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Date of Issue: December 31, 2008

Man pleads no contest to gill net charges

A Bradenton man arrested in June for using a gill net in state waters pleaded no contest to the charges in December.

Daniel P. Gilliland, 28, was scheduled to go to trial in March on charges of using a gill net in state waters, failing to properly transit a gill net, possession of an unmarked gill net and no saltwater products license. Use of a gill net in state waters, illegal since 1995, is a third-degree felony. The other charges are classified as second-degree misdemeanors.

Gilliland’s plea of no contest in the case was filed at the Manatee County Judicial Center in Bradenton, where he was sentenced to probation for one year, with credit for the time he spent in the Manatee County jail.

Gilliland also was ordered to do 25 hours of public service and lost his fishing license for 90 days, according to court documents.

Gilliland had initially pleaded not guilty to the charges.

In November, he wrote the court stating an interest in firing his attorney, Thomas Olstrander.

“I have been trying to get hold of my laywer to see if I could get my court date sooner, but he will not respond,” Gilliland wrote. “I have wrote him many and many letters. I have had my family call and call.”

Gilliland said that he was scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 1 “on some simple fishing charges” and expected to “get time served” but Olstrander did not appear.

On Nov. 21, Gilliland’s request for a reduction in his bond was denied.

On Dec. 3, Gilliland filed a demand for a speedy trial, which was denied on Dec. 8.

About a week later, Gilliland pleaded no contest to the charges.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission law enforcement officers arrested Gilliland in the water near Coquina Beach. Officers, according to court documents, pulled four sharks, 10 pompano, two sheepshead, two mangrove snapper, one spotted sea trout, two whiting and 58 lady fish from the net.

FWC arrested a second man, Ron Baker, along with Gilliland.