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E-M:/ deq land and water bust

Enviro-Mich message from "Alex J. Sagady & Associates" <ajs@sagady.com>

Date:         Tue, 25 Mar 2003 15:08:06 -0500
From:         Pat Watson <WATSONPE@MICHIGAN.GOV>
Subject:      New DEQ Press Release - March 25, 2003
X-OriginalArrivalTime: 25 Mar 2003 20:08:21.0059 (UTC) 

RELEASE                                          <?xml:namespace prefix = o 
ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = 
"urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />March 25, 2003

Contact: Patricia Spitzley

              (517) 241-7397

Cooperative Investigatory Effort between DEQ and Local Prosecutors Office 
Results in Significant

Wetland Plea Agreement

A plea agreement was reached on Tuesday, March 4, 2003, between the DEQ, 
Mackinaw County Prosecutor W. Clayton Graham, and Victor and Marianne Bruce 
of Garfield Township.  Sentencing occurred on that same date.

Victor Bruce was charged with a Part 301-Inland Lakes and Streams Permit 
Violation, and two counts of Part 303-Wetlands Protection, 
Filling/Dredging/Draining without Permit and a second count of 
Willful-Reckless Permit Violation.  His wife, Marianne was also charged 
with a Part 301-Inland Lakes and Streams Permit Violation and a Part 
303-Wetland Protection-Willful-Reckless Permit Violation.

Before the Honorable Judge Steven E. Ford of the 92nd Judicial District, 
Mackinac County, Mr. Bruce pled no contest to the charge of Part 
303-Wetland Protection-Willful-Reckless Permit Violation, a one year 
misdemeanor.  Judge Ford sentenced Mr. Bruce to serve 20 consecutive days 
in the Mackinac County Jail, pay $1,000.00 in fines, $1,000.00 in costs, 
and $6,000.00 in restitution to the DEQ.  This in addition to the $15,000 
in legal fees expended by Mr. Bruce on his defense.  In addition, by 
September 1, 2003, Mr. Bruce must restore the wetland and shoreline area to 
the satisfaction of the DEQ or face additional sanctions from the 
court.  He has been placed on probation for seven months in order to 
monitor the completion of the court-ordered restoration.  If the wetland 
and shoreline areas are successfully restored, the remaining charges 
against him and his wife will be dropped.

This case arose from a referral by the DEQ to the Office of Criminal 
Investigation (OCI) regarding the construction of a home on Millcoquins 
Lake, Garfield Township and subsequent filling of the site in violation of 
permit restrictions.  The expert investigatory work performed by OCI 
Detectives Sgt. Vencent Woods, Gaylord District Office, and Sgt. Tim 
Shuker, Upper Peninsula District Office, in addition to DEQ's Craig 
Outwater's wetland expertise was crucial in the Prosecutor's authorization 
of the charge of Willful-Reckless Permit Violation.

The plea in this case is significant for a number of reasons:

(1) OCI investigators from two district offices combined their talents and 
resources to ensure a successful prosecution of a Part 303-Willful/Reckless 
Permit Violation, a charge that requires a significant burden of proof.

(2) The defendant(s) accepted a plea negotiation that consisted of 20 days 
of incarceration and an $8,000.00 fine. The acceptance of the plea 
indicates that the defendant(s) were unwilling to risk a jury trial and 
subsequent conviction, apparently fearing that the state would be able to 
establish proofs to support convictions and anticipating, in that event, an 
even stronger sentence from the court.

(3) According to DEQ's Geological & Land Management Division, the 
imposition of jail time for a wetland permit violation has not occurred in 
at least the last ten years.

"The DEQ will vigorously enforce the laws that protect Michigan's wetlands 
and shoreline areas," said Steven Chester, Director of the DEQ.  "I applaud 
the cooperative efforts of DEQ staff, the Office of Criminal Investigations 
and the local prosecutor's office.  This is a perfect example of local and 
state officials working together to protect our environment."


Alex J. Sagady & Associates        http://www.sagady.com

Environmental Enforcement, Permit/Technical Review, Public Policy,
Evidence Review and Litigation Investigation on Air, Water and
Waste/Community Environmental and Resource Protection
Prospectus at:  http://www.sagady.com/sagady.pdf

PO Box 39,  East Lansing, MI  48826-0039
(517) 332-6971; (517) 332-8987 (fax); ajs@sagady.com
Howard Dean for President  http://deanforamerica.com/

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