State, Developers Settle in Hawk's Nest Case : Endangered species: David Dahl and Jeff Smith were accused of allowing a bird's nursery to be destroyed.


In a compromise agreement, the state has dropped its prosecution of two Newport Beach developers accused of allowing the destruction of a red-tailed hawk's nest in the Edwards Hill area.

The developers, David Dahl and Jeff Smith, agreed to make a $500 contribution to a special state Fish and Game Department fund.

"We agreed because it's much cheaper to make a donation than to retry a case," said John Cogorno, attorney for the two developers. The first trial of the case earlier this month resulted in a hung jury.

Cogorno stressed that in making the donation, neither developer is admitting any wrongdoing. Both are not guilty of the accusation that they allowed the nest of an endangered species to be destroyed, Cogorno said.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Scott Scoville said Friday that the compromise was reached Thursday in Municipal Court in Westminster.

"I suggested that the donation be made to the Cal-Tip Fund of the Fish and Game Department," Scoville said. "It's a fund to encourage prosecution of violators of fish and game laws. Under the circumstances, I thought it was an appropriate choice."

Dahl and Smith were accused of allowing workmen to cut down a tree limb holding an active nest of a red-tailed hawk, an endangered species. State law prohibits destruction of such nests.

The two developers denied that they had allowed the destruction of any wildlife habitat.

Cogorno, in his summation of the case to the jury, argued that the state never proved that any nest was actually destroyed.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World