Criminal negligence: as bad as shoplifting?
Anthony Badalamenti’s punishment does not fit the bill
Article: Alec Salloum – News Editor
Remember the BP oil spill? The one in 2010 where 11 people were killed from an explosion, 794,936,500 liters of crude oil gushed into a 180,000 km2 area and caused massive irreparable damage to the surrounding ecosystem?
Well Halliburton, a massive US oil company operating in more than 80 countries with a history of interest piquing lobbying, recently had one of its former higher ups sentenced. Now sentenced might be a bit harsh of term considering the then manager, Anthony Badalamenti, was slapped on the wrist with a year probation, 100 hours community service and a $1000 fine.
What Badalamenti was found guilty of is destroying evidence, ordering two employees under him to do so, in an investigation into the blast and subsequent leak. Halliburton was the concrete contractor on the project and were tasked with securing the pipelines.
The deleted information pertains to a post oil spill report focused on the concrete used. It’s easy to speculate what damning evidence was deleted, but Badalamenti got his.
A year’s probation is the same punishment one would receive for having too many speeding tickets, shoplifting or, in the US, a first charge of possession of a controlled substance. The point of bringing up these examples shows how fucking innocuous one year probation is.
This court ruling was marred by other farcical nonsense, like the judge saying, “I still feel that you’re a very honorable man.” Seems a bit irrelevant since at no point was the moral character of Badalamenti in question.
Even more absurd is the next comment from the judge. “I have no doubt that you’ve learned from this mistake.” This isn’t a child being scolded for disobeying a teacher or for drawing on the walls with markers getting some conciliatory talking to. No, this was a judge making a total mockery of justice, enabling and exhuming someone who knowingly attempted to obstruct justice. Badalamenti intentionally destroyed evidence, which in self is a criminal offence known as Spoliation of Evidence.
The simplest explanation I could find for the leniency granted to Badalamenti was that Halliburton cut a $55 million deal with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and paid $200,000 to the Justice Department.
Even more absurd in the resulting court proceedings from the Gulf Oil spill is the trial of Kurt Mix. Mix was a BP drilling engineer also charged with trying to obstruct the federal justice process. Unfortunately for Mix, he doesn’t have massive corporate interests keeping him out of jail. March 26 will be the day he faces potentially 20 years in prison and $250,000 in damages due.
I’m not calling for Badalamenti to be sentenced to life in prison. All I want is a fair trial and inquiry. All I want is for some form of justice to exist that permeates all people equally, regardless of wealth and status.