Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

United States v. Mar-Tee Contractors, Inc.

Citation: 6 ELR 20417
No. No. 75-156, 8 ERC 1925/(D.N.J., 01/28/1976)

The double jeopardy clause does not bar criminal prosecution under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1972 (FWPCA) of a defendant who was earlier assessed a civil penalty under the FWPCA for an oil spill. It is within Congress' power to impose both civil and criminal sanctions for the same act or omission. Double jeopardy applies only if the civil action is punitive, rather than remedial, and both actions are brought for the same offense. Section 1321(b)(6) of the FWPCA is rationally designed to compensate the government for oil-caused harm to the environment. Moreover, the Treasury Secretary has discretion to mitigate the penalty's impact on the violator. Furthermore, the FWPCA's criminal and civil penalties apply to different conduct. The former punishes failure to notify the appropriate agency of an oil spill, the latter holds a discharger strictly liable for the spill. Defendant's motion to dismiss the information is denied.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Jonathan L. Goldstein, U.S. Attorney
A. Patrick Nucciarone, Asst. U.S. Attorney
Federal Building
970 Broad Street
Newark NJ 07102
(201) 645-3756

Counsel for Defendant
Richard J. Murray
Schwartz, Steinberg & Tobia
141 S. Harrison Street
East Orange NJ 07018
(201) 678-0610