Assistant United States Attorney, Chief of Environmental Crimes Joins Musick, Peeler & Garrett LLP Law Firm

Oct 30, 2006, 00:00 ET from Musick, Peeler & Garrett LLP

    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
     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
     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
     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