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What is the longest running legal case?

What is the longest running legal case?


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The Black Hills Lands Claim is an ongoing land dispute between the US Government and The Sioux Nation. The treaty of Fort Laramie protected the hills from white settlement, but the discovery of gold on the land led to its defacto seizure in 1874, and officially by a congressional Act in 1877. The legal struggle for the return of the lands started in

the early 1920s under tribal lawyer Richard Case where he argued that the 1877 Act of February was illegal and that the United States never made a legitimate purchase of the land. Tribal Lawyers Marvin Sonosky and Arthur Lazarus took over the case in 1956 until they won in 1980 when the case reached the supreme court (United States vs The Sioux Nation of Indians) which upheld an earlier ruling that the 1877 Act was in violation of the 5th amendment.

However in a unanimous decision the Sioux Tribal Council refused to accept the awarded Compensation with the intention of forcing the US Government to return the land.

Thus the legal struggle is roughly 90 years; is this the longest legal case in the US or elsewhere, or are there others go beyond this one?


There was a lawsuit between Frankfurt and Hanau which lasted some 212 years.

In the late 16th century, a dispute broke out between the Free Imperial City of Frankfurt and its neighbour the County of Hanau over rights to a wine tithe. The tithe was formerly owed by the farmers of Hanau to the abbess of the White Ladies Convent in Frankfurt, but the city became Lutheran during the Reformation and secularised the convent. After the last abbess passed away in 1588, both the municipal government of Frankfurt and the Count of Hanau laid claim to the tithe.

In 1594, Frankfurt and Hanau brought their dispute before the Reichskammergericht. Instituted in 1495 as the Holy Roman Empire's highest judiciary, the Reichskammergericht gained a reputation for being extremely slow in reaching a final verdict, with cases routinely taking decades to be resolved. By the time it came to an end, it had such a massive backlog that it was joked the court hung the files up, and attend to them as they fall to the ground (due to mice chewing on the strings).

Their case would remain pending in court for the next 212 years, until the Reichskammergericht was dissolved along with the Holy Roman Empire itself in 1806.


Reference:

Seidl-Hohenveldern, Ignaz. "Extraterritorial Respect for State Acts." Hague Yearbook of International Law. Hague Academy of International Law. Association of Attenders and Alumni. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1988.


The longest running that I can find is the property dispute of Raja Rajkrishna Deb, which was started in 1833 and is as far as I can find still pending after 181 years.


The "pleitos colombinos" the series of suits, decisions and appeals between the Crown of Spain and Christopher Columbus and his descendants (as well as between his descendants) lasted from 1516 until (at least) 1792, when the matter was still being argued before Spanish courts. This gets the year count up to 276.

References:

Mariano Colón de Toledo y Larreátegui, Información juridica en grado de segunda suplicación. (Madrid: 1792)

De los Pleitos de Colón. vols 7 and 8 of Colección de documentos ineditos relativos al descubrimiento, conquista y organización de las antiguas posesiones españolas de ultramar. 2. ser. Madrid, Est. tip. "Sucesores de Rivadeneyra," 1885.


The Myra Clark Gaines Cases: “The Most Remarkable in the Records of its Courts.”

While located in the Cabildo, the Louisiana Supreme Court decided several cases in the Myra Clark Gaines litigation. Lasting for more than fifty years, the Myra Clark Gaines litigation is known as the longest case in US history, beginning around 1834 and culminating in a ruling in her favor and against the City of New Orleans in 1889. Unfortunately, Myra Clark Gaines died on January 9, 1885, at age 78, before the US Supreme Court ruled in her favor.

Myra Clark Gaines was born on December 27, 1806, the daughter of Zulime Carriere and Daniel Clark, a wealthy New Orleans businessman and the first congressman from the Territory of Orleans, before Louisiana became a state. Unaware of her biological parents, Myra Clark Gaines was raised by Col. and Mrs. Samuel B. Davis, friends of Daniel Clark. At the time of her first marriage to William Wallace Whitney, Myra discovered that Daniel Clark was her father.

