Summary of Criminal Prosecutions
D. Idaho CR08-0002-E BLW
Cory Ledeal King, of Burley, Idaho, was sentenced to three years probation for violating the Safe Drinking Water Act and making false statements. King also will serve four month’s home detention and pay a fine in the amount of $5,000.
In April 2009, King was convicted by a federal jury sitting in Pocatello. During the three-day trial, the jury heard evidence that in 2005, King, the farm manager and part owner of the Double C Farms/Lambert Produce cattle feedlot and farm facility located 12 miles south of Burley, Idaho, had ordered his workers to inject excess surface fluids from various sources into at least four deep agricultural irrigation wells at the Double C ranch on numerous occasions.
According to expert witnesses and sworn testimony provided at trial, these injections of fluids occurred without having the required Underground Injection Control permit from the State of Idaho Department of Water Resources. In addition, the jury heard evidence that King lied to a State of Idaho Department of Agriculture inspector, who was inspecting the facility. The jury found King guilty of four counts of violating the Safe Drinking Water Act and one count of making false statements.
At the sentencing hearing, the trial judge stated that although the Government was unable to establish, for sentencing purposes, that the defendant injected a pollutant or contaminant into the ground water, that did not mean the defendant was innocent of doing so. It simply meant that the Government did not have enough evidence to meet the significant and heavy burden. Judge Winmill went on to note that had he found the defendant injected manure into the ground water as alleged by the Government, he would have sent the defendant to jail.
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 05, 2011 Burley Man's Conviction Upheld for Violating Safe Drinking Water Act BOISE – The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday affirmed the district court's 2009 trial conviction of Cory Ledeal King for injecting “fluids” into deep wells without a permit, in violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). The Circuit also affirmed King's conviction of making a materially false statement in a matter within the jurisdiction of the United States. King, 54, of Burley, Idaho, was the manager and part owner of a large-scale farming and cattle operation in southern Idaho called Double C Farms Partnership. During the three-day trial, the jury heard evidence that in 2005, King had ordered workers to inject excess surface fluids into at least four deep agricultural irrigation wells on numerous occasions. The jury also heard evidence that King lied to a State of Idaho Department of Agriculture inspector, who was inspecting the facility. King was found guilty of four counts of violating the Safe Drinking Water Act and one count of making false statements. He was sentenced in December 2009 to three years of probation and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine. The King case is one of the first successful prosecutions under the SDWA in the United States. In addition, the Ninth Circuit's decision is the first appellate decision in the country to address the constitutionality of the statute under the Commerce Clause. The Court held that drinking water is an article in commerce that Congress can regulate to prevent contamination. The Court further noted that “underground fluid injection can have disastrous consequences for drinking water and, in turn, for human health.” King's case was investigated by the Environmental Protection Agency-Criminal Investigation Division, Idaho State Department of Agriculture, Idaho Department of Water Resources, Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, and the Idaho Attorney General's Office.
- Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA)
- Title 18 U.S. Criminal Code (TITLE 18)