Tim DeChristopher sentenced to two years in prison

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Catchfire Catchfire's picture
Tim DeChristopher sentenced to two years in prison

A sad day for democracy.

[quote]At 3:00 pm MST today, the end of a very long and emotional saga came to fruition as the gavel banged down on the judge’s desk in a federal courthouse in Salt Lake City, Utah. Tim DeChristopher, convicted earlier this year with two federal felonies, will be spending two years in prison for his creative act of non-violent protest against an illegitimate oil and gas lease auction set up by the Bush administration in late 2008. Known as “Bidder 70”, the climate activist swiftly shut down the auction by pretending to buy millions of dollars worth of public Utah land leases originally intended to go to oil and gas companies. Tim was immediately taken into custody on Tuesday after the sentencing was announced.  He faces a $10,000 fine as well. 

Many have heard of his story in the three years since he picked up that fateful Bidder 70 paddle. The trial was delayed eight times and sentencing was supposed to happen last month at the end of June, but ended up being pushed back by a month at the last minute. During this time, Tim has garnered a large following as he’s travelled the country talking about his experiences with the injustices of the court system. 

He’s used this platform to effectively inspire others to consider non-violent civil disobedience as a strategy for shifting power away from domineering fossil fuel industries and back into the hands of the people fighting for a livable future. Tim talked about transforming the economyinto something more than a cleaner, greener version of what is currently in place - a total system change that decentralizes large energy conglomerates, emboldens the power of local community, and works for the benefit of more than the richest 1% of the country. [/quote]

Issues Pages: 
Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Activist punished for his politics

[quote]On Tuesday, July 26, Tim DeChristopher was sentenced to two years in prison and taken away from the courthouse without goodbyes or the option to self-report. In court, Tim said “You can put me in prison but it will not deter my future of civil disobedience and it won’t deter others who are willing to fight to defend a livable future.”

Outside the Courthouse, hundreds of supporters had gathered from the Salt Lake City community, singing, chanting, and speaking out as they bore witness to the sentencing.

Immediately after the bang of the gavel Ashely Anderson and Ashley Sanders were hauled out of the courtroom for loudly rallying people inside saying, "this court has proven itself incapable of justice. So the people will take it back -- it is now our court!" foreshadowing the civil disobedience to come outside. As Henia Belalia left the Courthouse, she made an official statement declaring, “If there was ever a day in history to take action, this is it.” And people took action.[/quote]


Freedom 55

Tim DeChristopher's address to the court:

[url=http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/07/26-13]I Do Not Want Mercy, I Want You To Join Me[/url]

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

[quote=Freedom 55]

Tim DeChristopher's address to the court:

[url=http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/07/26-13]I Do Not Want Mercy, I Want You To Join Me[/url][/quote]

This link is required reading for everyone who loves this planet and longs for justice. What a remarkable writer he is.


this had me so angry.  the stupidest thing is he offered to actually pay for the land but the auction refused.  how is that not a crime?  And what about the a-holes that decided to illegally auction off public property for pennies on the dollar to their best friends?  why has no one sued them?

And the court literally said to the world "we're giving him an extra harsh sentence to discourage others from doing this."  as well as withholding all the most crucial information from the jurors.  If i wasn't bald, this would make me pull my hair out!

This is just part of a long history of harassing and imprisoning/torturing activists who find ways to protest that actually work.  

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

[quote= Chip Ward]

If you drag heavy fishnets across the ocean floor and pulverize an entire ecosystem, ending thousands of years of dynamic evolution and depriving future generations of a healthy ocean, it’s called free enterprise.  But if, like Tim DeChristopher, you disrupt an auction of public land to oil and gas companies, it’s called a crime and you get two years in jail.[/quote]


Freedom 55

[url=http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/03/28-5]Climate Activist DeChristopher Facing Cruel Punishment in Prison?[/url]


In the same March week that an unprecedented heat wave made even President Obama feel “a little nervous,” imprisoned climate change activist Tim DeChristopher languished mysteriously in isolation at the FCI Herlong’s Special Housing Unit in California.

According to a press release from DeChristopher’s Peaceful Uprising organization, an unidentified member of the US Congress possibly engineered the troubling transfer of the courageous “Bidder 70″–who brought national attention to reckless public land auctions in Utah and climate issues–due to personal correspondence between DeChristopher and a friend over a legal fund contributor.

According to Peaceful Uprising, the confinement to isolation limits DeChristopher’s outside telephone communication to 15 minutes per month, among other restrictions, and raises issues of cruel and unusual punishment, especially considering the long waiting list for similar measures:

"Tim will continue to be held in isolated confinement pending an investigation. There is no definite timeline for inmates being held in the SHU — often times they await months for the conclusion of an investigation."

Unanswered questions abound over DeChristopher’s extreme treatment and the role of Congressional members. He still faces nearly a year and a half of incarceration–potentially all of it to be served in isolation now.[/quote]


[url=http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/10/09-1]Tim DeChristopher Released From Prison[/url]

[quote]Activist Tim DeChristopher, who was jailed for the past 18 months for disrupting a leasing auction for federal oil and gas exploration, has been released from prison. He is due to serve the remaining six months of his sentence at a halfway house in Salt Lake City, reports Deseret News.[/quote]

[quote]DeChristopher released a statement last month that he was suspending his appeal explaining that the court has forbidden any discussion of "ethics, justice or the role of citizens," restricting his defense to a "narrow range of technicalities rather than the critical issues of the case."[/quote]