Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma wants Gov. Mike Pence to pardon couple in deer rescue case

Pence has asked for briefing

INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma wants the governor to pardon a couple who face criminal charges after nursing an injured baby deer back to health.

Bosma told reporters Thursday that Gov. Mike Pence should intervene in the case of Connersville police officer Jeff Counceller and his wife, Jennifer, who were charged this month with illegal possession of a white-tailed deer, a misdemeanor that carries up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

"Laws are imperfect and people are imperfect, so occasionally, a commutation of sentence or a pardon might be in order," Bosma said. "It seems to me that (the decision to prosecute) may not be the right direction."

The couple found the injured deer in 2010 and named her Dani. The state Department of Natural Resources told the Councellers to return the ailing deer to the wild, but they took it home and nursed it back to health.

"No matter what the law is, we did what was right for the animal," Jennifer Counceller said.

Pence said Wednesday that he wanted a briefing on the case.

"It appears that our conservation officers acted appropriately and in a manner consistent with Indiana law, but we're looking into it," Pence said Wednesday.

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