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United States v. Ahmad
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
101 F.3d 386 (1996)
Ahmad (defendant) purchased a gas station. Some time later, Ahmad discovered that an underground gasoline tank was leaking, allowing water to enter the tank and preventing Ahmad from selling gasoline from the tank. A tank-testing company advised Ahmad that the tank had to be emptied for the leak to be repaired. Ahmad rented a water pump and pumped out the tank. Some of the gasoline ran into a sewer system storm drain that emptied into a creek. Some gasoline was discharged into a manhole that entered the city sewage-treatment plant, causing an explosion hazard that required evacuation of the sewage-treatment plant and two nearby schools. Investigators traced the source of the gasoline to the manhole and Ahmad’s gas station. Ahmad was indicted for violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA). At trial, he maintained that his discharge of gasoline was not “knowing” because he believed he was discharging water. Ahmad was convicted. On appeal, Ahmad argued that the statutory language “knowingly violates” required the government (plaintiff) to prove not just that Ahmad knew the nature of his acts and performed them intentionally, but that he had knowledge with respect to each element of the offense, including whether what he discharged was a pollutant.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Smith, J.)
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