The Proposed Federal Sentencing Guidelines for Environmental Crimes

By Dreux, Mark S.; Zimmerman, Craig H. | Occupational Hazards, July 1993 | Go to article overview

The Proposed Federal Sentencing Guidelines for Environmental Crimes


Dreux, Mark S., Zimmerman, Craig H., Occupational Hazards


In the summer of 1992, a little known government group, formally called the Advisory Working Group on Environmental Sanctions ("Advisory Group"), began developing recommended sentencing guidelines for organizations convicted of federal environmental offenses ("Working Draft"). On Mar. 5, 1993, the Advisory Group published its Working Draft for public comment seeking substantial input."

While preliminary and incomplete, the Working Draft should be of great concern to the regulated community. It provides the basis for developing guidelines for the sentencing of organizations convicted of federal environmental offenses. It proposes significant increases in the severity of criminal sanctions for organizations, and it contains detailed and elaborate requirements for auditing and monitoring environmental compliance. These proposals could set the standard by which the government measures and evaluates the quality of an organization's environmental compliance program.

Developing Guidelines

Until 1987, federal courts had broad discretion in sentencing individuals and organizations convicted of most federal criminal offenses. The courts had so much discretion that individuals convicted of the same offense could receive widely disparate sentences: one could receive 20 years in prison and another simply be placed on probation. In 1984, Congress created the U.S. Sentencing Commission ("the Commission") as an independent federal agency to eliminate this disparity in sentencing, to develop and promulgate mandatory guidelines for sentencing, and to ensure fair and just punishment.

Three years after its creation, the Commission promulgated guidelines for the sentencing of individuals "Individual Guidelines"). These Guidelines set forth a formula for calculating the severity of a crime, assessing the criminal history of an individual and determining the mandatory period of incarceration. With very few exceptions, federal courts have been required to follow this formula and to impose the requisite period of incarceration. In this way, perceived problems associated with too much judicial discretion at sentencing were resolved.

In 1991, the Commission promulgated guidelines for the sentencing of organizations ("the Organizational Guidelines') which apply to all forms of corporations, partnerships, associations, unions, trusts, and pensions. The Organizational Guidelines set forth a detailed formula for determining the sentence for organizations convicted of most federal offenses. Because organizations cannot be imprisoned, the Organizational Guidelines focus on restitution, remediation, and financial penalties(1) as the primary criminal sanctions against organizations.

Under the Organizational Guidelines, provisions for calculating fines explicity excluded fines for environmental offenses. The Commission reasoned that environmental offenses created unique and complicated issues in sentencing and that it should study these issues further. The Commission created a special Advisory Group, which is comprised of 16 individuals with expertise in environmental and/or corporate criminal law. The group includes professionals from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Dept. of Justice, academia, environmental groups, corporate legal departments, and private practice. This group has produced the Working Draft, which is now undergoing public comment and revision.

Key Provisions

The Working Draft sets forth three major criminal sanctions for the sentencing of organizations convicted of federal environmental offenses. They are: remediation/resititution, fines, and probation.

Remediation/Restitution: The Working Draft does not set forth any special rules for considering and applying restitution/remediation for environmental crimes. Rather, it simply incorporates by reference the general restitution/remediation provisions in the Organizational Guidelines. Whenever practicable, the sentencing court must order the organization to remedy the harm caused by the offense. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Proposed Federal Sentencing Guidelines for Environmental Crimes
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    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.