Pirate Poachers of the Chesapeake: Southern Pride, Linda Captains & Crew Face $3,000 Fines for Stealing from Sanctuary

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Pirate Poachers of the Chesapeake

Pirate Poachers of the Chesapeake: Southern Pride, Linda Captains & Crew Face $3,000 Fines for Stealing from Sanctuary

CHOPTANK RIVER, MD. — Using the excuses of not knowing where the oyster sanctuary was located, four Maryland watermen were nabbed for poaching oysters by the boatload, reports the Maryland Natural Resources Police.

Poacher PatrolFour watermen were charged with poaching oysters from protected state waters in Dorchester County by the Maryland Natural Resources Police in separate incidents last Wednesday.

Barlett Wade Murphy Jr., 41 and Catherine Marie Gowe, 26, both of McDaniel, were charged with harvesting oysters from a sanctuary and power dredging in a non-designated area. Also, Murphy was charged with failing to carry Coast Guard-required equipment aboard his commercial boat and failing to obtain an annual certificate of number.

Gowe was charged with violations including poaching oysters from a sanctuary by NRP Officer Cheezum on Dec. 11, 2013, and in Talbot County District Court on April 15, 2014, she was found not guilty.

Murphy was found guilty of dredging for oysters in an area reserved for hand tongers on Feb. 26, 2007 in Anne Arundel County District Court and was fined $297.50.

Officers monitoring oyster harvesting activity on Feb. 15 with the radar units of the Maritime Law Enforcement Information Network noticed a vessel working inside the Cook Point Oyster Sanctuary in the Choptank River.

The officers approached the vessel, “Southern Pride” as it was power dredging for oysters. Upon boarding the boat, officers noticed five bushels in the process of being culled.

Murphy acknowledged he knew he was in the sanctuary, “but only for about 10 minutes.”

He was ordered to dump the five bushels overboard and proceed to shore.

After questioning, the officers returned to the sanctuary to get the Global Positioning System coordinates of the boundaries. As they worked, they noticed another commercial work boat, “Linda,” in the sanctuary and boarded it.

Bryan Joseph Mister, 22, of Tilghman, and John Pershing Price III, 25, of Easton, were charged with harvesting oysters from a sanctuary and patent tonging in a non-designated area.

Mister said he didn’t know he was in the Cook Point sanctuary. He was ordered to dump 30 bushels of oysters back in the water.

Talbot States Attorney Scott Patterson lets Lynch Brothers skate on charges without paying a penny in fines for oyster poachingMister was charged with poaching oysters from a sanctuary on March 10, 2015, and in Talbot County District Court, Talbot County States Attorney Scott Patterson failed to exact any penalty. In spite of a possible $3,000 fine, the plea deal for Mister on May 28, 2015, provided that there was ZERO fine, no time and no restitution for the citizens of Maryland who has funded millions of dollars for replenishment programs for the Chesapeake Bay. Working the deal with Patterson was attorney Richard S. Phillips for Mister.

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Patterson is the elected prosecutor of Talbot County and answers to no one except the voters of Talbot County.  Mister’s charges were put on the Stet Docket, which means that another violation within one year, which took place this month, could cause Patterson to bring back the charge from the Stet Docket.

In a curious legal move, Patterson allowed a DUI charge against Mister to be merged with four other traffic violations of the same date issued by Talbot County Sheriff’s Deputy Leeson on March 8, 2013. With Easton attorney Stephanie Shipley as his lawyer, Mister entered a guilty plea to the lesser charge of speeding and was fined $17.00, with the case disposed of as Guilty Before Judgment. 

All four watermen were issued citations after an analysis of the data confirmed both vessels were in the sanctuary. They are scheduled to appear in Dorchester District Court on April 20. Both parties were charged with harvesting more than 200 feet inside a sanctuary, which carries a maximum fine of $3,000.


The following is contact information for email addresses for States Attorneys of the counties that surround the Chesapeake Bay and are often presented with citations and violations to prosecute for Maryland’s Outlaw watermen. They are all elected officials and have complete and total control as to whether or not to prosecute Pirate Poachers of the Chesapeake or to dump the charges.  Be sure to contact any of these officials with your views on the matter.


SCOTT D. SHELLENBERGER, Baltimore County State’s Attorney (Democrat)

Email: statesattorney@baltimorecountymd.gov

State’s Attorney, Baltimore County, since January 2, 2007.

