The Corner

Fill a Wetland, Go to Jail

The NYT reports on the case of John Rapanos. Convicted on two counts of filling wetlands on his own property without a federal permit, Rapanos now faces over five years in federal prison. At sentencing, the disgused federal district court judge remarked:

So here we have a person who comes to the United States and commits crimes of selling dope and the government asks me to put him in prison for 10 months. And then we have an American citizen who buys land, pays for it with his own money, and he moves some sand from one end to the other and government wants me to give him 63 months in prison. Now, if that isn’t our system gone crazy, I don’t know what is. And I am not going to do it.

The district court judge was reversed, however, and ordered to send Rapanos to prison.

Jonathan H. Adler — Mr. Adler is an NRO contributing editor and the inaugural Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. His latest book is Marijuana Federalism: Uncle Sam and Mary Jane.


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