Tim DeChristopher defense to try to make its case Wednesday

Testimony: DeChristopher 'laughed' when told tally of his bids

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  • UtahnativeinliberalCA Claremont, CA
    March 2, 2011 8:41 p.m.

    He broke the law with full knowledge that he was breaking the law. Now he needs to pay the full penalty required by breaking the law.

  • Voice of Reason Layton, UT
    March 2, 2011 5:34 p.m.

    "Imagine if you were speeding to get your wife to he hospital and you received a ticket. Would you want the jury to know why you were speeding?"

    That's called the "necessity defense", and it can only be argued by the defense if the judge allows it, which the judge has not for fairly obvious reasons in this case.

    The necessity defense is for cases where a person clearly would be in imminent danger if a particular law was followed, such as speeding to get your wife to the hospital; the standard for using it has always been very narrowly defined, to keep it from being misused to get out of responsibility for a clear crime...as in this case. It has never been considered to include political arguments rooted in policy disagreements, as Tim's case would be.

  • high desert Hurricane, ut
    March 2, 2011 3:01 p.m.

    Tim did a stupid thing - now he has a debt to pay for the disruptions he has caused. His actions have cost a lot of people a lot of money. He says he is willing to go to prison and it looks like he will likely get that opportunity. I just wonder how many of those so-called supporters of his illegal actions would feel the same when someone breaks the law supporting something they do not believe in? I would guess they would be howling for justice.

  • dave Park City, UT
    March 2, 2011 2:13 p.m.

    Rifleman | 12:49 p.m. March 2, 2011

    It's not that simple.

    Imagine if you were speeding to get your wife to he hospital and you received a ticket. Would you want the jury to know why you were speeding?

    There are mitigating circumstances that a reasonable person should be able to take into consideration. Whether his reached that point or not should be up to the jury. Neither you or I can make that decision as we are not sitting on the jury and hearing all of the evidence.

    butters | 12:51 p.m. March 2, 2011
    Ahh, the old guilty until proven guilty in a court of law theory. I think I've heard of that..... In the Soviet Union.

    NT | 12:19 p.m. March 2, 2011
    It's a federal trial thus every citizen has an interest.

  • Voice of Reason Layton, UT
    March 2, 2011 1:41 p.m.

    Coleman51 It is absolutely chillingly dangerous to turn our courts of law into political forums, and allow a particular political opinion to be a valid defense for committing a crime. That would probably be the quickest way to corrupt our courts of law, which are supposed to be a neutral arbiter on whether a crime was committed. Period. Oil and gas leasing near Yellowstone mars the view from the Park, and contributes to global warming is a political argument that must be made in the court of public opinion and in representative legislatures, not repeat, NOT in unelected courts of law.
    Because if Tim gets a free pass for a $1.8 million dollar auction fraud because he convinced a jury that oil & gas leasing is bad policy, then I must get a free pass when I defraud the ACLU out of $1.8 million dollarsits JUST THAT IMPORTANT to defeat the evil ACLU in my sincerely held belief! Courts should never ever be reduced to a political forum. Thats why we have legislatures.
    Damor yes, technically they were oil & gas leases, but out in eastern Utah they were all going for the natural gas rights.

  • butters Salt Lake city, UT
    March 2, 2011 12:51 p.m.

    looks like the people of My2Cents need to have their eyes opened...

    DeChristopher committed a crime.


    Dechristopher goes to court.

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    March 2, 2011 12:49 p.m.

    Re: dave | 8:48 a.m. March 2, 2011

    "This means that justice is not only blind but ignorant."

    No, this means that the jury will hear the evidence and determine the suspect's innocence or guilt based on his actions. Tim DeChristopher either broke the law or he didn't, and as the judge noted "federal land management policies" aren't on trial here.

  • NT Springville, UT
    March 2, 2011 12:19 p.m.


    Stay right where you are and we'll be just fine. Oh, and stick to one of your local papers where you can be assured there will be absolutely nothing like the awful things we have going on here in Utah.

