Poachers beware, there is a new force in the courts: An anti-poaching special prosecutor. Jay D. Hall, hired last month as a new Assistant Attorney General with the Oregon Department of Justice, is serious about prosecuting fish and wildlife crimes.
The new prosecutor role is the final strategy of a three-prong approach legislators mapped out in 2019 to reduce poaching crimes across the state. Increasing detection of poaching through a public awareness campaign and increasing enforcement of wildlife laws by hiring additional OSP Fish and Wildlife Troopers were the first two strategies.
The Anti-poaching prosecutor will work with OSP and ODFW to locate, investigate and prosecute poachers. For his part, Hall will support investigations and prosecutions by providing law enforcement with training and access to resources that will build stronger court cases. He will advise law enforcement agencies in evidence collection, case process and penalty options and guide and assist county prosecutors in the nuances of trying fish and wildlife criminal cases. Representative Ken Helm, Co-Chair of the Legislature’s Wildlife Caucus, is pleased the position has been filled.
“This is a bipartisan effort that is important to all Oregonians,” Helm said, “Now that all three components of the legislative strategy are in place, our ability to tackle poaching across the state is greatly enhanced.”
Hall hails from Eugene, where he prosecuted major crimes for 12 years through the Lane County District Attorney’s office. Hall is an expert on using state Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) statutes to hold poaching rings accountable. In 2010, he received the OSP Prosecutor of the Year award for using those statutes to prosecute an organized poaching ring that took more than 300 deer and elk in Oregon.
As a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps, Hall served in FAST (Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team) Company. Following deployment on various missions in the Middle East, his unit earned the Navy Unit Commendation and the Joint Meritorious Unit Award for their efforts in thwarting terrorist activity in theater. His platoon commander nominated him for the Bronze Star. Hall then instructed officers in advanced combat training in Quantico, VA.
Near the end of his military service, Hall accepted an offer from Congressman C.W. Bill Young to be a member of his traveling security detail and to handle Veteran and constituent legislative issues. During the two years he served on Congressman Young’s staff, Hall discovered his passion for the law and following his military obligations, returned to Oregon to earn his law degree.
Hall initially worked as a Reserve Deputy Sheriff in Deschutes County before going to Eugene where he was an Adjunct Professor at the University of Oregon. He graduated Magna Cum Laude, went on to earn his Juris Doctorate degree from the U of O School of Law, and joined the Lane County District Attorney’s prosecution team.
Hall’s experience will serve him well as Oregon grapples with poaching problems that span the state, according to OSP F&W Captain, Casey Thomas.
“It is great to see the final piece of anti-poaching legislation in place,” Captain Thomas said, “The Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division has already collaborated with Mr. Hall on several important topics. Mr. Hall brings an impressive resume to this position, including being a former recipient of the Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division Prosecutor of the Year award. He will be working with our agency, ODFW and prosecutors around the state to provide training and resources that will help combat poaching in Oregon.”
Stop Poaching campaign coordinator Yvonne Shaw agrees.
“Fulfilling this role increases our chances of holding poachers accountable,” she said. “Prosecuting crimes against fish, wildlife and their habitats preserves natural resources that belong to all Oregonians.”
The Stop Poaching Campaign educates the public on how to recognize and report poaching. This campaign is a collaboration among hunters, conservationists, land owners and recreationists. Our goal is to increase reporting of wildlife crimes through the TIP Line, increase detection by increasing the number of OSP Fish and Wildlife Troopers and increase prosecution through the DOJ. This campaign helps to protect and enhance Oregon’s fish and wildlife and their habitat for the enjoyment of present and future generations.
Source: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife