Discretion and the Criminalization of Environmental Law

Environmental Law
Abstract
Enforcement of federal environmental law is complex. Central to the efficacy of enforcement is the role of prosecutors and judges in exercising their discretion over which violations to prosecute and what sanctions to impose. In the context of the Clean Water Act ("CWA"), discretion is exercised in an institutional framework of marginal deterrence, criminal sanctions, broad prosecutorial discretion, and judicial discretion constrained by the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. After a description of the CWA institutional framework for enforcement, a review of legal, economic, and criminal justice dimensions of exercising discretion is provided. It is concluded that while broad prosecutorial discretion is justified on economic efficiency grounds, extending criminal sanctions to outcomes lacking violator intent or control is likely to result in the over-criminalization of environmental law. Equally troubling, if judicial discretion is used to impose significant downward departures from the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the trivialization of CWA enforcement is inevitable. Thus, overzealous prosecution runs the risk of creating over-deterrence and stripping criminal sanctions of their moral stigma, while lax criminal sanctioning undermines deterrence objectives and minimizes the importance of violating federal environmental law itself. Policy implications of recent sanctioning trends, as well as future research needs, are also explored.

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Cover Page – – – – – – – – – –
Title Page – – – – – – – – – –
Certification – – – – – – – – – –
Dedication – – – – – – – – – –
Acknowledgement – – – – – – – – –
Abstract – – – – – – – – – –
Table of Content – – – – – – – – –
Chapter One: Introduction
Background of the Study – – – – – –
Statement of the Problem – – – – – –
Objectives of the Study – – – – – – –
Research Questions – – – – – – –
Research Hypotheses – – – – – – –
Significance of the Study – – – – – – –
Scope/ Limitation of the Study – – – – – –
Definition of Terms – – – – – – –
Chapter Two: Review of Related Literature
2.1 Introduction – – – – – – – – –
2.2 Conceptual Framework – – – – – – –
2.3 Theoretical Framework – – – – – – –
2.4 Empirical Review – – – – – – – –


Chapter Three: Research Methodology
3.1 Introduction – – – – – – – –
3.1 Research Design – – – – – – – –
3.3 Area of the Study – – – – – – – –
3.4 Population of the Study – – – – – – –
3.5 Sample Size and Sampling Techniques – – – –
3.6 Instrumentation – – – – – – – –
3.7 Validation of the Instrument – – – – – –
3.8 Administration of the Instrument – – – – –
3.9 Method of Data Analysis – – – – – – –

Chapter Four: Presentation, Analysis and Interpretation of Data
4.1 Introduction – – – – – – – – –
4.2 Presentation and Analysis of Data – – – – –
4.3 Testing of Hypotheses – – – – – – –
4.4 Discussion of Findings – – – – – – –
Chapter Five: Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations
5.1 Introduction – – – – – – – – –
5.2 Summary – – – – – – – – –
5.3 Conclusion-------------------