  • md Smithfield, UT
    March 2, 2011 10:24 a.m.

    He is obviously guilty. Give him the appropriate sentence in prison.

  • Go Big Blue!!! Bountiful, UT
    March 2, 2011 10:18 a.m.

    Tim should be fined a sufficient amount to pay back the government for what his actions have cost the government in time and resources.

  • Mormon Ute Kaysville, UT
    March 2, 2011 9:40 a.m.

    Too bad that so many believe it is okay to break the law, if your intentions were honorable. First, who determines what is considered honorable? Second, what if I believe it is honorable to steal my neighbor's truck, because he has told me he plans to drive it across my lawn and ruin my landscaping? Should I then not be prosecuted for theft?

  • dave Park City, UT
    March 2, 2011 8:48 a.m.

    Rifleman | 6:51 a.m. March 2, 2011

    "The jury won't be asking themselves what was going on inside his head when it comes time for them to decide if he knowingly broke the law."

    This means that justice is not only blind but ignorant.

  • dave Park City, UT
    March 2, 2011 8:41 a.m.

    TRUTH | 10:29 a.m. March 1, 2011

    Could you explain how he could possibly end up in the "UTAH STATE PEN!" when he is on trial for a federal offense?

    You seem to take glee in the fact that he could be incarcerated. Wow...

  • rbgntx Kaufman, TX
    March 2, 2011 8:27 a.m.

    I have no problem with his act of civil disobedience. My problem comes with his desire to avoid the consequences of his action. If he truly believes in what he is doing, is willing to go to prison for it, as another poster suggested, then he should stand up in court plead guilty and accept what comes as the cost of fighting for what he believes.

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    March 2, 2011 8:07 a.m.

    Here's a question about this story: It states that the defendant opposed the "failed" management plans of the BLM. When the media talks about a criminal event they use the word "alledged." Why are they reporting the BLM policy was failed, instead of saying is was "alledgedly failed" ? The defendant is playing politics here (imagine that) and has been assisted by the media. Frankly, I'm not surprised by that, either. I predict he will be found guilty, despite his top-gun defense attorney's best efforts, as it's a pretty obvious case that what he did was illegal regardless of his personal motivation.

  • bgl Santa Monica, CA
    March 2, 2011 7:04 a.m.

    2Bits--When the world is out of balance it will sometimes seem like stealing a loaf of bread isn't that bad and those screaming for "Law and Order" are often sheep who are the quickest to help slit offer up their own heads for the sake of their oppressors (who they pray that they will someday allowed to be exactly alike). You're going to have a tough time trying to convince someone of your superiority by saying... "On every issue of law and order, I'm for it and you're against it," over the next few years. If law and order is out of whack, I don't mind being on the other side at all. It's called "dissent," and each example of dissent has probably done more to help our nation than 200 mindless followers.

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    March 2, 2011 6:51 a.m.

    There is no parole in the federal prison system. If convicted Tim DeChristopher is looking at some serious time behind bars. The jury won't be asking themselves what was going on inside his head when it comes time for them to decide if he knowingly broke the law.

  • OnlyInUtah Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 2, 2011 6:41 a.m.

    DeChristopher is a criminal - by his own admission - and deserves a verdict and sentencing to pay the price of justice for his actions.

    Yengish argued that other bidders were "forgiven" there bids but DeChristopher wasn't... but the others HAD to be forgiven because of what DeChristopher did.. HE caused the problem, violated the law, and thinks he's a hero. It's actions like his that give tree-hugging activists a bad name.

    Make it a speedy trial and get him locked up!

  • coleman51 Orem, UT
    March 2, 2011 4:40 a.m.

    Whether or not we agree with DeChristopher's political philosophy, we should allow the jurors to recognize that this was a political act of disobedience and not just a criminal act. The judge, by not allowing such a defense will create an even bigger forum for his political views once this case is appealed. Jurors should always be shown mitigating circumstances behind what on the surface appears to be a criminal act.

  • My2Cents Kearns, UT
    March 2, 2011 4:13 a.m.

