Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

MCHM WATER CRISIS ; Freedom's Southern, Farrell Might Not See Any Jail Time; Prosecutors Have Not Decided If They Will Seek Incarceration over Spill

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

MCHM WATER CRISIS ; Freedom's Southern, Farrell Might Not See Any Jail Time; Prosecutors Have Not Decided If They Will Seek Incarceration over Spill

Article excerpt

INSIDE: Feds worry over 'completeness' of Reynold's story 1C

Acting U.S. Attorney Carol Casto's office has not determined if it will seek jail time for former top Freedom Industries officials Gary Southern and Dennis Farrell when the men face sentencing for their roles in water pollution crimes that led to the January 2014 Elk River chemical spill, the lead prosecutor in the case said this week. "We have not decided what we are going to argue, Assistant U.S. Attorney Phil Wright said Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Thomas E. Johnston has sentenced former company co-owner Charles Herzing and former Freedom environmental manager Robert Reynolds to probation and fines, but no jail time. The judge's decision was based largely by requests from the prosecutors for lighter sentences based on assistance investigators say that Herzing and Reynolds gave during the probe of Freedom.

Sentencing hearings are scheduled today for former Freedom plant manager Michael Burdette and for the company. A hearing for former company co-owner William Tis is scheduled for Monday. Sentencings for Farrell and Southern, both former presidents of Freedom Industries, are scheduled for Feb. 11 and Feb. 17.

Court approval of lighter sentences based on prosecution motions that defendants provided "substantial assistance accounted for only 11 percent of federal cases nationwide over the last five years, according to U.S. Sentencing Commission data. In Southern West Virginia, such motions have been granted for only 137 defendants out of nearly 1,400 cases since between 2010 and 2014, according to the commission's statistics.

Nationwide, it's not so rare that defendants in environmental crime cases receive probation and no jail time. That happened in about two-thirds of such cases across the country last year, according to commission data that Burdette's attorney, Susan Robinson, cited in her sentencing memo to Johnston. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.