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Interesting New Criminal WOTUS Case

The Circuit Courts see a lot of criminal appeals. Most are hail Mary's and most are unsuccessful. This one is different. The defendant pled guilty to dumping 3000 gallons of diesel fuel on the ground that went into a storm drain and then into the creek, which connected up to a downstream TNW. But the government did not prove up and the court made no finding on significant nexus, which the 11th Cir. called error. This is a reminde to mind your p's and q's when arguing WOTUS cases.


United States v. Coleman, 2020 WL 7244923 (11th Cir. 2020) (unpublished) (remanding criminal plea agreement in case where defendant intentionally dumped 3,000 gallons of diesel fuel onto ground that entered creek via a storm drain and eventually a TNW; held that the government failed to establish a significant nexus between the creek and the TNW; “Simply put, the factual basis for Coleman’s conviction was lacking.”)



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