    Sounds like the people of Utah need to have their eyes and minds opened to the truth. How many really believe that oil and gas leases benefit Utah? The fact is none of them do. These oil and gas leases benefit speculators and the world economy and none of the resources ever stay in this country let alone Utah. They do not reduce oil and gas prices, they escalate oil and gas prices.

    The jobs are few and serve only as care takers, security guards (low paid as well), of the wells and oil lines.

    We have only one source of land and we don't need it mired in lies and destruction or our ecology that affects not only wildlife but the human population as well. The US has matched the process of out of control development that is destroying the quality of life for every one.

    DeChristopher is the scapegoat of corruption and evidence of wrong doing by the BLM and oil companies of the world.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    March 1, 2011 10:24 p.m.

    I guess the problem with this whole thing is a normal person stands up for something they believe in and goes to jail for a minor inconvinence to oil companies. Wall street and the federal reserve drive our nation off the cliff and no one really goes to jail.

    Our leaders do not represent us they represent money.

  • yarrlydarb Ogden, UT
    March 1, 2011 8:21 p.m.

    To FairEnough | 1:18 p.m. March 1, 2011
    Draper, UT

    This was not a simple indiscretion; it was a criminal act of fraud involving a million dollars! It affected numerous bidders in a legal auction. It was a violation of law with penalties attached of which he was aware.

    A possible ten years for a tiny moment in history? Truth is, in six months after he's sitting in his cell, who in the world is going to care? Darrell Hannah? Yeah, right.

  • Elcapitan Ivins, UT
    March 1, 2011 8:14 p.m.

    damor....President Bush leaves this kind of business in the hands of people who know what they are doing. All of Utah is a "National Park" in the minds of some people, especiazlly if they are outsiders looking in.

  • Goet Ogden, UT
    March 1, 2011 7:30 p.m.

    So, he did the crime.

    My question is: why so much time?

    Seriously, how do they justify such an outrageous fine and that hefty lockup time?

    He could have KILLED someone at the bidding and gotten off easier than this.

    This seems more worthy of a misdemeanor.

  • freddysheddy Bountiful, UT
    March 1, 2011 6:56 p.m.

    Robert Valentine:

    Us Utahans can't handle the natural resources you so desperately want control of. We American's can't handle them. I don't know who to give responsibility to. The question is comparable to asking who is it better to hand a loaded shotgun to? A toddler or his drunken father? Neither. The loaded shotgun is best left alone or better yet, unload it and get rid of it. Natural resources aren't there to be used. This Earth isn't here to be used. This Earth is here to be here. We need to live on it with as little damage as we can. I don't care about job creations. This Earth doesn't care about job creations. Worrying about job creation is inane and useless. Because who cares if you have a job if you are dead! And that is were the planet is headed, to death.

  • carman Alpine, UT
    March 1, 2011 6:35 p.m.

    I hope DeChristopher still has that smirky smile when he is behind bars...

  • freddysheddy Bountiful, UT
    March 1, 2011 6:33 p.m.

    I interviewed DeChristopher for a student newspaper. While he is fighting the charges he is ready and willing to serve time if needed. He feels this strongly about saving the environment and stopping global climate change. There should be more people like him. Just because there is a law, doesn't mean that law is just. Rosa Parks broke the law. The Founding Fathers broke the law. The were rebels and refused dominion over themselves. This time DeChristopher is refusing to let the land be dominated by corporate companies. He is fighting back. There should be more like him. Many of you will be wishing you were more like him when your children and your children's children are facing the growing food shortage, dwindling drinkable water, ever increasing pollution and mass species extinction. Why is one of the few people in Utah who thinks progressively being punished? Because he broke the law, is the answer. Fair. But I say change the law. This government is corrupt and sick. Wake up and look around. We can't breathe, we can't eat, we can't do anything. Today I am not proud to be a Utahan or an American.

  • Truth csar Colorado Springs, CO
    March 1, 2011 6:30 p.m.

    Break the law; hug an inmate.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    March 1, 2011 6:29 p.m.

