Judge rejects DeChristopher's 'necessity defense'

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  • RE: Matthew 1:33 p.m.
    Nov. 17, 2009 4:43 p.m.

    The judge deciding all four issues went against DeChristopher doesn't indicate he was reaching at all. It's a product of our legal system. Good Lawyers and judges always argue that every element they need to prove weighs in the their favor (unless it hurts their credibilty with a judge or appellate court to do so). Good lawyers never put all their eggs in one basket. You always cover all your bases just in case a judge (or appellate court) disagrees with what you think is a no-lose argument.

    Second, it's pretty hard to tell from this article why the judge ruled the way he did. We really need more facts (like the judge's actual opinion) before we can say DeChristopher "clearly" met any of the elements of the necessity defense.

  • An logical conclusion...
    Nov. 17, 2009 3:36 p.m.

    The judge ruled on the law, and that was that. Let's take this to an logical conclusion for using this defense............I felt the need to (fill in the blank) because of necessity and my views are paramount to the law. Because I thought it was necessary, I should be able to do what I want and not face the consequences.

    Nope, sorry. There is case law for this defense and this case did not fit, so it didn't go forward. Simple as that.

  • Pagan
    Nov. 17, 2009 2:22 p.m.

    'Pagan 1:36- you're not very bright, are you.'

    Luke. Hey, your the one sitting on 49,000 tons of depleted uranium 'donated' by energy solutions in Utah and doing nothing about it.

    Your pretty sterile, aren't you?

  • Honest Luke
    Nov. 17, 2009 2:12 p.m.

    Ron Yengich should be jailed for contempt of court. He's a curse on this great state. Pagan 1:36- you're not very bright, are you.

  • geedub
    Nov. 17, 2009 2:05 p.m.

    I agree with "Pagan". He won the bid, now make him pay for the leases. How much does he owe? I sure the Audobon Soc, Sierra Club, Peta, ELF will chip in. Call Al Gore, he's worth million$, surely he'll help!

  • Pagan
    Nov. 17, 2009 1:36 p.m.

    It was a public auction. I don't think he did anything wrong.

  • Matthew
    Nov. 17, 2009 1:33 p.m.

    He is standing trial, so what is everybody's gripe? That he is mounting a defense? Seems constitutional to me. It isn't like he is on the lam. He is facing up to the consequences of his decision. Agree with him, or not, it shows above average guts.

    Beyond all that. I find it interesting that the judge tried to refute all four necessary conditions for such a defense. The first three seem to pretty clearly apply to this case. The fourth, arguably, does not. The judge must not be too sure of himself to being reaching so far to justify his dismissal of the defense.

    Finally, the sun rises in the east. No, I won't cite a source for that. Some things are so easily found on the Internet that the need to provide a citation ceases to exist.

    Saying it doesn't make it so and ignoring it doesn't make it not so.

  • Rosa Parks
    Nov. 17, 2009 1:06 p.m.

    Paid the fine. So do the time.

  • Mike K.
    Nov. 17, 2009 12:34 p.m.

    What bothers me is how hard he is trying to get out of his punishment. If your going to try to throw a wrench into the works, stand up for your convictions when your day comes and take your lumps. Otherwise your saying your cause means nothing to you when you actually have to sacrifice something.

  • To Evil Law,
    Nov. 17, 2009 12:11 p.m.

    Yes, what happened at the Boston Tea Party was against the law. Those who perpetrated the illegal act, had they been caught, would've been subjected to the punishment affixed to the crime. If DeChristopher had the courage of our forefathers, he would plea to the charges and do his time, thus becoming a true "martyr" to his cause. Unfortunately, the environmental whacko crowd doesn't seem to be big on accepting the consequences of its actions.
    UU Science prof @ 10:56, if you want to throw stats around, throw the source out there too. Otherwise, you look as crazy as DeChristopher.

  • TO: Immoral & evil law
    Nov. 17, 2009 11:58 a.m.

    I can't believe everyone who's comparing this to Rosa Parks and especially our founding fathers! To put this guy in that same category is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard!! The fact is environmentalism is getting out of hand and we as a people need to reign it in a little.

    These environmental extremists are not doing our nation any favors. If they really want to effect change, why not take the more honorable road and do it legally? There are more public forums available to us now that ever before! It's much harder and takes more patience than the ridiculous act performed here, but ultimately will be more effective in changing people's attitudes.

    From all appearances, this guy is nothing more than a trouble maker...

  • UU science prof
    Nov. 17, 2009 10:56 a.m.

    CO2 in the atmosphere has increased 40% in the last 200 years (275 to 385 ppm), there's no dispute of that data. Anyone who is denying the magnitude of that fact and its current and future impact is sadly ignorant. The auction was reversed anyway because it was illegal itself, so why is he being charged for attempting to disrupt illegal activity?!

  • CB
    Nov. 17, 2009 10:06 a.m.

