Assistant State Attorney Tim Register on dismissed misdemeanor charges against charter boat captain David Erdman after Erdman’s deckhand took responsibility for the illegal fish.
Officers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission stopped Erdman’s boat July 11 in St. Andrews Bay and asked to see his charter license. Erdman’s license had expired, but he said the people on board were there by his invitation and not paying customers.
Erdman and deckhand Kenneth Samuel Guty were both cited for illegal fish found on the boat. If convicted, Erdman could have lost his charter license.
Erdman is a former FWC officer who is well-versed on the fishing laws as well as the prosecution issues presented when a co-defendant is also charged and takes responsibility for
the criminal act.
Under Florida law, the vessel captain can lawfully be charged with possession of undersized fish for fish that are caught by anyone onboard the vessel. The state must prove at trial that the vessel captain had knowledge that the illegal fish were onboard the vessel.
But Guty, 19, of 2861 Tupelo Dr., pleaded no contest recently to two counts of possessing undersized grouper, possession of undersized snapper and being over the snapper bag limit. He was ordered to pay $350 in fines and court costs before Christmas, or spend 30
days in jail.
Guty made it known that he took responsibility for the illegal fish and would testify to that if called to trial against Erdman.
Considering Guty’s potential testimony, Register found that he could not prove Erdman’s charges beyond a reasonable doubt and filed a no information Monday dismissing the charges.