    "Interesting how the liberals label him an activist. I always thought breaking the law made you a criminal. "

    Like O'Keefe (the acorn pimp) wiretapping a senators office?

  • RobertValentine American Fork, UT
    March 1, 2011 5:55 p.m.

    Arguments against the development of Utahs minerals are inane. The trial of a lying conman is a side issue. May DeChristopher be sentenced to pick up beer cans in our national parks. The real conflict is the heavy-handed control of Utahs natural resources by an oppressive federal government. Elitist environmentalists dont care about people desperate for jobs in Utah. The aging hippies chanting time-warped protest songs in front of the federal courthouse dont have show up for work every day. To the enemies of job creation and economic growth: Give us back the resources of our state. Give us freedom to drill for oil and gas and to mine for coal responsibly. Most liberals don't want coal, oil, gas, nuclear energy, wood-burning stoves, windmills in their neighborhoods nor drilling for thermal heat. That leaves solar energy, which most of us cannot afford.

  • carman Alpine, UT
    March 1, 2011 5:53 p.m.

    DeChristopher is not a hero, but a thug with an agenda. Anyone with a cause could justify any behavior outside of the law if his actions were at all justifiable. His cause is suspect, his actions deplorable, and his actions illegal. He should go to jail - for a very long time.

    As for all the hollywood types running around, it may make DeChristopher feel good about himself and his illegal activity, but his self-elevation is based on a mirage. These out-of-state hollywooders are more about popular causes and making a statement in the warped social circles than about what is best for the nation and the planet. They may think they are doing something good, but supporting the destruction of the rule of law will do more harm to this nation than ANY marginal drilling that could have been done on a few parcels of land.

    DeChristopher is a crimminal who should see the world from behind bars. And these misguided hollywoods are delusional activists who do more harm than good. The fact that they are here should make every rational soul cringe.

  • damor slc, ut
    March 1, 2011 5:51 p.m.

    It was for both Oil and Natural gas

  • Voice of Reason Layton, UT
    March 1, 2011 5:05 p.m.

    I think a good measure of how much a man believes in democracy is how well he follows those laws that he disagrees with. Of course, there are extreme exceptions, such as if there were a "law" to kill 6 million Jews...but for this guy to imply that selling natural gas leases is such a bad law that it offends basic humanity in that way is just beyond absurd. A policy disagreement on the selling of natural gas leases (because they might be in view from a national park) does NOT rise to the level of such an evil law by any normal standard. This guy's arrogance is just stunning.

    There's a reason for laws against fraudulently running up bids. Those companies that really wanted those leases were mostly small operators, and his fraudulently the price could have cost them millions, and could have put many livelihoods at risk. He was so blinded by leftist cartoons of oil companies that he apparently didn't even care.

    And the irony is these weren't even leases for oil, that Great Satan of enviros - they were for natural gas, which is about the cleanest fuel we have.

  • Dart Thrower Ogden, UT
    March 1, 2011 4:37 p.m.

    I find it interesting that several years ago, BLM employees and Law Officers stood by while citizens of Kane County rode their "four wheelers" into the Pariah Wilderness area as a protest. Stood by. Did nothing. Yet when this kid does something that causes less real harm, he has the whole Federal Government come down on his head. Oh, I forgot, this is about money and big business. The people and ideology that really run the country

  • damor slc, ut
    March 1, 2011 4:10 p.m.

    They were by canyonlands and arches national parks if you google it you can see articles that will tell you

  • dknight68 Ogden, ut
    March 1, 2011 4:04 p.m.

    Maybe he could just get Darryl Hanna to pry 1.8 mil out of her pocket and pay for the leases. Then Tim could go free, there would be no drilling on the precious leases, and we would all be able to watch her movies. Thus raising her income to pay for more leases. No, lets go ahead and break the law and make others pay for it.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 1, 2011 3:50 p.m.

    I wonder why he "laughed" when told the tally of his bids?

    What did he find funny about it?

    Sounds like he's a little immature and self obsessed to me (not a hero).

