Assistant United States Attorney, Chief of Environmental Crimes Joins Musick, Peeler & Garrett LLP Law Firm
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- William Wesley ("Bill") Carter is leaving his long tenure at the United States Attorney's office in Los Angeles to join the law firm of Musick, Peeler & Garrett LLP (MP&G). He is well known for his work on many high profile prosecutions including the LAPD Rampart Corruption Scandal, the Santa Susana Field Lab formerly operated by Rockwell International Corporation/Rocketdyne Division, and the ocean-dumping of oily-wastes by Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and the shipping giant Evergreen International. Carter is leaving a distinguished career as a prosecutor in order to be a problem-solver in the private sector. "I've had the good fortune to work with many dedicated and talented people, as well as doing everything I wanted to do as a public servant. It's now time to take that experience and insight and apply what I've learned to solve problems for clients, including those in business and government. I especially hope to help businesses, municipalities, communities, and agencies fully comply with the myriad of federal, state, and local laws and regulations designed to protect public health and safety, property, and the environment. I'm very excited at the opportunity to work at Musick, Peeler & Garrett and with its team of lawyers in satisfying that goal." Carter is widely recognized for his expertise in environmental law. In his position as an Assistant United States Attorney during the past 12 years, he served as the Chief of the Environmental Crimes Section, as well as Environmental Coordinator for the Central District of California (CDCA). He also served as a member of the United States Department of Justice's Environmental Policy Committee, and coordinated with the White House's Office of Environmental Quality. U.S. Attorneys, current and past, noted Carter's expertise and ability. Debra Wong Yang, current U.S. Attorney for the CDCA said, "Bill Carter has distinguished himself as an expert in the field of environmental law, not only in the city and state, but also, quite frankly in the country." Former U.S. Attorney Alejandro Mayorkas, remarked, "Musick, Peeler & Garrett is extraordinarily fortunate to have Bill join the firm. It is a tremendous loss for the U.S. Attorney's office." Judge Lourdes Baird commented on her long association with Carter, "Over the last 20 years I have had the good fortune of both working with Bill in the U.S. Attorney's Office litigating cases on behalf of the U.S. and presiding over his cases in both state and federal court. He is a bright and dedicated lawyer who also happens to be a first-class litigator. Musick, Peeler & Garrett made an excellent choice in bringing Bill into the firm." During the last two decades, many significant local and national environmental crimes were investigated and prosecuted by Carter. In 1998, he received the United States Department of Justice Director's Award for Superior Performance by an Assistant United States Attorney for his successful efforts in prosecuting smugglers of CFC's and Rockwell International Corporation/Rocketdyne Division for unlawfully disposing of and storing highly explosive and toxic hazardous wastes at its Santa Susana Field Lab. (Background for extensive details on other significant cases follow.) Carter credits the creation and use of task forces as key factors in the success of his prosecution efforts. This gathering of disparate agencies led to the discovery of crimes ranging from the smuggling of elephant ivory tusks into the U.S. from Nigeria, to a large-scale conspiracy involving the falsification of federally-mandated driver log books by one of the largest gasoline hauling companies in the Western United States. As Environmental Coordinator for the CDCA, Carter chaired and participated in several task forces, including the Los Angeles Federal Environmental Task Force and the Santa Barbara/San Luis Obispo Counties Regional Environmental Task Force. In addition to environmental law, Carter developed an expertise in investigating government fraud, food and drug safety, corruption, and civil rights violations. During the years 1998 - 2001, Carter served as Deputy Chief of the Public Corruption and Government Fraud Section. During that period, Carter successfully prosecuted the largest commercial smuggling case in the history of the then-U.S. Customs Service involving quota-restricted Chinese-textiles and prohibited Asian pharmaceuticals. In addition, in 2003, Carter was awarded a second Director's Award for Superior Performance by an Assistant United States Attorney for his work as one of the lead attorneys in the successful prosecution of corrupt LAPD officers assigned to the Rampart Division. Carter first became interested in public and environmental law while serving as a law intern in the Environmental Protection Unit of the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office. At that time, Barry Groveman was the Chief of that Unit and Chair of the Los Angeles Toxic Waste Strike Force, which was one of the first of its kind in the United States. Upon graduation from Loyola Law School Los Angeles, Carter was hired by the LA City Attorney's Office. However, Carter soon left the LA City Attorney's Office and joined the LA County District Attorney's Office, where Barry Groveman had formed the Environmental Crimes/OSHA Division and was prosecuting felony environmental violations. Barry Groveman, who is now a partner at MP&G, started the Environmental Practice group at Musick, Peeler & Garrett LLP. "I've known Bill for 20 years," said Groveman. "He is unquestionably the greatest environmental crimes prosecutor in the United States today. We are lucky to have him on our team at MP&G." Musick, Peeler & Garrett LLP is an established California general practice firm, which provides the highest quality of legal services. Founded in Los Angeles over 60 years ago, the Firm has remained committed to its reputation for excellence. From its six offices throughout California, MP&G presently has over 100 attorneys practicing in eight major specialties: Corporate, Real Estate, Tax and Erisa, Litigation, Insurance, Trust & Estates, Labor & Employment, Healthcare and Environmental Law. The Environmental Law Practice Group of MP&G handles complex environmental law problems. Recognized for its expertise in environmental public law, the group serves numerous public entities including harbors, water districts, school districts and cities. The firm has handled many significant cases, including the LAUSD's Belmont High School property, Inland Empire's perchlorate groundwater remediation, Santa Monica water MTBE contamination, and Baldwin Park's contaminated ground water Superfund site clean up. Further background on