    Take a plea deal. Learn your lesson. Save yourself the embarrassment of believing in Gore, who would have given you the money to buy the land if he really believed in what he is preaching.

  • Yup...
    Nov. 17, 2009 9:51 a.m.

    Black letter law wins out. The judge really had no choice on this. Despite the claims of the defense lawyer there was no legal basis to allow the proposed defense theory to go forward. The reality is this will end in a guilty verdict as black letter law prescribes but the jury will also have its say. Some how some way life will go on for all sides. We learn from our mistakes and we move on.

  • Intelligence Nullification
    Nov. 17, 2009 9:39 a.m.

    Dave 8:49, better stick to Judge Judy for your legal opinions. To defend a charge such as this with the vacuous "necessity defense" would be a mockery of our court system.

    O.J. all the way. O.J. all the way.

  • Yengich
    Nov. 17, 2009 9:04 a.m.

    Ron Yengich is a good man and a good lawyer, and is fulfilling a necessary role in providing the best defense consistent with the facts. The fact that he didn't appeal the decision likely means that he knows it was a long shot. Heap your scorn on his client, who broke the law, not on Yengich, who is pursuing legitimate defenses for his client (which is what good lawyers do).

  • Dave
    Nov. 17, 2009 8:49 a.m.

    Regardless of your opinions of global warming or MR DeChristopher, this ruling should be looked upon as a travesty by any free thinking individual.

    For all you and I know, this defense may actually sum up the defendants thought process when he committed the act.

    A defendant should be able to present whatever he feels necessary in his case, subject to relevance, of course. It should then be the role of the jury to sort out whether that defense is credible.

    For a judge to pre-emptively block a defense before it's even presented to the just is a mockery of our court system. "Well, you can't efned yourself using THAT logic, you'll have to find something else." What if there is nothing else?

    Guess it's a good thing i'm not on the jury. I'd be nullifying on general principle now.

  • Ha
    Nov. 17, 2009 8:11 a.m.

    Love to see Yenginch's case fail.

  • Sandy
    Nov. 17, 2009 8:02 a.m.

    I'll bet DeChristopher in time could have raised the money among his supporters to purchase the lands . . . too bad he did not he try that. How much stronger the case would be if he had thought that through. He could have organized his movement to buy lands parcel by parcel, and hold them for the purposes, till the gove't was ready to see things their way. or not, as the case may be. But the lands would have been protected.

    I do hope he willingly accepts the full penalty of the law, and then works within the law to advance his cause. THis is a nation of laws. There are some bad ones. But it's submission to law that has made it great. Not submission to the loudest voice or the most powerful person.

    Correct abuses; Fight for right; but do it with patience, and legally.

    How does the college professor feel who encouraged and taught him to do this? Perhaps he should be on trial for inspiring a young person to tie up his life and reduce his effectiveness in this way.

  • John C
    Nov. 17, 2009 7:42 a.m.

    Timj, what does publicly rode mean?

  • Clueless comments
    Nov. 17, 2009 6:27 a.m.

    It seems obvious that the necessity defense should apply. That the Bush administration was ignoring established regulations in leasing out certain parcels near Canyonlands for oil drilling has been acknowledged by the Obama administration, which has since declined to put those parcels back on the market. Given the time allowed, Dechristopher had no way of preventing the lease issuance by legal means. Instead, he chose a method that harmed no one. For a group whose nation was founded by revolutionaries who acted illegally in opposition to an unjust government, Americans seem hypocritical in excoriating those who do so today.

  • No kidding?
    Nov. 17, 2009 5:01 a.m.

    I suspect Tim DeChristopher had no idea how deep he was getting himself in when he bid on the leases. He does now, and hopefully the rest of the misguided have wised up and will spare us the agony of going through this again. Let's get on with it and get it over with - quick! And to you who think we'll one day thank him for his courage and his contributions, perhaps, but only if his example serves to wake you up to reality.

  • Timj
    Nov. 17, 2009 4:20 a.m.

    Meanwhile, those who illegally and publicly rode over federal land, including local politicians, don't get so much as a ticket. Got to love Utah politics, where those who perform illegal political actions only get charged when their politics are liberal.
    Great double-standard there.

  • Immoral & evil law can be broken
    Nov. 17, 2009 1:53 a.m.


    "No matter how unjust he thinks the law is, it's still the law."

    Why don't you tell that to our founding fathers and especially the ones who boarded a private owned ship in the middle of the night in 1773 dressed as Native Americans and destroyed private property by throwing it over the side. Or you could tell it to those who took the Governor's carriage hostage, or those who destroyed the homes of tax collectors who were just doing their job. Or you could tell it to those who tarred and feathered loyalists and drove them from their homes.

    The point I am making is that the law isn't the law when it's unjust and a man made law can be unlawful. Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat should not have given up her seat because the law was unjust and those who hid runaway slaves had every right to break the law because it was unjust. Those who hid Jews in Nazi Germany were right to do so even though it was against the law of a republican government.

