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NYT Does Fundraiser For A Green Hero

From a besotted New York Times:

Legal Cost for Throwing a Monkey Wrench


October 10, 2009

SALT LAKE CITY — Tim DeChristopher became convinced last year that global warming’s potential effects were so urgent and dire that direct action was needed. The niceties of debate and environmental lobbying were not getting the job done, he said.

So in December Mr. DeChristopher went to a federal auction of oil and gas leases — offered in the Bush administration’s closing days and even then the subject of protests and lawsuits — and bid on contracts that he had neither the money nor intent to actually fulfill.

“My intention was to cause as much of a disruption to the auction as I could,” said Mr. DeChristopher, a soft-spoken 27-year-old economics student at the University of Utah. “Making that decision — that keeping the oil in the ground was worth going to prison — that was the decision I made.”

Now, as his federal criminal case nears trial — he is charged with two felony counts of interfering with an auction and making false statements on bidding forms — a broader debate with legal, political and environmental threads is unfolding from here to Washington about what he did and what it means.

Was Mr. DeChristopher a lone-wolf grandstander whose actions changed nothing, just another lawbreaker or the spark for a new protest movement? Given Mr. DeChristopher’s passionate public admissions — though he has entered a plea of not guilty — how will the judge frame the discussion of guilt or innocence before a jury? And will federal energy policies be in the docket with him, as he hopes, up for critique as part of his defense?

“Bush and the B.L.M. should be on trial here,” said Mr. DeChristopher’s lawyer, Ronald J. Yengich, referring to the federal Bureau of Land Management, which oversaw the leasing process.

Mr. Yengich, a veteran of civil rights battles in Utah — he defended protesters against President Jimmy Carter in the 1970s and anti-nuclear activists in the 1990s — has asked Judge Dee Benson of Federal District Court to allow a so-called necessity defense at the trial. That would enable Mr. DeChristopher to argue that he faced a “choice of evils” that justified breaking the law…

Mr. DeChristopher’s supporters say that the logic is faulty — that the legal challenges and critical government reviews took the course they did in part because of the attention Mr. DeChristopher drew to the issue by putting himself on the line.

“It started an avalanche, and the story caught on,” said Ashley Anderson, a friend of Mr. DeChristopher and co-founder of Peaceful Uprising, a group that seeks to expand on Mr. DeChristopher’s actions. The group is organizing what Mr. Anderson said would be a major rally for later this month to support talks to reduce emissions of heat-trapping gases.

“Tim woke a lot of people up,” Mr. Anderson said.

If convicted, Mr. DeChristopher faces up to five years in prison on each of the two counts and up to $750,000 in fines.

Legal scholars say case law about the necessity defense, especially in civil disobedience or protest cases, usually requires that a complicated series of hurdles be cleared. Defendants must show that they faced a choice of evils: to break a law or to allow some other bad result to proceed…

In a way, Mr. DeChristopher said, the findings about the leases since the auction have already vindicated him.

“I thought of yelling something or throwing a shoe,” he said, recalling the auction day. “What I did was far more effective than I could have been with a shoe.”

At last the New York Times has found a hero they can believe in.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, October 12th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

5 Responses to “NYT Does Fundraiser For A Green Hero”

  1. Rusty Shackleford says:

    And if a conservative had done something similar….

  2. proreason says:

    Fry him.

    The potential damage from attempting to disrupt the nation’s fuel supply far exceeds the damage any bank robber or Mafioso could inflict.

    He should rot in jail.

  3. Confucius says:

    The picture is hilarious.

    He’s wearing winter clothing! And it’s synthetic, meaning it was likely made from oil!

  4. VMAN says:

    I’m sure after he’s convicted The O boy (did I say that) will pardon him.

  5. xdannyh says:

    At Last:! Here is a legal argument that any conservative can believe in: “….has asked Judge Dee Benson of Federal District Court to allow a so-called necessity defense at the trial. That would enable Mr. DeChristopher to argue that he faced a “choice of evils” that justified breaking the law”……Yes the “necessity defense” should be allowed to any conservative that refuses to go along with the neo-com Obama line. Like taxes, voter rights, re-districting, bailouts, diversification, funding acorn,allowing elected officials to change party affiliation after the fact,Illegal immigration “non observance”, government take over of private business, honoring the Federal Reserve, etc. etc. I mean what a better definition of “choice of evils:”

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