She filed suit in both Louisiana state court and federal court, arguing that she was the legitimate daughter of Daniel Clark and the heir of his fortune. After Whitney passed away, Myra married Gen. E. P. Gaines, who supported her in her legal claims. Myra eventually sued the City of New Orleans to reclaim her property. While this action was still pending, Myra Clark Gaines died after a short illness in New Orleans. On May 13, 1889, four years after Myra Clark Gaines’ death, the US Supreme Court ruled against the City of New Orleans and awarded her heirs $576,707.92.

The controversy centered on two wills allegedly executed by Daniel Clark before his death on August 16, 1813, in New Orleans. The first will, dated in 1810, left the bulk of Daniel Clark’s estate to his mother, Mary Clark, with his business associates Relf and Chew as the executors. The second will, allegedly hand-written, dated on July 13, 1813, left his fortune to Myra Clark Gaines, with different executors. Daniel Clark had spoken of his second will prior to his death, stating that he was leaving everything to his daughter. After his death, the second will mysteriously disappeared, and the first will was probated.

In 1856, more than forty years after Clark executed his 1813 will, the Louisiana Supreme Court upheld Daniel Clark’s handwritten will in a decision by Chief Justice Edwin T. Merrick. The Louisiana Supreme Court commented on this lengthy litigation:

"We are not insensible to the argument that this claim has remained for forty years, without being set up in a court of justice in a form to be prosecuted to effect, and that rights have been acquired under the sales made under the will of 1811. The staleness of petitioner's suit is best answered by the reference to the litigation in which petitioner's alleged rights have been prosecuted in other forms, and we may suppose it did not become necessary to resort to the unusual proceeding of applying for the probate of a last will until after those cases were decided." (Succession of Clark)

Two years later, the Louisiana Supreme Court allowed the heirs of Daniel Clark's mother to contest Daniel Clark’s 1813 will. Concurring in the decision, Chief Justice Merrick explained the seeming inconsistency with the Court’s ruling two years earlier:

The plaintiffs in this action were not parties to the proceeding in which the will of 1813 was admitted to probate. They are, therefore, not only not concluded by the decree, but their right to contest the will in a direct action was expressly conceded in the opinion and reasoning of the court in that case, 11 La. Ann. 131. The only advantage the defendant gained by the decree, as between these parties, was the status of universal legatee, which throws the burden of proof upon the party seeking to deprive her of her position as such (Heirs of Clark v. Gaines).

The US Supreme Court, which ruled in approximately nine cases involving Myra Clark Gaines, issued its final ruling on May 13, 1889, four years after Myra Clark Gaines’ death, awarding her heirs $576,707.92 against the City of New Orleans. (New Orleans v. Gaines's Adm'r)

Twenty-eight years earlier, in 1861, the US Supreme Court decided that this case was “the most remarkable in the records of its courts,” ruling that Myra Clark Gaines was Daniel Clark’s heir and entitled to her father’s succession:

"Our judgment is, that by the law of Louisiana Mrs. Gaines is entitled to a legal filiation as the child of Daniel Clark and Marie Julia Carriere, begotten in lawful wedlock that she was made by her father in his last will his universal legatee and that the Civil Code of Louisiana, and the decisions and judgments given upon the same by the Supreme Court of that State, entitle her to her father's succession, subject to the payment of legacies mentioned in the record. We shall direct a mandate to be issued accordingly, with a reversal of the decree of the court below, and directing such a decree to be made by that court in the premises as it ought to have done. Thus, after a litigation of thirty years, has this court adjudicated the principles applicable to her rights in her father's estate. They are now finally settled.

"When hereafter some distinguished American lawyer shall retire from his practice to write the history of his country's jurisprudence, this case will be registered by him as the most remarkable in the records of its courts ." (Gaines v. Hennen)


Meek Mill Pleads Guilty To Misdemeanor Gun Charge, Ends 12-Year Legal Case

Meek Mill addresses supporters outside of a Philadelphia courthouse on Aug. 27 following a hearing in which the 12-year-old criminal case against him was finally resolved. Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images hide caption

Meek Mill addresses supporters outside of a Philadelphia courthouse on Aug. 27 following a hearing in which the 12-year-old criminal case against him was finally resolved.

Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images

Twelve years after Meek Mill was arrested as a 19-year-old in North Philadelphia on gun and drug charges, his criminal case has officially ended. On Tuesday, Meek pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor firearm charge in Philadelphia. Prosecutors then dismissed all remaining counts against him and the judge imposed no further penalty.

The drug and gun case against Meek, whose legal name is Robert Rihmeek Williams, has been active since his 2007 arrest, keeping the hip-hop artist on probation for nearly his entire adult life.

"Meek free! I'm not on probation no more," Meek said to a cheering crowd outside of the courthouse in Philadelphia's Center City. "I just wanted to come up here and thank all the supporters, because I know y'all probably have family members in jail or people going through the same thing as me. I will continue to do what I do with the reform movement and help the people that help me."

For years, Meek, now 32, clashed with a Philadelphia trial judge Genece Brinkley, who oversaw his case and accused the rapper of not following the rules of his probation, prompting Brinkley to repeatedly scold Mill. In November 2017, Brinkley sentenced Meek to two-to-four years in state prison over probation violations involving riding a dirt bike in New York and his role in an alleged scuffle in the St. Louis airport. This decision turned Meek's case into a lightning rod for criminal justice reform.

The Record

Meek Mill's Sentencing Generates Protest, Calls For Probation And Parole Reform

While behind bars, celebrity backers of Meek, including Jay-Z, T.I. and Kevin Hart, wrote high-profile op-eds, addressed supporters at rallies and voiced support on social media to highlight what they see as an unjust sentence emblematic of systemic inequities in America's prison system. Meek, who grew up in Strawberry Mansion, North Philadelphia, also had the support of many Philadelphians throughout his legal saga. During his dozens of court hearings, neighborhood friends and fans would pack the courtroom in support of his release.

Throughout this legal battle, Meek has stayed consistent with his musical output, dropping his most recent studio album, Championships, in Nov. 2018, which debuted No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200.

After serving five months of his sentence, a Pennsylvania appeals court released Meek from prison and granted him bail in April 2018. The appeals court later removed Brinkley from the case and granted the rapper a re-trial due, in large part, to the fact that the only witness who testified against Meek in his original case was a police officer who was later found of lying and theft.

Just before his conviction was tossed by the appeals court in July, Meek and Jay-Z were announced as co-chairs of the criminal justice reform organization REFORM Alliance that, to date, has claimed to have raised $50 million dedicated to "changing the laws, policies and practices that perpetuate injustice," starting with probation and parole.

National

Rapper Meek Mill Is Granted Retrial After Years-Long Legal Fight

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner released a statement on the news of Meek's case being dropped today, saying that the rapper "was unfairly treated in a case that exemplifies the destruction caused by excessive supervision, instances of corruption, and unfair processes in our criminal courts."

Krasner went on to say that Meek has "demonstrated significant rehabilitation he has evolved and grown" since his initial arrest more than a decade ago.

Meek took to Twitter to underscore his commitment to working as a criminal justice reformer. "I'm extremely grateful that my long legal battle is finally behind me and I appreciate that it has sparked a much-needed discussion about probation reform and the inequalities that exist within our two Americas," he posted.


Equal pay: Asda loses appeal in court case

The decision means that lower paid shop staff, who are mostly women, can compare themselves with higher paid warehouse workers, who are mostly men.

Asda said it was "disappointed" with the decision and added it remained confident in its case.

A ruling over whether the work is of equal value is likely to be in May.

Leigh Day, which represented the staff, said the judgement was a "major step forward in the fair pay battle".

Asda said: "We are obviously disappointed with the decision, which relates to a preliminary issue of whether jobs in different parts of the business can be compared."

It said it had brought the appeal "because it involved complex legal issues which have never been fully tested in the private sector and we will continue to ensure this case is given the legal scrutiny it deserves".

The Employment Tribunal first ruled against Asda in October 2016. It said shop workers, who mainly work at check-outs or stacking shelves, could compare themselves with staff who work at warehouses.

Asda then appealed against this decision on 10 different grounds.

In August 2017, the Employment Appeal Tribunal ruled all points of their appeal unsuccessful. Asda then took its case to the Court of Appeal.

