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Compliance and Enforcement Annual Results FY2008:
Criminal Enforcement

FY2008 Annual Results Topics

The criminal enforcement program continued emphasizing cases with significant environmental, human health, and deterrence impact while balancing its overall case load with “core” cases across all pollution statutes. The criminal enforcement program is emphasizing five priority areas:

While the total criminal caseload will fluctuate based on specific characteristics of the cases investigated, as well as by the prosecutorial and sentencing decisions made by the Department of Justice and the federal courts, an emphasis on these priorities will yield greater environmental and public health benefits and deter illegal corporate and individual behavior.

One aspect of deterrence is a high conviction rate for defendants charged with environmental crimes, and between FY 2004-FY2008, the conviction rate for defendants in concluded charged cases is over 90 percent.

Environmental Crime Cases Opened

Three hundred and nineteen (319) new environmental crime cases were opened in FY 2008. Twenty-six percent of the new cases opened in FY 2008 (82) were in the five criminal enforcement priority areas. Thirty-four of them were newly identified National Enforcement Priority cases (including six cases with repeat civil violators). In FY 2007, 25 percent (85) of the new environmental crimes cases opened were in the five priority areas.

Fines and Restitution

Criminal defendants were assessed a total of $63.5 million in fines and restitution, virtually the same amount as last year. During FY 2008, major criminal fines and restitution were assessed against BP ($16 million), CITGO ($13 million), Rowan Companies ($7 million), Iona Management ($4.9 million) and National Navigation Company ($4.25 million). There were a total of 12 cases in which defendants paid fines of $1 million or more.

Incarceration

The total level of incarceration served by individuals in FY 2008 was 57 years, down from 64 years in FY 2007. Incarceration statistics reflect the specific profile of the cases that were concluded during the fiscal year [e.g., the total number of individual (i.e., non-corporate) defendants who were sentenced, the number of charges and the mix of felonies and misdemeanors, and the weight U.S District Court Judges gave to the U.S. federal sentencing guidelines]. The total level of incarceration in FY 2008 was affected by Supreme Court decisions which made the U.S. federal sentencing guidelines discretionary rather than mandatory for use by federal district court judges. In FY 2008, this resulted in a reduction of about 14 years of jail time that previously would have been mandatory.

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