Mr. Carter's work on his investigation and prosecution of significant environmental crimes follows. Background: William Carter Significant Environmental Crimes Prosecutions During the last 21 years, William Carter has been involved in the investigation and prosecution of many significant local and national environmental crimes. While serving as a Deputy District Attorney/Special Assistant District Attorney assigned to the Environmental Crimes/OSHA Division of the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, Carter was co-counsel on the first felony jury trial in California for the unlawful disposal of hazardous wastes. In that case, a local hospital was convicted of unlawfully disposing of thousands of gallons of flammable fuel in a storm drain that flowed into the Los Angeles River. Carter also successfully prosecuted Grow Group, Inc. and two of its company officers for the Labor Day 1988 release of chlorine gas that resulted in the evacuation of over 40,000 residents. The company officers were sent to jail for unlawfully storing hundreds of drums of waste chlorine that off-gassed and formed a toxic cloud 1000 feet high and a mile long. Carter also prosecuted numerous cases involving violations of the California Labor Code and Penal Code, including manslaughter, where employees were killed or seriously injured while forced to engage in unsafe and illegal workplace practices. In the late 1980's and early 1990's, while in the District Attorney's Office and serving as a cross-designated Special Assistant United Attorney in the CDCA, Carter also successfully prosecuted the first cases filed in the United States charging the unlawful exportation of hazardous wastes to foreign nations, including Mexico. In those cases, wastes generated in California were unlawfully smuggled into Mexico as "recyclable" products and thereafter unlawfully disposed of or stored in leaking drums in residential neighborhoods. Carter worked with the Mexican government and several U.S. agencies, including the State Department, to repatriate the wastes to the U.S. for proper disposal. As an Assistant United States Attorney, Carter successfully prosecuted numerous individuals and entities caught smuggling thousands of 30-pound cylinders of CFCs into the United States in order to sell them for use as refrigerants in automobile, residential, and commercial air conditioners, in violation of international treaties enforced under the federal Clean Air Act. Carter also successfully prosecuted Rockwell International Corporation/Rocketdyne Division for unlawfully disposing of and storing highly explosive and toxic hazardous wastes at its Santa Susana Field Lab located in Simi Hills. The violations were discovered when two Rocketdyne scientists were killed, and another employee seriously burned, in an explosion caused by their unlawful burning of explosive wastes, including rocket fuels and propellants. In 1998, Carter received the United States Department of Justice Director's Award for Superior Performance by an Assistant United States Attorney for his successful efforts in the CFC cases and against Rocketdyne. Since 1996, Carter, working with U.S. Department of Justice and other U.S. Attorney's Offices located throughout the nation, successfully prosecuted numerous cases involving the unlawful dumping of oil by large ocean-going vessels into both U.S. and international waters, including those owned and operated by Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and Evergreen International. The Evergreen International case resulted in the largest criminal fine ever imposed in an ocean-dumping case. As a result of these vessel pollution cases, and under the guidance of U.S. Attorney Debra Wong Yang, Carter was involved in the creation of the West Coast Vessel Pollution Working Group, whose members include all of the U.S. Attorneys on the West Coast, as well as Hawaii, the United States Coast Guard, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and U.S. Department of Justice. In 2005, Carter also successfully prosecuted one of the first cases in the nation involving the sale of Native American remains on the internet, in violation of the Archeological Resource Protective Act and Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. In that case, the remains were retrieved by an undercover agent posing as a private citizen, then returned to a Native American group for proper handling and reburial. In 1992, Carter was appointed by then-Governor Pete Wilson to serve as the Assistant Secretary for Law Enforcement and Counsel for the newly-created California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA). Carter was the first person to serve in that position. In that capacity, Carter was responsible for developing, implementing, and overseeing the enforcement and legal affairs of Cal/EPA, including its six boards and departments. These boards and departments included: the California Air Resources Board; the State Water Board and its nine Regional Water Quality Control Boards; the California Department of Toxic Substances Control; the Department of Pesticide Regulation; the California Integrated Waste Management Board; and the Office of Environmental Health Hazards Assessment. Carter also oversaw Cal/EPA's emergency response to both the LA Riots and Northridge Earthquake, coordinating with numerous local, state, and federal regulatory and law enforcement agencies tasked with monitoring air and water quality, as well as cleaning up and properly disposing of the large amounts of hazardous wastes, waste chemicals, asbestos, and other demolition debris generated during those events. Carter also worked on efforts to stream-line the permitting process in order to assist local businesses in getting back up and running. As a state and federal prosecutor, Carter strongly promoted the use of portions of criminal fines to fund or support "community service" projects designed to protect and preserve the environment and natural resources. For example, in many of his vessel pollution cases, portions of the criminal penalties were directed to the Channel Islands National Park, the Channel Islands Marine Sanctuary, and the National Marine Fisheries Service, to fund environmental projects, including marine research, pollution prevention and cleanup efforts, and educational programs designed to teach school children about the environment. In addition, in the Grow Group Inc. case, a portion of the fine was equally-divided among five high schools located within the evacuation area of the chlorine gas leak and deposited in trust accounts. Since the early 1990's, interest generated by these accounts has been used to award college scholarships to students at those schools who demonstrate an interest in environmental matters.
SOURCE Musick, Peeler & Garrett LLP
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