3 sep. 2008

The Fishing Foul-up That Was No Felony


Besieged with questions about Sarah Palin's background, John McCain's campaign wants to make one thing emphatically clear: She's not a felon.

In 1993, Palin pleaded no contest to a charge of failing to register as a set gilnet permit holder. Such a license must be obtained in Alaska for commercial fishermen to use the underwater netting frequently designed to catch salmon.
At the time, Palin said she simply forgot to change the nature of her registration from a member of a fishing crew to an actual permit holder.
But the offense was inadvertently entered into an Alaskan district court as a felony.
The issue first arose in 2002 during Palin's gubernatorial race when some opponents seized on the charge. That year, Palin obtained an official letter from the Clerk of the court in Alaska's Third Judicial District.
"I am writing to advise you the data has been corrected in court records and on the state of Alaska's website to reflect your conviction as a violation," Cindy Roque wrote in a letter McCain's campaign shared with Politico.
According to court documents also shared, Palin, whose husband works seasonally as a commercial fisherman, was fined $1,000 and placed on probation for a year pending no further violations of fishing regulations.