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Ticketed Civilian Deer Rescuers Defend Case In Court

BALTIMORE (WJZ)--When a deer got stuck on the frozen Patapsco River, animal lovers worked together to rescue the animal. It ended successfully, but two of the rescuers got citations.

Mike Schuh was in court as they tried to defend themselves.

The deer was stuck 50 feet from the shore in the Patapsco. With firefighters and the DNR watching, a group of civilians rescued the animal after two men broke a pathway through the ice. For their trouble, the two were given citations for not having life vests in the rafts.

The DNR superintendent said they are responsible for public safety.

"Our officers are trained to handle situations like this," said George Johnson, DNR superintendent. "Unfortunately, the citizenry out there are not."

The civilians came to fight the $90 citation. Right away, things went wrong for Khaalil Abusakran. His charge was dismissed, but the issuing officer was instructed to issue him a new ticket.

"I guess he said a technicality; the ticket wasn't properly filled out," Abusakran said.

The other rescuer brought pictures of where the life vest was stored on the raft  and he even had a Baltimore County officer subpoenaed to provide testimony backing up their claims of innocence. But his case fell apart when he decided to act as his own attorney.

In court, Jim Hart chose not to take the stand and also chose to represent himself. Because of his lack of legal experience, though, he brought two witnesses they weren't able to tell anything to the court that would get Hart off the hook.

"I didn't see no need because it was only $90," Hart said. "I believe it should have been squashed."

The new citation may have given the other man a chance, as he too showed up to court without an attorney.

"I'm definitely going to have an attorney with me, yes," Abusakran said.

That second trial will be in early May.

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