Prosecutor, Office of State’s Attorney, Baltimore County, 1982-93 (former chief, child abuse/sexual assault division).

EDWARD DORSEY ELLIS ROLLINS III, Cecil State’s Attorney (Republican)

e-mail: cflaugher@ccgov.org

State’s Attorney, Cecil County, since January 3, 2011.

MATTHEW A. MACIARELLO, Wicomico County State’s Attorney (Republican),
e-mail: mmaciarello@wicomicocounty.org

State’s Attorney, Wicomico County, since January 3, 2011. Deputy State’s Attorney, Wicomico County, November 8, 2010, to January 3, 2011.

Scott Patterson, Talbot County States Attorney (Democrat): State’s Attorney, Talbot County, 1983-86, and since 1989. Assistant State’s Attorney, Montgomery County, 1972-75. Special Assistant to Attorney General, 1975. Assistant State’s Attorney, Anne Arundel County.

LANCE G. RICHARDSON, Queen Anne’s County State’s Attorney (Republican)

e-mail: lrichardson@qac.org

State’s Attorney, Queen Anne’s County, since January 5, 2009. Assistant Public Defender, Queen Anne’s County, 1996-2003. Deputy State’s Attorney, Queen Anne’s County

HARRIS P. MURPHY, Kent County State’s Attorney (Republican)

e-mail: hmurphy@kentgov.org, State’s Attorney, Kent County, since January 5, 2015.

Daniel Powell, Somerset County States Attorney (Republican)

e-mail: dpowell@co.somerset.md.us

State’s Attorney, Somerset County, since January 3, 2011.  Former Assistant State’s Attorney, Baltimore County. Former Assistant State’s Attorney, Dorchester County. Former Assistant State’s Attorney, Somerset County. County Administrator, Somerset County, 2007-09.

JONATHAN G. NEWELL, Caroline County State’s Attorney (Republican)

e-mail: jnewell@carolinesao.org

State’s Attorney, Caroline County, since 2003.

Assistant Public Defender, Caroline County, 1999-2001. Deputy State’s Attorney, Kent County

BEAU H. OGLESBY, Worcester County State’s Attorney (Republican)

e-mail: boglesby@co.worcester.md.us

State’s Attorney, Worcester County, since January 3, 2011.

Assistant State’s Attorney, Wicomico County, 1997-2007. Deputy State’s Attorney, Caroline County, 2009-10.

WILLIAM H. JONES Dorchester County States Attorney, (Democrat)

e-mail: wjones@docogonet.com

State’s Attorney, Dorchester County, since June 19, 2009. Assistant State’s Attorney, 2002-04. Senior Assistant State’s Attorney, 2004-07. Interim State’s Attorney, April 11, 2007, to June 19, 2009.

WES ADAMS, Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney (Republican)

e-mail: aacsao@aacounty.org

State’s Attorney, Anne Arundel County, since January 5, 2015.  Assistant State’s Attorney, Prince George’s County, 1998-2000. Assistant State’s Attorney, Baltimore City, 2000-08. Chief, Homicide Division, State’s Attorney’s Office, Prince George’s County, 2008-15 (assistant chief, 2008). Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, 2006-07.

ANTHONY B. (TONY) COVINGTON, State’s Attorney (Democrat)

e-mail: covingtt@charlescounty.org

State’s Attorney, Charles County, since January 3, 2011. Deputy State’s Attorney, Charles County, 2008-.  Assistant State’s Attorney, Prince George’s County, 1991-93. Assistant State’s Attorney, Charles County, 1993-97.

LAURA L. MARTIN, Calvert County State’s Attorney (Republican)

e-mail: martinll@co.cal.md.us

State’s Attorney, Calvert County, since January 2007.  Assistant State’s Attorney, Prince George’s County, 1989-98 (assistant chief, homicide division, 1994-98). Deputy State’s Attorney, Calvert County, September 1998 to December 2005.

RICHARD D. FRITZ, St. Mary’s County State’s Attorney (Republican)

e-mail: richard.fritz@co.saint-marys.md.us

State’s Attorney, St. Mary’s County, since December 1998. Former Assistant State’s Attorney and Deputy State’s Attorney, St. Mary’s County.

JOSEPH I. CASSILLY, Harford County State’s Attorney (Republican)

e-mail: statty@harfordcountymd.gov

State’s Attorney, Harford County, since January 1983. Assistant State’s Attorney, Harford County, 1977-82


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