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United States v. CITGO Petroleum Corp.

ELR Citation: 42 ELR 20237
Nos. C-06-563, (S.D. Tex., 11/06/2012) (Rainey, J.)

A district court denied the U.S. government's motion to empanel a sentencing jury to determine an oil company's gross pecuniary gain stemming from CAA and Migratory Bird Treaty Act violations. After the company was convicted under both statutes, the government recommended that the court impose a fine of $2,090,000 for the statutory violations and further recommended that the court order the company to pay $44,000,000 in "community service obligations" to a number of local charities. But the court denied its request because the maximum statutory fine was $2,090,000, therefore, any monetary penalty in excess of that amount—regardless of whether it is being paid to a charity—is impermissible. The government then moved to empanel a sentencing jury to determine the company's gross pecuniary gain pursuant to the Alternative Fines Act, claiming that the company realized over $1 million in profits from the CAA violations. But empanelling a sentencing jury would unduly complicate or prolong the sentencing process. The court, therefore, denied the government's motion.