Besieged Eastern Shore fisherman demands formal hearing before state fisheries agency


[Ed Bender, an Eastern Shore fisherman who has had to become his own lawyer to deal with years of running battles with the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, @ 72 years of age remains the shore's most aggressive civic activist in trying to right the wrongs he feels government is committing against him.  He acts as his own lawyer because he is short on case, but long on beliefs of what constitutes individual rights and abusive enforcement of laws and regulations. Below is his most recent letter to the VMRC commissioner].

Commissioner, William A. Pruitt                                    
2600 Washington Avenue                                       
3rd Floor                                                   
Newport News,VA 23607

Re: Edward H. Bender and the Formal Hearing                   
before the Commission on September 24,2002

Dear Commissioner, Pruitt:

    As you recall I made a motion for reconsideration of the
Commissions decision some time back and you refused. I have since
demanded the following formal hearing:
    "I demand a formal hearing before the Commission pursuant to
28.2-216 for reason of the inaction and unlawful refusal of the
Commissioner to place my lawful request and motion pursuant to
28.2- 607 before the Commission.
    I would request that a formal hearing on this matter be held
at the next scheduled meeting of the Commission on November 26,
2002. I would also request that I be provided with copies of all
documents used by Captain Widgeon in support of his sworn
testimony in the formal hearing for David Smith."
    I have further stated by letter to you that the sworn
testimony of Captain widgeon is suspect of perjury. I bring your
attention to the following provisions of VA Code
    18.2-434. "What deemed perjury; punishment and penalty. If any person
to whom an
oath is lawfully administered on any occasion willfully swear falsely on such
occasion
touching any material matter or thing, ...  he shall be guilty of perjury,
punishable as a Class
5 felony. Upon the conviction of any person for perjury, such person thereby
shall be
adjudged forever incapable of holding any office of honor, profit or trust
under the
Constitution of Virginia, or of serving as a juror."
    In that a crime may have been committed in obtaining the
decision of the Commission on September 24, 2002. I demand a
formal hearing before the Commission at this upcoming January
28,2003 meeting. I further request that you issue a subpoena
duces tecum to your law enforcement office to produce the
documents used by Captain Widgeon in support of his sworn
testimony before the Commission on September 24, 2002.
    It further appears that a written transcript of the September
24, 2002 has been prepared for the use of your office and the
Assistant Attorney General, I request a copy of that transcript
at your earliest convince. I will be glad to reimburse the
Commission for any cost that incurs from copying the same.
    I wish to remind you that I have made every effort to have
this incident resolved at the administrative level before the
Commission. This incident should have been resolved and can be
resolved in the upcoming administrative hearing. That is if you
and Mr. Josephson do your duty in upholding Virginia law. I
further wish to remind you that this matter involves a property
right to public planting ground that is held in common by the
citizens of this Commonwealth. In that citizens have been denied
mandatory provisions of law in the procurement procedures in the
property right to public bottom. The denial also becomes the
denial of the Constitutional right to "due process of law" and
"equal protection under the law" both issues can be tried in
federal court under a civil rights suit. If you don't think that
this can be done, I suggest that you read "ex parte Young" or
seek outside counsel.
    I thank you for your kind consideration to this demand and my
request for subpoena duces tecum.
Sincerely
Edward H. Bender
PO box 2050
Cheriton,VA 23316

cc:             
Honorable Governor for the Commonwealth of VA                
Mark R. Warner
Secretary of Natural Resources                                  
W. Tayloe Murphy, Jr.

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