Lawyer: Attorney general's office tries to 'bully' judge in Greene County polluter case
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The lawyer representing a Greene County businessman sentenced to probation for polluting waterways in six counties by illegally dumping wastewater for seven years has accused the state attorney general's office of trying to "bully" the sentencing judge into imposing a harsher penalty.
Greene County Common Pleas Judge Farley Toothman this month sentenced Robert Allan Shipman, owner of Allan's Waste Water Service, to seven years of probation and 1,750 hours of community service in addition to $257,316 in restitution, a $100,000 fine and a $25,000 charitable contribution to be paid to the attorney general's office.
The attorney general's office was angered by the probation sentence and said in a motion for reconsideration this week that Mr. Shipman should go to jail to send a message to others who would deliberately pollute the state.
Mr. Shipman's lawyer, Christopher Blackwell, countered yesterday that the sentence was carefully crafted after an all-day sentencing hearing and that Deputy Attorney General Amy Carnicella is trying to "intimidate" the judge into a re-sentencing.
Mr. Blackwell said Ms. Carnicella's motion "insulted" the judge by suggesting that he did not fully grasp the magnitude of Mr. Shipman's environmental crimes and that the judge improperly considered such factors as Mr. Shipman's personal life, including the death of his step-daughter, his charitable work and the fact that he has sold his business and can never again work in the wastewater industry.
Mr. Blackwell said the judge was correct to examine those mitigating factors and others in crafting a sentence and criticized what he called Ms. Carnicella's disrespectful tone in challenging the judge's decisions.
Mr. Shipman pleaded guilty to theft by deception, receiving stolen property, tampering with public records, conspiracy and other counts related to illegal dumping from 2003 to 2009 in Allegheny, Fayette, Greene, Lawrence, Washington and Westmoreland counties.
First Published June 28, 2012 11:13 am