• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • A Criminal Conviction that Doesn’t Hold Water

    Ocie and Carey Mills

    Ocie and Carey Mills

    Ocie and Carey Mills, a father and son, had always wanted to live on the water. They bought waterfront property in Escambia Bay, Florida, where they planned to build a home for the extended family to enjoy together. Inspectors from the State of Florida inspected the property, and the Millses obtained all of the state and local permits that were required to build the house.

    Once the Millses began filling a ditch with sand for what was to be the foundation of their home, the Army Corps of Engineers got involved, declaring the Mills’ dry property a “wetland” and charged them with violating the Clean Water Act.

    The fact that Florida officials had declared that the property was not a wetland was no defense in the federal prosecution. The Millses were convicted and each served 21 months in prison.

    Many environmental laws do not require intent to break the law, merely intent of certain conduct, to warrant prosecution. This means that if you reasonably are mistaken on what the law allows, it doesn’t matter: You’re still going to jail.

    This month, The Heritage Foundation launches USA vs. YOU—a project that spotlights the flood of criminal laws threatening our liberties. Explore more stories and find out what you can do to reverse this trend.

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    Comments are closed.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.