Following Thursday's ruling, the Court of Appeal denied Asda the right to appeal. However, the BBC understands the supermarket chain intends to apply to the Supreme Court to appeal against the ruling there.

There are three key stages in an equal pay case

  • Are the jobs comparable?
  • If the jobs are comparable, are they of equal value?
  • If they are of equal value, is there a reason why the roles should not be paid equally?

Leigh Day represents more 30,000 shop floor staff from the big four supermarkets - Asda, Sainsbury's, Tesco and Morrisons - in similar cases.

The legal firm said if the four supermarkets lost their cases and were ordered to pay all eligible staff, the cost could be more than £8bn. However, that would only be if all 500,000 store workers made a claim.

The GMB union, which represents some Asda workers, welcomed what it described as Thursday's "landmark" judgment.

General secretary Tim Roache, said: "We know we're not all the way there, there are more hurdles to jump in this process and as always we remain ready to negotiate should Asda want to get round the table."

Asda said: "Our hourly rates of pay in stores are the same for female and male colleagues and this is equally true in our depots.

"Pay rates in stores differ from pay rates in distribution centres because the demands of the jobs in stores and the jobs in distribution centres are very different they operate in different market sectors and we pay the market rate in those sectors regardless of gender."


What is the longest running legal case? - History

The 56-year-old Hollywood star won an "eight-figure" settlement from Jake Bloom's firm, Bloom Hergott, according to Depp's lawyer.

LONDON - Johnny Depp has settled a legal dispute with a former lawyer he accused of dishonestly claiming millions of dollars in fees.

The 56-year-old Hollywood star won an "eight-figure" settlement from Jake Bloom's firm, Bloom Hergott, according to Depp's lawyer, whose client had alleged Bloom wrongly collected in excess of $30 million over nearly two decades.

Adam Waldman - who represented the actor in the case - said in a statement: "Today, Bloom Hergott provided Johnny Depp an eight-figure payment to settle Mr Depp's lawsuit against the firm for fraud, conflict of interest, disgorgement of over $30 million in voidable fees and other malfeasance that they engaged in over nearly two decades."

Depp - who is one of the movie industry's best-paid performers - launched legal action against Bloom in October 2017, arguing that their agreement ought to have been contractual, rather than simply based on a handshake.

Bloom subsequently counter-sued the iconic star, calling for the case to be thrown out by the courts in the US.

However, in August last year, a court in Los Angeles found in favour of the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory actor - which proved to be a decisive moment in the dispute.

Bryan Freedman - Bloom Hergott's lawyer - has confirmed an agreement has now been reached between both parties, though he stressed that the final sum of money was significantly less than what Depp was originally seeking in the dispute.

The lawyer added: "While the firm was confident it would prevail at trial, we are nonetheless pleased with this resolution as it expedites the firm's winding down the process and allows it to get off the endless Johnny Depp litigation train."


McLibel

Officially the longest case in English legal history, this ten year David v Goliath libel battle exposed the price of justice when corporations take on individuals. The fast food giant sued green campaigners David Morris and Helen Steel for libel over a stinging pamphlet criticising the their ethical credentials. McDonalds walked away with both a win and a PR disaster. The European court of human rights later declared in 2005 that the pair, who were unfunded and were representing themselves, had been denied their right to a fair trial.


Here are 7 of the most famous criminal law cases in U.S. history.

1. O.J. Simpson

The infamous case of O.J. Simpson was followed closely by the entire nation.

Former National Football League player, actor, and broadcaster O.J. Simpson was tried for two accounts of murder in 1994. Simpson was accused of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and a restaurant waiter, Ron Goldman.

Simpson was represented by a high-profile defense team, that many referred to as the Dream Team. It included famous names like Robert Shapiro, Johnnie Cochran, and Robert Kardashian.

Cochran was able to convince the jury that there was reasonable doubt about the DNA evidence, and he alleged misconduct by the Los Angeles Police Department.

The trial lasted 11 months, and Simpson was found not guilty. Since then, it is often referred to as “the trial of the century” and there have been television series, movies, and documentaries made about the trial.

