A fisheries officer noticed that the defendant (Yates) had scores of undersized red grouper on board. This was a violation of federal conservation regulations, which prohibited fishermen from retaining grouper under a certain length. Yates later instructed one of his crew to throw the undersized fish overboard in an attempt to conceal the fishing violation. Based on Yates?s decision to throw the fish overboard, the prosecutor charged Yates with violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1519 and § 2232(a). A jury convicted Yates on both counts. Yates appealed his conviction under section 1519. The key question for the Supreme Court was whether a fish could be considered a ?tangible object? for purposes of section 1519, the provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act making it illegal to destroy or conceal various types of evidence with the intent to obstruct justice. The Supreme Court determined that ?tangible object? under section 1519 means an object used to record or preserve information (e.g., a computer hard drive). Accordingly, the Court held that ?tangible object? could not apply to the fish that Yates instructed his crew member to throw overboard.
The US Navy was using mid-frequency active (MFA) sonar during its training exercises off the coast of southern California. The plaintiffs argued that the use of sonar causes serious injuries to marine mammals and sued the Navy, asking for declaratory and injunctive relief on the basis that the Navy had violated NEPA by conducting harmful sonar training without having first prepared an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The District Court granted the injunction after determining that the plaintiffs had shown a probability of success on their NEPA and CZMA claims. The court of appeals upheld the injunction because the negative impact of the injunction on the Navy was considered speculative, and because the balance of hardships and the public interest favored the plaintiffs. The Navy filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court rules that the standard for granting an injunction used by the lower court (requiring only a possibility of irreparable harm) was too lenient. But even if the plaintiffs could have shown that there was a likelihood of irreparable harm (the correct standard), this was outweighed by the public and Navy?s interest in effective and realistic training. Deference must be given to the military with regard to the relative importance of a particular military interest.
Since 1987, United States regulations have required that shrimp trawlers generally install turtle excluder devices (TEDs) when operating in U.S. waters where sea turtles are located (Section 609 of Public Law 101-162). A group of countries brought a complaint to the Dispute Settle Mechanism of the WTO. The WTO Appellate Body ultimately ruled that Section 609 was a permissible conservation measure, but that U.S. enforcement of it was discriminatory. Then, a coalition of environmental groups sued defendant federal officials in the U.S. Court of International Trade, alleging that the officials? regulations unlawfully permitted exported shrimp to enter the U.S. in violation of Section 609. Here, the defendant officials are appealing the Court of International Trade?s holding that the government?s regulations were unlawful. The appellate court found that the plain language of the statute only authorized an embargo of shrimp that was caught without the use of TEDs. This language did not authorize an embargo of TED-caught shrimp simply because the nation?s fleet as a whole lacks certification. The appellate court found no evidence in the legislative history to support the U.S. government?s position, but did find that the primary goal of the law was to protect the domestic shrimping industry from unfair competition (by foreign vessels able to catch shrimp without the costs of TEDs) rather than to protect sea turtles from drowning. The appellate court also held that Section 609 (b)(1) refers to shipments, not nations.
The defendant is the owner of the Marshall 201, a vessel spotted by a U.S. Coast Guard within the U.S. EEZ surrounding Baker and Howland Islands. The vessel had no permission to fish in the zone. Nevertheless, the vessel carried 130 tons of tuna presumably harvested from U.S. waters. The vessel owner did not contest the allegation of illegal fishing as such, but rather argued that it was an ?innocent owner?. Thus, the court decided this case under the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act?s ?innocent owner? provision. This provision precludes civil forfeiture of an asset where the owner proves, by a preponderance of the evidence, that it (a) ?did not know of the conduct giving rise to the forfeiture,? or (b) ?upon learning of the conduct giving rise to the forfeiture, did all that reasonably could be expected under the circumstances to terminate such use of the property.? 18 U.S.C. § 983(d)(2)(A). Here, the owner argued both options, claiming that it did not know of the illegal fishing or, in the alternative, that it took all reasonable steps to halt the illicit activity upon learning of it. Considering all the evidence, the court ruled that the owner had failed to carry its burden of proving the absence of a ?genuine issue of material fact? regarding its claim of innocent ownership.
