentencing resulted in convictions on four lesser but significant charges.
As one observer said during the Silver Springs courthouse proceedings, “It’s not over, even when it’s over.” That reference was to the actions of Hageman’s legal council; an appeal of all charges was filed prior to the sentencing.
For sportsmen involved with this case, the delays and legal tactics were almost as disappointing and the negative image Hageman has made public.
Prior to his conviction, he served as president of the Wyoming County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs and currently serves as a NYSDEC Hunter Certification Instructor, and is a leash tracking dog license holder in New York State.
DEC officials coordinating hunter education and the tracking license are now assessing Hageman’s status as an appeal is in process.
Added to the conviction on four violations and the total of $700 in fines, Assistant District Attorney Hemming recommended to the court and Judge Proper a suspension of Hageman’s hunting license for an indeterminate period.
“This (case) is a bad reflection on all the hard-working, responsible, volunteer instructors and game trackers in this state,” said Gary Huber with the WNY Chapter of Deer Search. Gary Neal, head of the Finger Lakes Chapter of Deer Search echoed Huber’s comments and was surprised with the Judge’s decision to suspend Hageman’s hunting privileges.
Officials have yet to announce changes in the status of Hageman’s credentials. Hageman made no statement during the Monday evening court proceedings, but he delivered a dagger-like glare at Gary Neal and Ron Hausfelder, Deer Search judicial committee chairman, when leaving the court to act on his appeal.