I guess we’re just more fond of the British than the Maltese.

Today I sat in on a guilty plea hearing for a fellow from Malta who was caught on a boat in American waters dumping oil canisters without keeping a record of his oil supplies (begging the question: would he be in trouble if he had kept records of his pollution?).  As I sat behind this man with long, stringy, almost green hair speaking through an interpreter, I could not help but feel the ridiculousness of the moment.

I am all for punishing environmental crimes.  Still, it seems a little hard to justify sitting in this court room before a magistrate judge as another polluter has pumped countless gallons of oil into the gulf over the past few months, dramatically overshadowing this man’s wrongdoing.  Indeed, I would guess that this fellow polluted less throughout the entire course of his operation than that other polluter did in the period of a minute.

As for that other entity which I won’t take the time to name–no charges yet.  Should intent matter that much?  Maybe, but I certainly have a hard time justifying the disparate results.

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