The plaintiff is American Pelagic, a company whose President and sole shareholder, purchased a large boat, the Atlantic Star, in 1996 to transform it into a massive fishing vessel. In 1997, NMFS issued both a valid Atlantic mackerel permit and a Northeast Multispecies fish permit to the vessel. In 1997 and 1998, some riders to appropriations bills limited the size of the ships and revoked the permits that had been issued. NMFS later promulgated regulations reflecting this prohibition. As a result, the Atlantic Star was unable to receive a permit to fish in any U.S. fishery within the EEZ. American Pelagic brought suit alleging that the 1997 and 1998 Appropriations Acts revoking its permits and barring it from receiving future permits effected a temporary taking of the Atlantic Star. Specifically, American Pelagic asserted that it had a property right in its fishery permits and authorizations that was taken by legislation, and that the U.S. had taken all economically viable use of the vessel without just compensation in violation of the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. The lower court ruled in its favor, determining that the fishery had possessed a property interest in using the vessel to fish and that a regulatory taking had occurred. The United States now appeals. The court determined that the reasoning in Mitchell Arms and Conti applied to this case. In Conti, the court found that no property interest could be held in a swordfishing permit because it could not be assigned, sold, or transferred; because it did not confer exclusive fishing privileges; and because the government at all times retained the right to revoke, suspend, or modify it. The court also determined that as of 1996, when the Atlantic Star was purchased, the Magnuson Act and the attendant regulatory scheme precluded any permitted fisherman from possessing a property right in his vessel to fish in the EEZ. This was because, in passing the Magnuson Act, Congress explicitly assumed sovereign rights over Atlantic mackerel and herring in the EEZ. In short, the court found no right to fish in the EEZ inhered in American Pelagic?s title when it acquired the Atlantic Star. The court therefore reversed the finding that the revocation of Americans Pelagic?s permits and authorization letter constituted a taking under the Fifth Amendment.
All three appellants have appealed against their convictions. There is no appeal against the sentences, because of the mandatory provisions of the legislation in casu. The representative of the Crown conceded Accused No. 5's appeal, due to the unsatisfactory nature of the evidence against him, specifically. Since Accused No. 5 spoke a different language than the others, the evidence lacked clarity concerning what he said. This was found to be proper and fair, and Accused No. 5 was accordingly found not guilty and discharged.
The next issue of contention was whether the aforesaid rhino horns possessed by Accused No. 1 and trafficked by Accused No. 6 were of an animal "indigenous of Swaziland". In his judgement the Chief Justice rejected this contention that the Crown had to prove this, as legislation includes rhinoceros of all species, no matter if indigenous or not. However, Mr. Kuny, representing the Crown, was convinced that proof is needed and thus the appeals of Accused Nos. 1 and 6 were upheld.
So, scientific studies, including migration flows, probability calculations, DNA-testing, etc., were completed to establish that the horns in question were of a white rhino, which are indigenous to Swaziland. However, the Judge, quoting past cases Miller v Minister of Pensions 1957(2) and R v Mlambo 1957(4), concluded that the Crown discharged the onus of proving beyond reasonable doubt that the horns in question were those of a white rhino, and animal indigenous to Swaziland. Therefore, the appeal cannot be upheld on these grounds.
Two other grounds of appeal, which the Counsel contended, constituted irregularities.
During the investigation described above, a tape recorder was used to gather evidence, which was subsequently presented as such in the court proceedings to convict Accused Nos. 1 and 6. The Counsel was of the view that there are unsatisfactory features concerning the evidence:
1. Recorded on a small recorder operated manually, as well as kept in possession, by one of the rangers up until the trial. This included two transcriptions of the tape recording done at different dates, which differed in many respects from each one another.
2. The Crown counsel consulted with two of the Crown witnesses, one of whom was still under cross-examination. This conduct was "unethical, irregular and unwise". It was contended that Accused No. 1 was therefore prejudiced and had not received a fair trial.
Concerning these issues, the trial court held that "while the proper procedure had not been followed, the purpose for which the consultation had taken place was a bona fide one and no sinister inference could be drawn and no real possibility of prejudice could be envisaged". The Judge reflected this view as well.
In the first place it is clear that the evidence of Accused No. 1's possession of the horns was overwhelming. The evidence was presented in a consistent fashion and no real criticism can be leveled at their credibility because of material contradictions. Concerning Accused No. 6, it was taken into account that the court clearly relied on the evidence put forth (tape recording), convicting Accused No. 6, and that it erred in doing so and that this constituted an irregularity. The Judge reasoned however, that the court can still convict if on the evidence and the findings of credibility, unaffected by the irregularity, there is proof beyond reasonable doubt. Both appeals are dismissed and their convictions and charges are confirmed.