However, the families of the deceased filed a civil lawsuit against Simpson. The jury unanimously found him guilty for both deaths, and awarded the families $33.5 million for compensatory and punitive damages.

Many feel the justice system prevailed 13 years later when Simpson was convicted and sentenced on robbery and weapons charges.

2. Martha Stewart

Unlike many criminal cases, Martha Stuart’s wasn’t based on heinous acts, but was related to insider trading.

In 2003, Stewart was indicted by the government on nine counts, including obstruction of justice and securities fraud.

Her trial was highly publicized due, partly because it was hard to believe that the queen of domestic living broke so many laws. Stewart was found guilty of felony charges of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and making false statements to federal investigators.

She was, however, found not guilty of having falsely claimed that there was an agreement to sell her shares of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia when the prices fell.

Stewart was sentenced to five months in prison, five months of home confinement, two-year probation, and a $30,000 fine.

3. Jeffrey Dahmer

Jeffrey Dahmer aka the Milwaukee Cannibal, was charged with four counts of murder in July 1991.

Less than a month later, he was charged with 11 more murders. At his preliminary hearing, Dahmer pleaded guilty, but insane, to 15 counts of murder.

Three months after his conviction, Dahmer was extradited to Ohio to be tried for the murder of his first victim. The court hearing only lasted 45 minutes, and Dahmer pleaded guilty again.

Dahmer was murdered by a fellow inmate, Christopher Scarver, while serving his sentence.

He took 17 victims in total, all males. The unfortunate legend of the American serial killer and cannibal lives on and is often mentioned in pop culture today.

4. Charles Manson

Charles Manson is the former cult leader of a group that became known as the Manson Family.

The cult was a quasi-commune at arose in California in the late 1960s, and Manson’s followers committed a series of nine murders.

Manson was convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder for the deaths of seven people, including the famous actress, Sharon Tate. Manson was also charged with first-degree murder convictions for two other deaths, and is currently serving multiple life sentences.

A decade following Tate’s murder, it was possible that the Manson Family members in jail would be granted parole. Tate’s mother organized a public campaign that resulted in amendments to the California criminal law.

5. Watergate Scandal

The Watergate scandal was a political scandal that happened in the 1970s, following a break-in at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington.

One of the main reasons the scandal become so well known was because of the involvement of President Richard Nixon and his administration.

Because of the break in, it was discovered that Nixon and his administration had bugged the offices of political opponents and order investigations of political figures.

Five men were arrested for breaking into the DNC, but the FBI found connections between the thieves and Nixon’s campaign organization.

It was discovered that Nixon had attempted to cover up activities after the break in, and used federal officials to do so. Instead of being impeached, Nixon resigned from the presidency.

To this day, the term Watergate is used synonymously with political scandals in the United States.

6. Richard Hauptmann

Richard Hauptmann was the man behind what many people called “the crime of the century” and dubbed “the most hated man in the world.”

Hauptmann was convicted of the abduction and murder of the 20 month-old son of famous aviator Charles Lindbergh, and his wife Anne Lindbergh.

In 1932, Charles Lindbergh Jr, was kidnapped from his home, and a $50,000 ransom note was delivered. Sadly, the infant’s body was discovered a few months after the kidnapping.

Two years after the abduction, a bank teller had received a $10 gold certificate from a gas station, with a serial number that matched the list of Lindbergh ransom bills.

The attendant had written the license plate number of the customer’s car, and the owner of the car was placed under surveillance. That owner was Richard Hauptmann.

Hauptmann quickly realized he was under surveillance and attempted to escape, but was captured.

Even though the evidence was circumstantial, Hauptmann was found guilt, and sentenced to death. On the death of his execution, Hauptmann told his spiritual advisor “ I am absolutely innocent of the crime with which I am burdened.”

7. The McMartin Preschool Abuse Trial

When the McMartin Preschool Abuse Trial happened it was the longest and most expensive criminal trial in American history.

It all started when a mother of a young boy who attended the McMartin Preschool told a detective that a school aide, Ray Buckey, had molested her son. The mother also made several other accusations about additional staff at the school.

The police sent a letter out to the parents of the students at McMartin school, asking the parents to question their children on whether they had been abused or not.

