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Former Nevada commissioner, son, fined for hunting violation

Today: July 06, 2005 at 11:39:4 PDT
ASSOCIATED PRESS

FALLON, Nev. (AP) - A former state wildlife commissioner and his adult son have been fined $2,000 each for lying to obtain a Nevada resident hunting license.

District Judge Robert Estes on Tuesday also denied requests by Bradley Quilici, 52, and his son, Dario, to withdraw the no contest pleas they entered last fall.

Bradley Quilici, who resigned from the state wildlife board as the investigation unfolded last year, said he was unaware his son was claiming residency during 2002-2004 in Utah, where he paid in-state tuition and had a Utah fishing and driver's license.

"I had no clue what this kid did in Utah or I would have kicked his butt," Bradley Quilici told the judge.

Laws in Nevada and elsewhere make it a crime to claim residency in more than one state to obtain a resident hunting or fishing license.

He also maintained that the prosecution amounted to a vendetta by the Nevada Department of Wildlife. Quilici served on the state wildlife board from 1999 until May 2004, when he resigned amid the investigation by state game wardens.

"A lot of games were played by NDOW," he said. "They just laid out this thing to hammer me.

"NDOW's not perfect. There's some good people there but they were after me and my son's taking the brunt of it," he said.

Besides the criminal fines, Estes also ratified terms of a plea agreement that imposed $4,000 in combined civil penalties and a three-year, nationwide hunting ban. The Quilicis could have been sentenced to up to a year in jail.

The no contest pleas involved a violation in 2003, when Dario Quilici, 25, obtained a coveted Nevada bull elk and an antelope tag. He was successful in both hunts, though mounts of the illegally killed animals were forfeited.

More than a dozen other criminal charges - including two felonies - that were filed in Churchill, Pershing and Lincoln counties were dropped as part of the plea negotiations.

Deputy District Attorney Brandi Jensen told the judge that the statute of limitations on the charges in Pershing and Lincoln counties had already expired. If the Quilicis were allowed to withdraw their pleas, those cases could not be refiled.

"Nevada is a state that is proud of its hunting system and it's one that should be afforded great respect," she said. "The hunters are furious that someone would work the system in this case."

Fallon attorney Jim Sloan, representing Dario Quilici, argued that his client was always a Nevada resident. He presented tax returns and other records to show Dario Quilici never changed his address from his father's house in Lovelock.

"The reasonable inference is that Dario Quilici, for all intents and purposes, was a resident of the state of Nevada," Sloan said. "There may be some violation in the state of Utah but there's no question Dario Quilici is a resident of Nevada."

The judge was unsympathetic, telling Dario Quilici that he had to pay out-of-state tuition to attend law school.

"I thought that it was unjust because Nevada didn't have a law school," Estes said. "It cost me thousands of dollars but that was the rule and I obeyed it because it was the rule.

"You think this in an injustice but justice or injustice depends on whose ox is getting gored."

Sloan also argued that there was a conflict of interest because Reno attorney Ken McKenna represented both father and son through their initial plea.

But the judge rejected that argument as well, saying both Quilicis acknowledged during the hearing last fall that the plea deal was in their best interest to avoid charges in the other counties.

Sloan said he will appeal the case to the Nevada Supreme Court.

Gov. Kenny Guinn appointed Bradley Quilici as a representative to the nine-member board that sets wildlife policy in November 1999.

Two months later it was learned that Quilici had been cited by a game warden in 1982 for trapping violations. He was found guilty of five misdemeanor violations and ordered to pay $100 apiece in fines.

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Information from: Lahontan Valley News,

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