FFGC had an orchard in the town of Les Bons (Encamp), with a house where chickens and rabbits were housed. In January 2012, FFGC found that a wild animal had made a hole under the fence and killed 7 chickens. She decided to place a trp to capture the wild animal.
Later that month, FFGc observed that an animal had been trapped, she took a hoe and hit the animal in the head killing it.
The animal in question was a badger, a protected specie.
FFGC was charged with misdemeanor hunting of protected species.
The court of first Instance, tribunal de Batlles, sentenced FFGC to 1 month of home detention by night-time and a fine of 500 ? for hunting protected species.
The defendant appealed against the sentence, but the court of appeal did not find grounds to reverse it, so it was upheld to the full extent.
A company and two of its directors were charged with offences under the Environmental Protection Act in relation to the disposal of abrasive blasting product from a ship cleaning business in Brisbane. This case study concerns an application for leave to appeal by Moore, one of the directors.
Part of the company?s business involved the collection, stockpiling, and cleaning of spent sandblasting material from shipyards. The hulls of ships are commonly painted with a paint containing Tributyltin which is extremely effective at killing marine organisms. Ships are dry docked to have the old paint removed by sandblasting and fresh paint applied. The blasting material contained quantities of Tributyltin and other chemicals ((lead, zinc, copper, arsenic, chromium, cadmium and selenium) which would be extremely harmful if released into the environment.
In September 1998, it was discovered that the company had been releasing liquid waste of heavy metals (lead, zinc, copper, arsenic, chromium, cadmium, selenium and biocide tributyltin) into a storm water drain connected to the Brisbane River from its premises in Bulimba. The company had also stored abrasive blasting material adjacent to the stormwater drain in a manner contravening its licence conditions. Shortly thereafter the company lost the lease on the premises at Bulimba and its commercial activities were transferred to a site at Thornlands near Eprapah Creek. Stockpiles of contaminated material were dumped on the Thornlands property and some of the contaminated material was buried. The property at Thornlands was adjacent to Eprapah Creek, an area of high environmental value. EPA investigations identified excessively high concentrations of tributyltin, zinc, copper, lead and arsenic in water and sediment samples relating to both sites. In some samples, heavy metals concentrations were more than one million times the standard.
When discovered, orders were issued requiring the proper removal of the materials. There was a failure to comply with these orders. The company and its two directors were charged with willfully and unlawfully causing material and serious environmental harm, and willfully contravening conditions of authorities, licenses and environmental protection orders.
The applicant, Moore, applied for leave to appeal against these sentences.
William Schwarzenberg, the plaintiff, has been a collector of exotic birds for most of his life. For many years, the Commonwealth Government has sought to prevent the illegal trade in such birds as part of its responsibility to protect exotic species pursuant to Australia's international treaty obligations, namely being a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The birds in question were species listed under this convention. The Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts began investigating the involvement of the plaintiff in relation to bird smuggling back in November 2006. A number of search warrants at premises throughout Victoria in 2007 led to the discovery of numerous exotic birds, which were seized in August 2007 under national environment law.
The plaintiff applied to the courts to have his birds returned. His barrister, Denis Connell, argued their seizure was unlawful. Mr. Schwarzenberg said he built his collection by trading, swapping and breeding birds in Australia and from overseas and ''at no stage have I [?] engaged in any illegal activity relating to my birds''. He said a former mandatory scheme to register possession of such birds was a failure and he had not participated in it.
The Judge found there was little basis for concluding Mr. Schwarzenberg had a ''reasonable excuse'' for possession of the birds. The Judge found that for most of the 173 birds, Mr. Schwarzenberg had produced no credible evidence that the birds he bred from were lawfully imported. ''I find that each of the birds seized was used or otherwise involved in the commission of the offence of being in possession of imported specimens,'' he said. The County Court of Victoria concluded the birds were illegally imported and Mr. Schwarzenberg was denied the return of the birds.
This case involved a string of litigation concerning an application for an injunction and declaration to restrain Japanese whaling in the Australian Whale Sanctuary adjacent to Antarctica. The case was brought by conservation group, the Human Society International (HSI), against the Japanese company, Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha Ltd.