Several hundred students were interviewed by an abuse therapy clinic. It was said that the interviewing techniques used during the interviews invited the children to speculate about supposed events.

Soon after the interviews, the clinic claimed 360 children had been abused. Many people questioned the interview and findings of the clinic, and only 41 children testified during the grand jury.

Fewer than a dozen children testified at the actual trial. The trial was filled with bizarre and unusual allegations, such as witches, people flying, and underground tunnels.

Multiple teachers at the school were charged with 115 counts of child abuse, which expanded to 321 accounts involving almost 50 children.

The trial lasted seven years, cost $15 million, and ended in no convictions.

Since then, one of the children fully retracted the allegations of abuse, stating that the children were encouraged to give answers the clinic was looking for, even if they weren’t true. And later, an article in Los Angeles magazine said the case was “simply invented.”

Criminal Cases Throughout History

Throughout history, criminal law has seen the bad, the unexpected, and just bizarre.

Crime rates vary over time, but the current crime rates are equivalent to those in the 1960s.


Johnny Depp settles long-running legal case

Johnny Depp has settled a legal dispute with a former lawyer he accused of dishonestly claiming millions of dollars in fees.
The 56-year-old Hollywood star won an "eight-figure" settlement from Jake Bloom's firm, Bloom Hergott, according to Depp's lawyer, whose client had alleged Bloom wrongly collected in excess of $30 million over nearly two decades.
Adam Waldman - who represented the actor in the case - said in a statement: "Today, Bloom Hergott provided Johnny Depp an eight-figure payment to settle Mr Depp's lawsuit against the firm for fraud, conflict of interest, disgorgement of over $30 million in voidable fees and other malfeasance that they engaged in over nearly two decades."
Depp - who is one of the movie industry's best-paid performers - launched legal action against Bloom in October 2017, arguing that their agreement ought to have been contractual, rather than simply based on a handshake.
Bloom subsequently counter-sued the iconic star, calling for the case to be thrown out by the courts in the US.
However, in August last year, a court in Los Angeles found in favour of the 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' actor - which proved to be a decisive moment in the dispute.
Bryan Freedman - Bloom Hergott's lawyer - has confirmed an agreement has now been reached between both parties, though he stressed that the final sum of money was significantly less than what Depp was originally seeking in the dispute.
The lawyer added: "While the firm was confident it would prevail at trial, we are nonetheless pleased with this resolution as it expedites the firm's winding down process and allows it to get off the endless Johnny Depp litigation train."


Field of Schemes Fraud Results in Over a Decade in Federal Prison for Leader of Largest Organic Fraud Case in U.S. History

A Missouri man who fraudulently sold millions of dollars’ worth of non-organic grain as though it was organic was sentenced on August 16, 2019, to more than ten years in prison in federal court in Cedar Rapids. Three farmers from Nebraska who supplied him with non-organic grain were also sentenced to federal prison for their roles in a scheme to defraud customers across the United States.

Randy Constant, age 61, from Chillicothe, Missouri, received the prison term after a December 20, 2018, guilty plea to one count of wire fraud. Constant admitted the fraudulent scheme involved at least $142,433,475 in grain sales, and the vast majority of those sales were fraudulent. At his plea hearing, he admitted that, from 2010 to 2017, he misled customers into thinking they were buying certified organic grain when the grain he was selling was not organic. Constant admitted falsely telling customers the grain he sold was grown on his certified organic fields in Nebraska and Missouri when the grain was not organic either because he purchased the grain from other growers, the certified organic fields were sprayed with unauthorized chemicals, or organic grain was mixed with non-organic grain. Constant made many of the sales through a brokerage he owned that operated in Ossian, Iowa, known as Jericho Solutions. As part of the plea, Constant also agreed to forfeit $128,190,128 in proceeds from the fraudulent scheme.

Evidence at Constant’s sentencing showed that, for 2016, his sales equaled approximately 7% of all comparable organic corn grown and 8% of all organic soybeans grown in the United States. Overall, from 2010 to 2017, Constant sold more than 11,500,000 bushels of grain, over 90% of which was falsely marketed as organic. That amount of grain would fill approximately 3,600 rail cars or 14,375 semi-trailers.

