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United States v. Sinskey

119 F.3d 712 (1997)

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United States v. Sinskey

United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

119 F.3d 712 (1997)

Facts

Sinskey (defendant) was the plant manager at the meatpacking plant John Morrell & Co. (Morrell). Kumm (defendant) was the plant engineer. The meatpacking process created wastewater, which was treated at Morrell’s wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) and then discharged into the river. A permit issued under the Clean Water Act (CWA) specified the acceptable levels of ammonia nitrogen in the wastewater to be discharged into the river and required weekly tests to monitor the levels of ammonia nitrogen. When the levels of ammonia nitrogen rose above the permitted level, the WWTP’s manager and assistant manager manipulated the flow, selectively sampled, or falsified test results to make it appear that Morrell was not violating the permit. Monthly reports were signed by Sinskey and sent to the Environmental Protection Agency. Sinskey and Kumm were charged with and convicted of CWA violations. On appeal, Sinskey argued that because the adverb “knowingly” immediately precedes the verb “violates” in § 1319(c)(2)(A) of the CWA, the district court erroneously instructed the jury that to find Sinskey acted “knowingly,” the government (plaintiff) had to prove that Sinskey was aware of his acts and performed them intentionally but did not have to prove that Sinskey knew his acts violated the CWA or permits issued under the CWA.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Arnold, J.)

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