Sunday, January 28, 2007

Environmental Crime Sentencing

The sentences for two individuals who plead guilty to a 3 count indictment that related to polluting navigable waters were: 1) 5 months in prison and 2 months supervised release and 2) 3 years probation.  Both individuals had restrictions placed upon them to preclude them from polluting U.S. waters. According to the DOJ press release,

"A joint factual statement filed in federal district court in New Jersey stated that on the night of Jan. 3, 2006, U.S. Coast Guard inspectors boarded the Sun New and discovered that members of the engine room crew had used bypass hoses to discharge oily wastes overboard into the ocean without using the vessel’s oily water separator. Upon further investigation, inspectors discovered that the crew of the Sun New had disposed of significant amounts of oil waste into the ocean at least twice during the voyage from South Korea to New Jersey. In September a grand jury in Newark, N.J., returned a three-count indictment charging Chang-Sig O and Mun Sig Wang with conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and a violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships in connection with the use of the two bypass hoses."

It is interesting to see the sentences given with respect to an environmental offense, albeit an obstruction of justice charge in one case and a violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships in the other case. Perhaps the greatest deterrent in this sentence was their restrictions on operating ships in U.S. navigable waters. The company, Sun Ace Shipping Company, had previously plead guilty and was "fined $400,000 [and] ordered to pat $100,000 as a community service payment.  They were prohibited from "returning to the U.S. for three years for similar violations in conjunction with this case."

(esp)

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