Author Topic: Vindication for Joe: Ninth Circuit vacates late Montanan’s Clean Water Act conviction  (Read 550 times)

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Online Elderberry

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Pacific Legal Foundation  July 10, 2019  By JEFF MCCOY

Today, the Ninth Circuit vindicated Joe Robertson.

Joe, a late Navy veteran was sentenced to 18 months in prison for allegedly violating the Clean Water Act. The Ninth Circuit vacated Joe’s criminal conviction after a Supreme Court order in April of this year granted, vacated, and remanded Mr. Robertson’s case.

In 2015, the federal government indicted Joe, then in his mid-70s, with two counts of violating the Clean Water Act. At the time, Joe lived deep in the Montana woods at the edge of a national forest. As with many rural areas in the West, Joe’s home had become increasingly prone to destructive, life-threatening fires.

He and his now-widow, Carrie, ran a fire-fighting support truck business. To help fight wildfires, they needed water. So in 2013 and 2014 Joe dug some small ponds in and around a small, unnamed channel near his home, to allow multiple water trucks to get in and fill up. The ponds slowly filled up, and then the water flowed out the bottom one and rejoined the channel.