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United States v. Long

ELR Citation: 41 ELR 20355
Nos. 09-1863, (6th Cir., 12/02/2011)

The Sixth Circuit upheld an individual's conviction for unlawfully discharging industrial wastewater into the Detroit sewer system. The individual, who worked at an industrial waste treatment facility, was sentenced to two 24-month prison terms, to run concurrently, for knowingly violating EPA-approved pretreatment requirements at the plant and for conspiring to violate the law in relation to the unlawful discharges. On appeal, the individual challenged the conviction on several grounds, but the court rejected his arguments. There is substantial evidence not only of the individual's active and knowing participation in the unlawful discharges of untreated (and less-than-fully treated) waste, but also of his continuing participation after he had conversations with other co-defendant employees about the unlawfulness of their conduct. Although the record is devoid of any formal agreement to discharge waste in violation of permitting requirements, there is ample evidence in the record from which the jury could reasonably conclude that there was a tacit or mutual understanding among the co-conspirators and that the individual acted in concert with others to accomplish the scheme's unlawful purpose. In addition, there was no clear error with respect to the adequacy of the instructions given to the jury on the conspiracy charge.