United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER GRANTING RANDALL FOX'S MOTION TO WITHDRAW
S. Lasnik United States District Judge
matter comes before the Court on the motion of defendant
Randall Fox to withdraw his guilty plea. Dkt. # 190. Having
reviewed the memoranda and exhibits submitted by the parties,
as well as the remainder of the record in this case, and
having heard oral argument on the motion, the Court grants
the motion for the reasons that follow.
Randall Fox is charged with one count of conspiracy (under 18
U.S.C. § 371) and one count of Act to Prevent Pollution
from Ships (APPS) oil discharge violation (under 33 U.S.C.
§ 1908(a), 18 U.S.C. § 2, and 33 C.F.R.
§§ 151.10(a-b), 155.350). Dkt. # 4 at 4-5, 7-8. The
government alleges that defendant and his father, Bingham
Fox, knowingly operated Bingham Fox's boat, the F/V
Native Sun, without a functioning system to separate
oily water from water, and knowingly discharged oil into
navigable waters in potentially harmful quantities. Dkt. # 4
March 16, 2017, defendant pleaded guilty to both counts. Dkt.
# 137. Rather than enter into a plea agreement, defendant
submitted a “Factual Basis for Plea to Counts 1 and
2.” Dkt. # 141. As to the substantive APPS count,
defendant admitted to the following facts:
Between March 2013 and September 2013, Randall Fox served as
a crew member and then captain aboard the fishing vessel
(F/V) Native Sun. During that time period, the F/V Native Sun
accumulated enough water in the machinery space bilges that
the bilge needed to be drained while the ship was underway.
To achieve draining, Randall Fox operated a submersible pump
in the F/V Native Sun's machinery-space bilge that was
connected to a hose leading from the engine room over the
side of the F/V Native Sun. By this mechanism, Randall Fox
discharged machinery-space bilge water directly overboard
from the F/V Native Sun into the sea. This was done without
operating approved oil-water separating equipment, a bilge
monitor, bilge alarm, or combination thereof.
Dkt. # 141 at 1-2. As to the conspiracy count, defendant
admitted to these facts:
Between March 2013 and September 2013, while aboard the F/V
Native Sun, Randall Fox also entered into an implicit
agreement with other crew members to knowingly commit an
offense against the United States, specifically the Act to
Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS). Specifically, Randall
Fox was taught by a former captain of the F/V Native Sun to
discharge machinery space bilge water into the sea in the
above-described manner. Mr. Fox admits to committing the
overt act addressed in Paragraph 9 of the Indictment,
While the F/V Native Sun was underway on or about June 15,
2013, Randall Fox operated submersible pumps in the machinery
space bilges without using oil-separating equipment, a bilge
monitor, bilge alarm, or combination thereof, and discharged
machinery space bilge water through overboard hoses and into
the sea. That same day, the following was entered in the F/V
Native Sun's log book: “[s]tart mains, Grease
shaft, pump bildge [sic].”
Dkt. # 141 at 2. Defendant's sentencing was scheduled for
June 16, 2017.
Meanwhile, over the course of five days between March 21 and
March 29, 2017, defendant's father and co-defendant,
Bingham Fox, was tried before a jury. On March 30, 2017,
after deliberating for just under five hours, the jury found
Bingham Fox not guilty of conspiracy to violate the Clean
Water Act and APPS, and guilty of a substantive Clean Water
Dkt. ## 173, 177.
April 25, 2017, defendant Randall Fox filed this motion to
withdraw his guilty plea pursuant to Fed. R. Crim. P.
11(d)(2)(B), on the grounds that the factual basis of his
plea is insufficient to find him guilty of both counts. Dkt.