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Attorney convicted of spotlighting deer


A Bel Air attorney was convicted in District Court Wednesday of spotlighting deer in a field near his Havre de Grace home.

District Judge Alexander Wright Jr. imposed a $200 fine on Stuart L. Alison of the 4000 block of Wilkinson Road.

The visiting judge, who had been requested from Baltimore County to hear two cases involving Mr. Alison, also suspended the defendant's hunting license for one year and ordered the state to confiscate his Remington 12-gauge shotgun and 12-volt spotlight.

Mr. Alison's attorney, Lawrence P. Pinno, contended that the state law banning use of spotlights to light a field had to be taken in the context of hunting.

He argued that his client was not hunting, especially a half-mile from his own house and a quarter-mile from the home of Clark Old, a state park ranger who made the arrest and issued the citations.

Judge Wright agreed with prosecutor Mimi Cooper that the law was clear: A person may not shine a light onto a field while in possession of a weapon that could be used to kill deer.

Mr. Alison said he had paid a $120 fine for transporting a loaded weapon in his vehicle before Wednesday's trial. He had the weapon with him the night he was charged, authorities said.

In the second case against Mr. Alison, he was convicted of harassing James Close, a Bel Air attorney.

Judge Wright delayed sentencing pending a presentencing investigation. Mr. Alison could receive a maximum sentence of 30 days in jail and a $500 fine in that case.

Mr. Alison said he planned to appeal the verdicts in both cases.

In other court cases last week:

* A 31-year-old Baltimore man who was arrested on charges of selling cocaine in Aberdeen eight days after completing correctional boot camp pleaded guilty and was sentenced Tuesday in Harford Circuit Court to 10 years in state prison.

James Preston Coker had been sentenced to 2 1/2 years in state prison on a February 1994 conviction on cocaine charges.

But, Assistant State's Attorney Hans Miller said, Circuit Judge Stephen M. Waldron made Coker eligible for the state's Herman L. Toulson boot camp in Jessup instead of sending him to prison.

Coker completed boot camp Aug. 18 and was arrested Aug. 26 in the Washington Park area of Aberdeen on charges of dealing cocaine, Mr. Miller said.

The August arrest violated Coker's parole under the sentence from Judge Waldron.

Judge Waldron has sentenced Coker to one year in state prison for the parole violation. That sentence and the 10-year sentence imposed Tuesday by Judge William O. Carr will run consecutively.

* Circuit Judge Cypert O. Whitfill denied a motion Friday to reduce a three-year prison sentence given Lawrence Cherneski, 42, of the 3900 block of Madonna Road in Jarrettsville for a Nov. 28 drunken driving conviction.

Cherneski was arrested Oct. 27, 1992, after an off-duty Baltimore City police officer found him slumped over the steering wheel of his car in the middle of the intersection of U.S. 1 and Route 543 near Hickory, prosecutor Mark Nelson said.

A year of the defendant's prison sentence was suspended. He has served approximately 3 1/2 months of the remaining 24 months.

Mr. Nelson reminded Judge Whitfill that since 1985, the defendant has been convicted five times of alcohol-related driving offenses.

Upon his release, Cherneski must serve five years of supervised probation and perform 120 hours of community service, Mr.

Nelson said.

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