Constant’s grain was mostly used as animal feed, primarily for chickens and cattle. That livestock was then sold as organic meat or products from the livestock were sold as organic products. Because of Constant’s fraud, most of the livestock that was fed his grain was not organic, causing thousands of consumers to purchase what they thought was organic meat for a premium price across the country.

Further evidence at sentencing showed that, during the time Constant was fraudulently selling grain as organic, he was spending money on gambling trips to Las Vegas with at least one other person involved in the scheme. Between 2010 and 2017, Constant went to Las Vegas more than 20 times, paying for flights, hotels, gambling, and escorts. Evidence further showed he had sexual relationships with three women who lived in Las Vegas. Over the course of the seven year scheme, Constant gave over $225,000 to two of these women as payment for services, purportedly for their work with his companies. In reality, the women did very little of value for Constant’s companies in exchange for the money. Constant’s banking records also showed more than $360,000 in additional Las Vegas-related expenses during the course of the scheme -- $110,000 of that total was charged to a bank account Constant shared with one of the women and included payments for an automobile, insurance, foreign travel, and breast augmentation surgery.

In related matters, three farmers from Nebraska that previously pled guilty to fraud involving sales of grain to Constant they grew that was fraudulently marketed as organic were also sentenced. Tom Brennan, age 71, James Brennan, age 41, and Mike Potter, age 42, all from near Overton, Nebraska, were each sentenced to federal prison after having pled guilty to one count of wire fraud.

At their respective plea hearings, each man admitted to growing grain between 2010 and 2017 that was not organic, often because they had sprayed the grain with chemicals. Each further admitted that they knew the grain was being marketed and sold as organic, even though it was not in fact organically grown. Evidence at sentencing showed the three farmers worked together to produce and sell the grain to Constant. Evidence further showed that, between the three farmers, they received more than $10,000,000 from Constant in connection with the scheme and that the majority of the grain they sold to Constant was not organic.

All four men were sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams. Constant was sentenced to 122 months’ imprisonment. He was also ordered to forfeit over $120 million in proceeds from his crime. In sentencing Constant, Judge Williams called the scheme a “massive fraud, perpetrated on consumers over a long period of time” and said that Constant “caused incalculable damage.”

James Brennan was sentenced to 20 months’ imprisonment. Potter was sentenced to 24 months’ imprisonment. Tom Brennan, whom the sentencing judge referred to as a “legitimate war hero” for his service in Vietnam, was sentenced to 3 months’ imprisonment. Each of the Nebraska farmers was also ordered to forfeit $1 million in proceeds from their crimes.

“Randy Constant and his co-conspirators lied to the American public and cheated thousands of consumers,” said United States Attorney Peter E. Deegan, Jr. “For years, Constant put personal greed and self-interest above all else. In doing so, he and his cohorts victimized thousands of people who were deceived into paying more for a product that they ultimately did not get. They also diluted the organic grain market to the financial disadvantage of organic farmers who were following the law. I want to commend the USDA Office of Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their work in bringing this matter to light. They demonstrated hard work and dedication to protecting the organic food market and American consumers.”

“This prosecution places would-be fraudsters on notice. The government has zero tolerance for individuals who might seek to defraud American consumers by criminally manipulating National Organic Program standards,” said Special Agent-in-Charge Anthony Mohatt of the US Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General. “It should also serve as a warning to everyone growing, certifying, distributing, and selling organically certified products. Fraud will be vigorously investigated and prosecuted by the USDA Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Attorney's Office, and all its federal, state, and local partners. USDA's Office of Inspector General is committed to ensuring fraud is eliminated from the National Organic Program so that consumers can have confidence in the USDA organic products they put on the table. The USDA Office of Inspector General applauds the steadfastness and resolution of the U.S. Attorney's Office in prosecuting this matter. We also appreciate the investigative assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service.”

“Organic agriculture is a fast growing sector in U.S. agriculture, creating jobs and promoting economic growth. This rapid growth has increased the complexity of supply chains that carry organic products from farm to table,” said National Organic Program Deputy Administrator Jennifer Tucker. Organic farmers and consumers are the foundation of this $52 billion sector. We are committed to helping good producers meet the standards, and to enforcing against those who break the law. The work of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in this case, and others, has a profound and lasting impact.”

