United States v. Robertson, No. 16-30178 (9th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
The Ninth Panel affirmed defendant's conviction for knowingly discharging dredged or fill material from a point source into a water of the United States without a permit in violation of the Clean Water Act (CWA), 33 U.S.C. 1251–1388; willfully injuring and committing depredation of property of the United States causing more than $1,000 worth of damage to the property; and knowingly discharging dredged or fill material from a point source into a water of the United States on private property without a permit. Defendant's convictions stemmed from the excavation and construction of a series of ponds on National Forest System Lands. The panel held that Northern California River Watch v. City of Healdsburg, 496 F.3d 993 (2007), remains valid and binding precedent. In Healdsburg, jurisdiction was determined to exist under the "significant nexus" test set forth in Justice Kennedy's concurrence in Rapanos v. United States, 547 U.S. 715 (2006). The panel also held that the statutory term "waters of the United States" was not unconstitutionally vague and defendant had fair warning of the term; defendant's argument that the district court should have granted his motion to acquit after the jury deadlocked at his first trial was foreclosed; and the panel rejected defendant's remaining arguments.