In this United States v. Godfrey Opinion, Judge Mendez reversed defendant John E. Godfrey's misdemeanor conviction for "[p]lacing in or near a stream, lake, or other water any substance which does or may pollute a stream, lake, or other water" in violation of 36 C.F.R. § 261.11(c), one of his three misdemeanor convictions after a bench trial. The case arose out of a gold mining operation on the Lucky Bob Mining Claim in the Tahoe National Forest. (Magistrate Judge Newman had acquitted Mr. Godfrey on two other counts at trial).
The Court accepted the argument that putting "sands, silts and clays and bottom deposits" from Poorman Creek back into the creek does not count under the regulation as "placing" a "pollutant" into the creek.
Congratulations to McGeorge federal defender clinic students Robert Mayville and Giovanni Pesce, who handled the appeal to the district court.