After he ran the Exxon Valdez oil tanker aground along the Alaska coast spilling approximately 11 million gallons of oil into the Prince William Sound, Captain Joseph Hazelwood was charged with violating a state statute for the negligent discharge of oil. The trial court instructed the jury that Hazelwood acted negligently if he failed to perceive a substantial and unjustifiable risk that a particular result will occur. A jury convicted Hazelwood. Hazelwood appealed. The court of appeals reversed, finding that Hazelwood should have been tried under a more severe criminal negligence theory rather than under an ordinary negligence standard. Hazelwood appealed. The Alaska Supreme Court granted certiorari to review.