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FINED, CONVICTED AND LOCKED UP FOR 21 MONTHS
"It's hard to believe that you can become a convicted felon for something like this."

Those were the words of Carey Mills, son of Ocie Mills. Both were found guilty of violating the Clean Water Act for placing 19 loads of fill dirt on their 65 foot sea front property. They were fined and served 21 months in a federal penitentiary. After their time in prison they had to "restore the property to it's original wetland elevation."

It all started in 1986 when the Army Corps of Engineers served a Cease and Desist order for "polluting the navigable waters of the United States." Even though the Mills had all the proper permits and was working in the area the Corp had prior agreed was not a wetland, the Corps forced the Mills into court.

With no money to hire an attorney, Ocie and his son Carey went to trial in January of 1989. The odds were stacked against them when the three attorneys from the justice Department, the Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency moved to disallow all of Ocie's evidence which showed he was working lawfully with the approval of the State Regulatory Agency. Unfortunately, the Judge still allowed Mills to be charged under a federal indictment for a wetlands violation. " I couldn't believe it , my knees went weak. Up to that point in time I didn't even have a speeding ticket." In 1996, Quenton Wise, a juror in Ocie's original trial came forward and admitted publicly that: "I felt almost threatened or intimidated by Mr.Smith( jury foreman) during the trial. The jurors were pre-decided against Mills by information which we received from Mr. Smith, which was not part of the evidence." Mr. Wise was referring to information about Ocie that the jury foreman had received in confidence from his son who worked for the State of Florida Water Management office. Ocie's fight for justice is a remarkable story, and it continues still today as they work to right a wrong that not only vindicates the Mills but other Americans facing corrupt environmental agencies.

CONTACT: ocieC@aol.com or his attorney Ron Johnson at ronjon1@prodigy.net

 

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