On Tuesday President Trump killed one of the most abusive tools used by the EPA against the American people, the WOTUS, Waters of the United States rule. It seems only logical that those who are imprisoned for violations, especially when their convictions were obtained through questionable means, would be immediately released from prison. Something simply being fair and logical in no way means it’s going to be reflected in the actions of our judiciary. Justice is often not a consideration for their actions and if it is, it still can, even with good intentions, be slow to materialize.
Disabled 78-year-old Navy Veteran and Montana resident Joe Robertson continues to languish in prison for violating the WOTUS, six months into an eighteen month sentence. His crime was the creation of several ponds and in the process dumping the excavated fill back into them as part of their construction. He improved the sites and no permit for that type of landscaping is required. The ponds enhanced wildlife and provided water sources for fire fighting and other uses. Under the Obama EPA, slaves challenge their authority to dictate on their private property pay a hefty price.
Joe was prosecuted twice in federal kangaroo courts. The first trial, in which potentially exculpatory evidence was not shown to the jury by his questionable attorney, resulted in a hung jury. He was tried for his pond-making crime spree a second time, convicted, and sentenced to prison. The senior citizen Robertson is now having some serious physical and mental health issues as a result of his confinement.
According to Redoubt News, “In addition to tens of thousands of dollars in EPA fines, Joe continues to suffer from declining health, confusion, and depression. He reportedly had two strokes in his first month of lock up. He was ripped from his VA medical treatment, transferred to numerous prisons over the west, thrown in solitary confinement, stripped of his veteran’s pension, unlawfully deprived of his right to be present when sensitive legal mail from his lawyer was opened, and barred from having visits from family and friends.” Does this punishment fit the non-crime? Hardly. It does appear to be a violation of the 8th Amendment, meeting the definition of cruel and unusual punishment.
During the signing ceremony for his executive order, President Trump mentioned the case of Andy Johnson, saying, “In one case in a Wyoming, a rancher was fined $37,000 a day by the EPA for digging a small watering hole for his cattle. His land. These abuses were, and are, why such incredible opposition to this rule from the hundreds of organizations took place in all 50 states.” Joe and those like him need some presidential recognition as well. An executive order for their release or some other Justice Department order needs to be made to right this injustice.
Robertson’s alleged crime was violating the Clean Water Act, because he “knowingly discharged and caused to be discharged a pollutant, namely dredged or fill material” into a “water of the United States” without a permit. The supposed tributary is a seasonally flowing creek located 60 miles from the nearest navigable waterway. They also indicted him for damaging “National Forest Service Lands.” The supposed pollutant was the soil that already was present and no waterway exists. This is madness.
The Redoubt News report reveals that no expert testimony was allowed in Joe’s defense during either of the trials, although it was available. Expert witnesses were presented on behalf of the government, which add to the evidence that it was a rigged affair, but all of that should be moot with the rule having now been tossed out as an unconstitutional and burdensome attack on the American people.
Getting rid of the EPA WOTUS rule was an important part of the equation, but there are still wrongs to be righted. Robertson could easily die in prison for building ponds that didn’t at the time violate any legitimate law, rule or mandate. He breached a contorted abuse of power intended to deprive people of access to and the use of their own private land. Now that it has been overturned, he has violated no regulation whatsoever.
The Justice Department needs to address this oversight. Those who are serving sentences need to be released. Those who have been forced to pay fines must have their money returned. Compensation for the transgressions by the federal machinery against the American people by agencies under the direction of the American-hater Hussein Obama need to be considered.
They could always withhold the restitution money from Hussein Obama’s salary, fine him or, perhaps take it out of his hide. Let the people like Joe Robertson decide, they’re the ones who’ve suffered by his hand.
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