    DeChristopher was right to stop this unlawful sale.

  • Please...
    Nov. 17, 2009 12:25 a.m.

    It's easy to be an antagonist, but once you come face to face with the consequences, things change a little. He had a choice, not to choose between the lesser evil, but to NOT BID! Once he bid, he broke the law (with his intention of never paying for the land). He has no case. He needs to do the "hero" thing and pay for his stupidity.

    No matter how unjust he thinks the law is, it's still the law.

  • There are other ways to protest
    Nov. 16, 2009 10:29 p.m.

    In a country that values opinions and free speech, he could have expressed his views in a much better way. There are legal and effective ways to protest which he easily could have done.

    I actually agree with a lot of these people trying to make the earth a better place but too often it turns into a proud stance. Its as if these people feel superior to you and me and hold themselves above the law.

    This whole, "protect the environment" movement is kind of a trend with too many extremest. I will be happy when they move on to something else and stop hurting the cause.

  • Anonymous
    Nov. 16, 2009 10:05 p.m.

    Oh yeah, let's put this guy in the same category as Rosa Parks and other iconic people who knew how to truly stand up for their rights.

    Whatever, make him pay for each dollar he bid.

  • Hero of Canton
    Nov. 16, 2009 9:16 p.m.

    This man broke the law and should go to jail for what he did, it's as simple as that. I don't care what your beliefs are, you can't just willy nilly break the law and expect clemency because you think you are acting for some greater good.

    Nevermind the fact that there is no solid proof that man is the cause of global warming...er...global cooling...er...global climate change.

  • UTAG
    Nov. 16, 2009 9:12 p.m.

    +1 to the statements above from Common Sense and Jason. Mr. DeChristopher and his defense team is wasting valuable time and taxpayer money in this case. The defendant fraudulently filled out and signed legally binding federal documents, and he did it knowingly and willingly. If there's no penalty for that, then what good is a legally-binding document anyway?

    There are legal ways to protest and Mr. DeChristopher chose to ignore those options and, instead, violate the law. Sorry...whether one agrees with his position on global warming or not, he intentionally broke the law, he did it in a premeditated way, and he's not apologetic or willing to make restitution. I can appreciate his concerns, but I wholeheartedly repudiate his actions.

    Many thanks for your common sense and decency, Judge Benson.

  • Joseph
    Nov. 16, 2009 8:55 p.m.

    "One day however" thanks for your contributions...maybe one day the people of Utah will "see" the evidence with "Wildfires and water shortages and earthquakes with devastaing results.
    Ignorance has a price to pay also. One man may go to jail but thousands will pay High water bills and wildfire deaths so that someday someone my listen to the environment

  • A good day
    Nov. 16, 2009 8:08 p.m.

    Thank you!! Thank You Very Much!! Judge Dee Benson

  • The Defense is legal
    Nov. 16, 2009 7:59 p.m.

    and used frequently. However, it is not applicable in this case. As Tolman stated there is plenty of case law regarding this defense and what constitutes the proper application of each element. Frankly, Yengich backing down surprises me. I would have thought he would have appealed the ruling at least to the next highest court if not the Utah Supreme Court...makes me think he realizes he doesn't have much of a case...

  • One day, however
    Nov. 16, 2009 7:51 p.m.

    One day, however, DeChristopher will be remembered and honored for his courage. So many in the past were at first derided and condemned for their insights and actions, but time showed they were right.

  • Jason
    Nov. 16, 2009 7:45 p.m.

    Come on Tim, if your so worried about the environment, take a plea instead of using up the courts time, the energy it takes to run the courthouse, the fossil fuels that will be burned getting you to court and back, the energy it will take to keep you in prison, and the CO2 that will spew out of your mouth in defending your act of aggression against the U.S.. Your an environmental terrorist and now your wasting our energy.

  • Common Sense
    Nov. 16, 2009 7:15 p.m.

    It's only common sense that the Judge should bar such a ridiculous defense. It's the equivalent of saying "the devil made me do it." Or, my beliefs are so superior to yours, that the end justifies my means. Completely and utterly ridiculous, Yengich should be slapped with a frivolous lawsuit penalty for chewing up taxpayer supported court time with his publicity stunts.

  • Pwned!
    Nov. 16, 2009 7:12 p.m.

    Enjoy your time in jail, hippy!

  • Yengich
    Nov. 16, 2009 7:02 p.m.

    looks like a leader of the looney leftist movement in America. It appears the American people are waking up though

  • Just a Guy
    Nov. 16, 2009 6:52 p.m.

    Throw the book at him. Man caused global warming is a MYTH!!!

  • Tom C.
    Nov. 16, 2009 6:44 p.m.

    The enviornmental movement is totally wacked. Yengich should go to jail for trying to congure up a defence scheme like this.