An Environmental Advocate Faces Jail Time For Peacefully Derailing The Government’s Auction Of Utah Land

Photo: Nodar Kherkheulidze

Photo: Nodar Kherkheulidze

Environmental hero or another illegal tactic of a peaceful activist? Jurors are often told that they must come to a verdict based on the law and not their moral conscious. Should DeChristopher get a 4 1/2 year prison sentence, or should his trial lead to a reconsideration of the law? AlterNet reports:

Tim DeChristopher is scheduled to be sentenced in a Salt Lake City courtroom by U.S. District Judge Dee Benson on July 26. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $750,000 fine for fraudulently bidding in December 2008 on parcels of land, including areas around eastern Utah’s national parks, which were being sold off by the Bush administration to the oil and natural gas industry. As Bidder No. 70, he drove up the prices of some of the bids and won more than a dozen other parcels for $1.8 million. The government is asking Judge Benson to send DeChristopher to prison for four and a half years.

His prosecution is evidence that our moral order has been turned upside down. The bankers and swindlers who trashed the global economy and wiped out some $40 trillion in wealth amass obscene amounts of money, much of it provided by taxpayers. They do not go to jail.

[Continues at AlterNet]

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  • Tacoaint1

    Hero.

    • Hadrian999

      hope he has a good lawyer

  • Tacoaint1

    Hero.

  • Anarchy Pony

    What a goddamn dirty tree hugger standing in the way of progress and prosperity. /sarcasm.

    • oil pump

      you bastard!!!!!! :p

  • Anarchy Wolf

    What a goddamn dirty tree hugger standing in the way of progress and prosperity. /sarcasm.

  • Mr Willow

    Said the oil and natural gas industry upon being informed:

    “What!? He can’t have that land until after we’ve raped it. He can have whatever’s left, though.”

  • Mr Willow

    Said the oil and natural gas industry upon being informed:

    “What!? He can’t have that land until after we’ve raped it. He can have whatever’s left, though.”

  • GoodDoktorBad

    To bad it’s only a temporary setback he caused. Still, I applaud him. 

  • Anonymous

    To bad it’s only a temporary setback he caused. Still, I applaud him. 

  • oil pump

    you bastard!!!!!! :p

  • Hadrian999

    hope he has a good lawyer

  • Marklar_Prime

    “Jurors are often told that they must come to a verdict based on the law and not their moral conscious.”

    … but of course that is a lie. No jury can be legally forced to follow such a restriction and juries are free to acquit when they disagree with the law itself regardless of any facts pertaining to a defendant’s guilt or innocence. This is called jury nullification and it is THE most powerful way for ordinary citizens to exert direct control over society and the laws of the land.

    • SF2K01

      This is actually a very basic instruction to a jury. The whole point of the jury is to decide, based on the evidence presented, whether a person is guilty or innocent according to a peers understanding, not to decide a verdict based on their personal feelings whether the law itself should exist, and the judge is reminding them of that. If the jurors refuse to follow basic procedure, the judge can set aside their verdict and deliver a correct one. Further, if it is openly known that a juror intends to nullify the law, the juror can be dismissed and replaced, usually resulting in a mistrial. I would hardly call it “the most powerful way for ordinary citizens to exert direct control over society and the laws of the land.”

  • http://twitter.com/Marklar_Prime Marklar Kronkite

    “Jurors are often told that they must come to a verdict based on the law and not their moral conscious.”

    … but of course that is a lie. No jury can be legally forced to follow such a restriction and juries are free to acquit when they disagree with the law itself regardless of any facts pertaining to a defendant’s guilt or innocence. This is called jury nullification and it is THE most powerful way for ordinary citizens to exert direct control over society and the laws of the land.

  • Anonymous

    This is actually a very basic instruction to a jury. The whole point of the jury is to decide, based on the evidence presented, whether a person is guilty or innocent according to a peers understanding, not to decide a verdict based on their personal feelings whether the law itself should exist, and the judge is reminding them of that. If the jurors refuse to follow basic procedure, the judge can set aside their verdict and deliver a correct one. Further, if it is openly known that a juror intends to nullify the law, the juror can be dismissed and replaced, usually resulting in a mistrial. I would hardly call it “the most powerful way for ordinary citizens to exert direct control over society and the laws of the land.”

  • SF2K01

    Much as what he’s doing probably sounded like a good idea at the time, but fraudulent bidding is a monetary crime that doesn’t become valid simply because he was doing it for a good cause.

    • Andrew

      The environment is more important than money or law.

  • Anonymous

    Much as what he’s doing probably sounded like a good idea at the time, but fraudulent bidding is a monetary crime that doesn’t become valid simply because he was doing it for a good cause.

  • Guest

    Freedom Of Speech!

    • Hadrian999

      i don’t see how that relates to the subject. Idealists frustrate me maybe because i used to be one. most of them seem content with moral victories that don’t amount to anything, with a little more planning and organization real changes can be achieved a little less publicity and bragging rights but a little more lasting impact.

  • Guest

    Freedom Of Speech!

  • Andrew

    The environment is more important than money or law.

  • Hadrian999

    i don’t see how that relates to the subject. Idealists frustrate me maybe because i used to be one. most of them seem content with moral victories that don’t amount to anything, with a little more planning and organization real changes can be achieved a little less publicity and bragging rights but a little more lasting impact.

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