On Friday, a federal judge ruled that the people in Hillcrest and other Corpus Christi neighborhoods that were harmed by the illegal pollution created by Citgo's East Refinery have the right to be considered crime victims in the sentencing phase of the case against Citgo.
This is a landmark case, as it is the first time a refinery has ever been convicted of criminal charges. It is also the first time residents living near a refinery have been recognized as potential crime victims.
Citgo is already talking about all of its appeals, of course, and I have no doubt that it will use its corporate money to continue its wicked appealing until all of the damaged children of Hillcrest have grown old (or not) and died. Citgo will pay any amount, it seems, to avoid doing the right thing.
All the same, it is a good precedent for the court to set. It is good to at least recognize that it is a crime for corporations to sicken communities full of people who might have otherwise lived healthy lives.