Fresno County Deputy District Attorney Adam Kook has been named the 2019 Wildlife Prosecutor of the Year by the California Fish and Game Commission, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced.
The California Fish and Game Commission recognizes a Wildlife Prosecutor each year. This award honors a courtroom champion of California’s fish, wildlife and natural resources, a person who tirelessly prosecutes fish, wildlife, natural resource and environmental crimes in California courts.
“Today it is my privilege to honor a wildlife crimes prosecutor who goes above and beyond the call of duty, case after case, and is one of our best partners in fighting poaching and pollution crimes,” said Eric Sklar, president of the Commission. “I would like to thank Fresno Deputy District Attorney Adam Kook for his tireless work in protecting our state’s fish and wildlife through various criminal justice channels including prosecution, education and legislation.”
“CDFW’s Law Enforcement Division is grateful for Deputy District Attorney Kook’s service, exceptional effort and leadership on poaching and environmental crime prosecutions,” said David Bess, CDFW Deputy Director and Chief of the Law Enforcement Division. “His insistence on elevating these crimes to a higher level of importance, and his unwavering advocacy for our natural resources, are key to establishing a precedent that serious poaching offenses will not be tolerated.”
Kook is passionate about seeking justice for the many environmental cases he handles each year in Fresno County. He works collaboratively with local wildlife officers and actively seeks their input when preparing his cases for court. Some examples of cases routinely handled by Kook include wildlife trafficking violations, hunter casualty investigations, restricted species violations, unlawful streambed alterations, pollution violations, illegal poaching of big game, weapons violations associated with the illegal taking of wildlife, wildlife decoy crimes, and extreme over limit violations involving salmon and other sport fish.
During 2019, Kook secured numerous hunting and fishing license revocations on serious poachers ranging from six months to lifetime bans. The cases involved a variety of wildlife species including deer, bear, pig and non-game mammals such as bobcat. Kook understands taking away a lawbreaker’s privilege to hunt and fish sends a message to the community and makes it much easier for wildlife officers to investigate future crimes associated with those individuals.
During this last year, Kook has also put an emphasis on tougher sentences for repeat offenders. He has created a sentencing structure that holds defendants accountable by having them enter pleas, pay fines to directly benefit fish and wildlife and perform community service when appropriate.
As part of the selection committee, CDFW is a key partner in recognizing the annual Prosecutor of the Year. Wildlife officers within CDFW’s Law Enforcement Division also provide nominations to the committee for consideration in the selection process.