“We are proud to work alongside our law enforcement partners to bring to justice individuals who have so blatantly betrayed the trust of consumers,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Mark Green of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Anyone with information about others involved in the scheme should contact our office, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Office of Inspector General, or the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jacob Schunk and Anthony Morfitt and investigated by the United States Department of Agriculture – Office of Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The case file number are 18-CR-2034, 18-CR-2058, 18-CR-2059, and 18-CR-2060. Follow us on Twitter @USAO_NDIA.


ANGLERS LOSE LONG-RUNNING LEGAL CASE OVER FISHING RIGHTS ON GWEEBARRA

A JUDGE has ruled against anglers involved in a long-running dispute over a Co Donegal fishery.

The anglers had been fishing the Gweebarra for a number of years until new rules came into force in 2007.

But a judgement in favour of the Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has sounded the deathknell for anglers hopes of being recognised as having “rights” to fish.

In a statement to Donegal Daily, the IFI said Ms Justice Laffoy’s delivered judgement in the High Court on the first module of the trial in the case of Inland Fisheries Ireland (“IFI”) v Peadar O’ Baoill and Others had ruled in its favour.

The organisation said the trial was sought by IFI to allow key issues to be determined in this first module with the objective of saving court time and costs. The module related to the most important sections of the fishery, parts of which are in State ownership and part private. All these sections are managed by IFI and include the famous “Mayo Pool”.

Said the IFI statement: “The key claim by the Defendants and others opposed to the new fishing arrangements introduced on the Gweebarra by the Northern Regional Fisheries Board (now IFI) in 2007 (following agreement with other stakeholders), was that they had acquired rights to fish freely without permit or other restriction by virtue of fishing in this manner for many years prior to 2007.

“They claimed they could continue to fish without the need for a permit from IFI on behalf of the State or private owners, as appropriate. If such rights were upheld it would have made the arrangements introduced in 2007 unworkable as the rod management plan which was central to the changes was dependent on regulation by issue of permits.

“The decision on this key claim for any section of the fishery had application throughout the freshwater fishery as if there were such rights, they would affect all owners and all sections. However the Judgement was emphatic in rejecting the Defendants’ claim in that regard stating-

“The reality is that the defendants have not established any right, public, or otherwise, to fish in the freshwater part of the Gweebarra River, including the part thereof the subject of this module”.

The IFI said the questions to be determined by the Court in this module and the answers given by the Judge were as follows-

(a) Does the plaintiff (Inland Fisheries Ireland) have the right to manage, control and regulate access to the lands marked in yellow (State owned) and green (Privately owned) on the relevant map

(b) Is the plaintiff (Inland Fisheries Ireland) entitled to the reliefs sought against the defendants insofar as the lands at (a) above are concerned?

(c) Are the defendants entitled to the reliefs set out in the counterclaim insofar as the lands at (a) above are concerned?

In short, said the IFI, it succeeded and the Defendants failed on all issues which were the subject of this module and, as already outlined above, the rejection of their claim to have acquired rights to fish without the permit of the owners extends to the entire freshwater part of the Gweebarra.

The IFI went on: “The statements on behalf of the Donegal Game Angling Federation as reported in the edition of the Donegal News on the 21st December are therefore quite incomprehensible in the circumstances given they claim among other things that the Judgement confirmed the Defendants’ rights to fish the Gweebarra when the exact opposite is the case.

“In her concluding remarks, the Judge urged the parties to avoid further expense by endeavouring to resolve the remainder of the dispute by local agreement and stated that “the Gweebarra River is a precious resource, which requires to be protected for this and future generations”- a view which IFI fully endorses.

“In that context IFI repeats it’s previously stated position that it has absolutely no wish to be involved in proceedings of this nature and remains committed to the protection of the Gweebarra fishery in its entirety, the public portion of which is a state asset. It welcomes any initiative which will allow for sustainable management of the fishery into the future. It is happy therefore to seek to resolve the remainder of the dispute, but such would have to be found in the context of existing legal agreements with other stakeholders.”