Astoria Municipal Judge Kristopher Kaino goes on trial himself Thursday. The charge: a $75 ticket for a fishing violation.
Kaino is fighting what he calls "vindictive prosecution" by Oregon State Police troopers, who claim Kaino yelled profanities at them when they cited him for the violation almost a year ago on the Columbia River.
The trial, pushed back several times by motions and delays, is scheduled to begin in Clatsop County Circuit Court before Judge Phil Nelson. Eleven witnesses are expected.
During an angry confrontation with police, Kaino was cited for continuing to angle after retaining a daily limit of salmon while on an outing April 13, 2001. Kaino, his young son and another man, Stephen Walker Gray of Seaview, Wash., were fishing from a boat off the Washington shore near Altoona when he was ticketed.
Two undercover OSP personnel were working the sport salmon fishery when they reported seeing Kaino continue fishing after landing two salmon. OSP troopers Andrew Vanderwerf, Kregg Coggins and Trygve Klepp made contact with Kaino to ask him about the fish.
According to the Vanderwerf's incident report, Kaino stated he only had two fish on board his boat, one caught by him and the other by his son. When asked by Coggins if he could search the boat Kaino told the trooper "I don't think you need to look, unless you have probable cause."
One of the undercover personnel, Sgt. Brent Seaholm, reported that he had not seen the boy fishing. When this was related to Kaino, Vanderwerf said, he became belligerent and responded with "whoever told you that is a f------ liar," and "this is all bull----, I'm an attorney, I'm even a part-time judge, and this is chicken----."
When Seaholm came on board Kaino's boat, Kaino made an obscene gesture at him and said "you are full of s---, f--- you, get the f--- out of here," according to the report of fellow undercover trooper Greg Love.
The troopers found two salmon on the boat, but did not search the boat for other fish, Vanderwerf said, because of Kaino's behavior, the river conditions and the fact that suspected violators on other boats had yet to be contacted.
Kaino and his son each had one salmon tagged on their tags. Gray, who had no fish tagged, but who the undercover trooper said had landed and kept a fish, was cited for borrowing a salmon tag.
After the police left Kaino's boat, they were waved over by four people in another boat who had been fishing nearby, according to Vanderwerf. The four, all Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists, said they saw five fish landed on Kaino's boat, two of which were released, and that the boy on board had not touched a fishing pole all day.
Love also reported that while he later attempted to interview another suspected violator at the East End Mooring Basin in Astoria, Kaino intervened and told the person "you don't have to talk to him."
Kaino had no comment on the case Tuesday.
In a motion to dismiss the case filed in October, Kaino claimed he was the victim of "vindictive prosecution" because he did not agree to a search of his boat and "voiced his opinion about the actions and statements of the undercover fish and game official." In an accompanying motion to suppress, he also claimed that the boat was in Washington waters, out of the jurisdiction of OSP, and that the police lacked reasonable suspicion to contact him.
The Fish and Wildlife Department allows boats, especially charter and guide services, to "party fish" on the river, Kaino said in the motion. And the statute under which he was cited does not prohibit fishing for species other than salmon, he argued.
Kaino also sent subpoenas to two of the troopers requesting that they produce all the citations written for continuing to fish and borrowing tags violations over the previous five years. Those subpoenas were rejected by the court on the request of the state attorney general's office, which argued the tickets had no bearing on the case and that OSP did not have records of them on computer.