Up to 6 Months in Jail for Collecting Brine Shrimp Eggs without a Permit

According to Utah Code 23-20-3, without a permit, tag, or other type of registration, a person may face up to 6 months in jail and an $800 fine if they” commercially harvest protected wildlife, including brine shrimp and brine shrimp eggs.”

Seafood harvesting in Utah?

Brine Shrimp Eggs

Photo by: Saul Dolgin

Collecting seafood may be something that is typically conducted along coastal states; however the Great Salt Lake has its own salt water ecosystem that is home to millions of pounds of brine shrimp. According to the Great Salt Lake Ecosystem Program “Brine shrimp [commonly known as the Sea Monkeys] are crustaceans that inhabit salty waters around the world, both inland and on the coast. ( . . . ) Although small, they serve as an essential food source for millions of birds that breed or stopover at the Great Salt Lake during migration [;] and, in recent years, these shrimp support a multi-million dollar commercial harvest.”

Collecting brine shrimp eggs

The brine shrimp that inhabit the Great Salt Lake were discovered in the early 1950’s and used as food for larger fish. After a few years of harvesting the adult brine shrimp, harvesters noted the adults were dying off quickly in the fall but leaving behind cysts of brine shrimp eggs that were extremely durable. Harvesters quickly ceased collecting the adult shrimp, only to collect the brine shrimp eggs during the annual winter harvests and clean and ship them off around the world. The harvest for brine shrimp eggs usually lasts between October and January.

Protecting a resource

Photo by:
Liji Jinaraj

Once world was spread of the brine shrimp eggs in the Great Salt Lake, something had to be done to protect this saltwater resource. Each year, there are less than 80 permits issued to companies that harvest brine shrimp eggs. Along with the permit is the agreement that those companies will pay the state royalties in what the Brine Shrimp Royalty Act (59-23-3) defines as “3.75 cents multiplied by the total number of pounds of unprocessed brine shrimp eggs that the person harvests within the state during the tax year.”

Trouble ahead for egg collectors

As the shores of the Great Salt Lake continue to recede, the number of permits may decrease while penalties may rise for those who collect brine shrimp eggs without a permit. As it stands now, collecting brine shrimp eggs commercially can result in a class B misdemeanor if done without a permit. The Utah Department of Natural Resources R657-52-3 adds “A person [not with a company] may not harvest, possess, or transport brine shrimp or brine shrimp eggs without first obtaining a certificate of registration” or they may face a class C misdemeanor. For more information regarding fishing,hunting, or wildlife laws in general, contact the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. For assistance with legal charges, speak with an attorney immediately.

Felony Child Endangerment for Giving Teen Marijuana at Home

Two Utah parents have been arrested for felony child endangerment charges after they gave their teen marijuana to smoke at home.

Questionable reward system

Felony Child Endangerment

Photo by: Torben Hansen

After an lengthy investigation followed by a search of their home, 37 year old Edwin Steward and his wife 37 year old Valerie Steward of Spanish Fork, Utah were charged with felony child endangerment as well as contributing to the delinquency of a minor and drug possession. The Steward admitted to authorities that they gave their 14 year old teenage son marijuana as a reward if he did well in school. They couple also explained that they believed the marijuana helped their son with his studies and to help with medical issues.

Felony child endangerment

The parents of the 14 year old face misdemeanor charges as well as third-degree felony child endangerment. Utah Code 76-5-112.5 states “a person is guilty of a [third degree felony child endangerment] if the person knowingly or intentionally causes or permits a child or a vulnerable adult to be exposed to, inhale, ingest, or have contact with a controlled substance, chemical substance, or drug paraphernalia”.

State law applies at home too

Parents often feel that if their teens want to do drugs, they will do it regardless of whether or not they are permitted to do so. Instead of having their son or daughter use drugs at a friend’s house or someone where no adults are present to supervise the drug use, many parents will have their teens use the drugs in the comfort of their own home. Although their intentions of keeping their teen safe by keeping them close may be done out of love and concern for their child, it is illegal and not seen as a choice made by responsible parents. For legal counsel regarding felony child endangerment or other charges that may be encountered by Utah parents, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Murder and Desecration of a Dead Human Body

A Utah man was arrested over the weekend on suspicion of murder and also for desecration of a dead human body.

Beaten to death

Desecration of a Dead Human Body

Photo by: r. nial bradshaw

34 year old Kammy Edmunds, mother of two, was found battered and deceased in the bathroom of her Mt. Pleasant home Saturday morning and her fiancée has been arrested in connection with her death. Initially, 35 year old Anthony Jeffery Christensen told police Edmunds had supposedly died as a result of injuries sustained in a car crash but after further investigation, police determined she had been beaten to death. Christensen was booked as the sole suspect in the case.

“The car accident”

The fabricated story of the vehicle crash allegedly came about from Christensen attempting to blame Edmunds fatal injuries on a car crash that happened sometime in the late evening or early morning hours after he passed out drunk. In support of his story, Christensen’s late fiancée’s vehicle was found at the bottom of an embankment with her blood on the interior of the vehicle. Although the tale could have made sense to an untrained eye, investigators as well as a medical examiner concluded that the drive off the embankment would not have killed Edmunds. Additionally, her injuries consisted of multiple blows to the head which was not consistent with a car crash. Lastly, there was evidence that Edmunds body had been moved through the house post-mortem; all signs pointing to her fiancée as a her murderer.

Desecration of a dead human body

Photo by: dave Nakayama

Photo by: Dave Nakayama

Christensen’s efforts to cover up the real story of what happened to Kammy Edmunds didn’t pan out, and he was booked into Sanpete County jail on murder charges. Had he not gone through the trouble of producing a vehicle crash story and rearranging the murder scene, his charges would have stopped there. Since he dragged the body through the house and attempted to make it look like an accident, he is also facing charges for obstruction of justice and desecration of a dead human body. Utah Code 76-9-704 states “A person is guilty of abuse or desecration of a dead human body if the person intentionally and unlawfully:

(a) fails to report the finding of a dead human body to a local law enforcement agency;

(b) disturbs, moves, removes, conceals, or destroys a dead human body or any part of it;

(c) disinters a buried or otherwise interred dead human body, without authority of a court order;

(d) dismembers a dead human body to any extent, or damages or detaches any part or portion of a dead human body; ( . . . )

Failure to report finding a body is a class B misdemeanor, while all other types of desecration of a dead human body are punishable as a third degree felony.

Covering his tracks

Desecration of a dead human body can be seen as either a complete lack of respect for the dead or in this case, perhaps a panicked attempt to hide a grievous mistake. Christensen does not have a history that paints him out as one who would enjoy maliciously desecrating a body. He does have a history of acting out in anger though. According to legal information from two other states, Christensen had a history of domestic violence and had obviously not received enough help in controlling his angry outbursts of violence, even after multiple charges of domestic battery over several years.

Get help now

Photo by: Saurabh Vyas

Photo by: Saurabh Vyas

Utah has many programs and classes available to help those who struggle with anger and violence; In fact, these programs are often court ordered when charges of domestic violence are present. It is unclear whether or not Christensen had attended any classes or programs in his past, whether voluntarily or not. Now hopefully he can get the help he needs to control his anger by attending different behavioral classes during his time in prison. His life and the life of Kammy Edmunds and her family are forever changed and classes at this point will do little to help except to give Christensen understanding in his actions. For those who are facing charges of domestic violence, contact a criminal defense attorney and be sure to inquire about anger management classes. Anyone looking for help in controlling anger before it amounts to criminal charges such as murder or desecration of a dead human body, contact your local health department.