1 Vessel Prosecutions/A U.S. Government Priority Vessel enforcement cases are 15% to 25% of the federal environmental criminal prosecution docket
2 Vessel Criminal Enforcement Past Five Years More than 65 vessel-related convictions 2005: 16 2006: 16 2007: 10 2008: 19 2009: Not yet complete
3 Vessel Enforcement Past Five Years How many cases investigated and declined? Unknown May be as many as 60 – 100 per year
4 A Broader Enforcement Network According the U.S. Authorities Canada – strong maritime enforcement authority EU – established power to impose criminal sanctions for knowing acts of maritime pollution France – increased penalties for both knowing and accidental maritime pollution Australia – increased enforcement on intentional maritime pollution Taiwan – increased resources to detect and prosecute intentional acts of vessel pollution Interpol – continued international discussion and cooperation
5 U.S. Criminal Penalties Between 1998 and 2005 – approximately $200 million in fines Past five years – approximately $200 million more Fines per case: $1 million to over $25 million *Based on Total Fines (2005-2009) and Total Cases (2005-2009).
6 Imprisonment Over the past five years numerous defendants sentenced to terms of incarceration Sentences range from a day to almost three years
7 Imprisonment Before Trial Terms of imprisonment do not reflect time spent in detention by crew and officers away from family and work. The average detention time is believed to be150-180 days. The average costs to owners/operators ranges between $350,000 to $500,000.
8 Long Term Costs of Conviction Hundreds of vessels operating under court- supervised ECPs Government designed and monitored Third party reviews Conditions of probation that can lead to further court sanctions if requirements are not met
9 Changing Legal Standards/Expanding Legal Liability 1998 – 2008: What a difference 10 years can make
10 Changing Legal Standards/Expanding Legal Liability 1998 – U.S. v. RCCL The alleged violation is not discharging oil while at sea and failing to record the discharge at that time, it is the presentation of the materially false Oil Record Book to the United States Coast Guard while in port.
11 The RCCL Court in 1998 It is not necessary to reach the question of the obligation of RCCL to record various entries in the Oil Record Book while outside the jurisdiction of the United States and the attendant ability of the United States to enforce any omissions thereof in order to determine the obligation of RCCL not to knowingly and willfully present a false writing to the United States Coast Guard.
12 The RCCL Court in 1998 Because the gravamen of this action is not the pollution itself, or even the Oil Record Book violation occurring at that time, but the misrepresentation in port, this proceeding is not properly characterized as “in respect to a pollution incident” such that UNCLOS, a convention addressing the law of the sea and appropriate protocols thereof, is applicable to this case.
13 The Jho Trial Court in 2006 Consistent with RCCL The district court held that U.S. law could not reach the violations that occurred on the high seas, and dismissed the charges relating to the failure to maintain an oil record book while outside U.S. waters.
14 The Jho Trial Court in 2006 – Dismissed the Charges The Court is of the opinion that long-standing principles of international law require dismissal of the criminal charges alleging violation of the Coast Guard regulations. Here, the United States government is seeking to criminally prosecute a foreign flag ship for alleged violations of U.S. Coast Guard regulations that occurred aboard ship and outside U.S. waters.
15 The Jho Court – Expanding Legal Liability 2008 – U.S. v. Jho (5 th Circuit) (Reversing the trial court) Maintaining an accurate oil record book is a continuing duty. Accordingly, the chief engineer of an oil tanker violated that duty each time the ship called in a U.S. port, despite the fact that the fraudulent entries were made in the book on the high seas, outside the jurisdiction of the United States. The violations (which occurred outside of U.S. jurisdiction) were consummated by each port call, despite the fact that the oil record book was “presented” to Coast Guard officials on only two of eight port calls.
16 Eric Holder Attorney General Gary Grindler Acting Deputy Attorney General Tom Perrelli Associate Attorney General Ignacia Moreno Assistant Attorney General Environment & Natural Resources John Cruden Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stacey Mitchell Chief Environmental Crimes Section Assistant Chiefs & Trial Attorneys Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. Role in Environmental Criminal Case Development & Prosecution
17 United States Attorney’s Office Primary Authority for Criminal Case Development and Prosecution Eric Holder Attorney General United States Attorneys (93 Federal Districts) Chief, Criminal Division Assistant United States Attorneys (Trial Attorneys)
18 Critical Changes in DOJ Policy Cooperation - Previously Government may demand waiver of the attorney-client privilege as a condition of cooperation Government objects to companies providing legal counsel for individuals
19 Critical Changes in DOJ Policy December, 2006 Privileged attorney-client communication “should be sought only in rare circumstances” and requires high-level DOJ approval to do so Prosecutors may not “take into account” whether a business is providing counsel for its employees or agents under either investigation or indictment, except in “extremely rare” cases
20 How to Prevent Prosecutions Plan, Execute, Review, Revise Watch What They Do Perhaps the Single Biggest Way to Effectively Manage Risk: Promptly investigate and, where appropriate, meaningfully sanction employees who do not follow your environmental compliance policy
21 How to Respond to an Incident/Investigation Quickly Comprehensively Communicate Internally – clearly and appropriately Externally – with discipline Plan to litigate – preserve records Evaluate your options
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