environmental crimes

More on BP’s guilty plea: it’s not just about the money

Cross-posted on CPRBlog. As already noted by Rick and Megan, last week BP pleaded guilty to 14 criminal counts arising from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. Megan provided a good basic overview of the terms of the agreement. Here is the plea agreement itself. The amount of money BP has …


Supreme Court Declares Juries Responsible for Assessing Criminal Fines in Environmental Enforcement Cases

The Supreme Court on Thursday handed down its third and final environmental law decision of its current Term. (The case, Southern Union v. United States, is also significant for being the first criminal environmental enforcement case in the Court’s history)  In a 6-3 decision, the justices ruled that criminal penalties sought by federal prosecutors in …


Is BP a Criminal?

Can a corporation, an artificial legal entity, be a criminal? In an op ed. in this morning’s NY Times, David Uhlmann argues that BP deserves criminal sanctions: Prosecutors must examine all witness statements, internal documents and any physical evidence that remains after the explosion. But if the news articles are accurate, the Justice Department should …


Has the Court Made it Harder to Prove Environmental Crimes?

Today’s Supreme Court decision relating to identity theft, Flores-Figueroa v. United States, may indirectly make it more difficult to prosecute environmental crimes.  The decision suggests that the prosecutor might have to prove additional facts about the defendant’s state of mind in an environmental case, such as awareness that a given chemical is on a prohibited …