[OGD] fine and jail time for spraying ?

"The federal case against Matthew Thomas Ray Hanson isn?t one of guilt or 
innocence.
He already pleaded guilty in May to charges that his company, Super 
Sprayers, illegally sprayed weed killer in the Sheyenne National Grasslands 
near Lisbon [North Dakota, US], damaging nearly 200 endangered orchids
[see map : ].
...
Hanson faces a $500 fine and/or up to six months in federal prison for the 
?petty offense? ? but it was a far more complex issue that governed the 
start of Hanson?s sentencing hearing...

How much Hanson ought to pay for the damage caused in the grasslands 
remains a tense point of contention between Assistant U.S. Attorney... and 
Hanson?s defense attorney...

After about two hours of hearing witness testimony... federal Magistrate 
Judge... granted a continuance to Hanson?s sentencing hearing so both 
attorneys have more time to review new evidence, including recent photos of 
the damaged orchids.

Federal prosecutors said an employee with Hanson?s company, Super Sprayers, 
destroyed 197 western prairie fringed orchids while spraying weed killer in 
June 2010 in roadside ditches in Ransom County.
The orchid is protected by the Endangered Species Act.

Two employees at the National Grasslands testified... for federal 
prosecutors in an attempt to demonstrate the extent and permanence of the 
damage caused by the weed-killer spray.

The sprayer covered a swath nearly 20 feet wide on either side of Highway 
27, stretching 3½ miles on the north side of the roadway and three miles on 
the south side...
...
within two weeks of the spraying, the orchids already appeared to be 
wilting and drooping.
This spring... only a fraction of the original orchids bloomed again...

other orchids in the grasslands are blossoming unusually well this year.

[Hanson?s defense attorney, Rick] Henderson repeatedly objected...  was not 
qualified to answer specific questions and that some details of his 
testimony was not disclosed in advance of... hearing...

When Henderson... presented photos taken by Super Sprayers two weeks ago, 
[Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron] Hayden also objected with the same 
argument, since the photos were not shared with him before the hearing. 
That objection sparked the request for a delay... granted.

[federal Magistrate Judge Karen K.] Klein said she wants Hayden and 
Henderson to agree on the extent of the damage, and if they can?t, a 
court-ordered expert could analyze it and help determine a basis for the 
amount of restitution Hanson should pay.

Hanson?s sentencing will be re-scheduled for a later date."

URL : http://www.inforum.com/event/article/id/327416/group/News/

************************
Regards,

VB

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