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 1, 2011 3:46 p.m.

    damor | 2:21 p.m.

    Were all the leases he bid on near National Parks? I didn't know that! All were near National Parks?

    Is that true???


    I love the National Parks as much as anyone. I visit several each year. But I know you with modern technology you can do oil exploration near SOME National Parks without impacting the National Park.

    I was doing some exploring on remote dirt roads outside Moab (near Dead Horse Nat Mon) and we found an oil well... you couldn't even see it or know it was there until you were right on the pad. I don't know what damage it was doing. It didn't ruin our trip in the least... and people in the Park would NEVER see it or even know it was there.

  • TJ Eagle Mountain, UT
    March 1, 2011 3:30 p.m.

    I say let him go...IF: he pays for the leases, then pays for for all of the legal expenses that this fiasco has created....and agrees to 5 years in prison.

  • KM Cedar Hills, UT
    March 1, 2011 3:09 p.m.

    I would expect nothing less for a leftist to "laugh" at and mock the rule of law. To be smug and arrogant about serious matters is just part of the way they do business.

  • TexasMom Flower Mound, TX
    March 1, 2011 3:06 p.m.

    Seriously? This guy's so called lawyer claimed in defense that they "could" have stopped him but didn't?? So it's their own fault? No personal responsibility for DeChristopher?

    Then he has the nerve to complain that everyone but the "sinner" received forgiveness?? They only needed "forgiveness" because of what he did to mess it up. Sheesh!

    It's lawyers like that who give the profession a bad name. Not to mention the fact that, unfortunately, environmentalists will never make any headway into convincing people the need to be more responsible with the earth with irresponsible twits like DeChristopher as their poster child.

  • Neanderthal SLC, Utah
    March 1, 2011 2:41 p.m.


    "Vehicles? Houses? A true environmentalist would walk naked into the wilderness to be one with the Earth."

    Walking naked in the wilderness? Would that be like cavorting with the bares?

    "Soon to be reclaimed by the Earth."

    I know what you mean. As a Neanderthal I was reclaimed back in the Pleistocene era.

  • American Spartan Orem, Utah
    March 1, 2011 2:34 p.m.

    Tim DeChristopher will feel the hand of the law fall on him to suffocate his stupid "activist" agenda. A willing martyr for a cause.

    At least Tim will have a nice 9 by 9 cell to warm his flat bed and read the works of Che Guevara to further radicalize himself for "revenge planning."

  • damor slc, ut
    March 1, 2011 2:21 p.m.

    I sure don't want oil companies using our precious land here in utah by our national parks. I think if all of us read up on this we would think that by Pres Bush making it ok for the oil companies to bid on that land RIGHT BEFORE HE WAS TO LEAVE OFFICE that he was a fool. Thank goodness that it is now overturned and someone is looking out for our land here in Utah. Dont know about everyone else but I enjoy our national parks here.

  • FredEx Salt Lake, Ut
    March 1, 2011 2:17 p.m.

    "I wonder how many of those devoted supporters would be willing to get rid of their gas burning vehicles and walk... and sit home in a cold dark house."

    Vehicles? Houses? A true environmentalist would walk naked into the wilderness to be one with the Earth. Soon to be reclaimed by the Earth.

  • Hawkeye79 Iowa City, IA
    March 1, 2011 2:02 p.m.

    @ self-proclaimed "FairEnough,"

    "If this were simply a non-politicized case, a first-time offender would not receive jail time for such an offense."

    Perhaps you could offer a few examples where a first-time offender committed fraud that resulted in damages totaling over $1 million and they did not receive any jail time. You appear confident that this would not happen in a "non-politicized case," so let's hear some examples that support your claim.

  • Neanderthal SLC, Utah
    March 1, 2011 2:01 p.m.

    @FredEx: "I wonder how many of those devoted supporters would be willing to take Tim's place in prison?"

    I wonder how many of those devoted supporters would be willing to get rid of their gas burning vehicles and walk... and sit home in a cold dark house.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 1, 2011 1:58 p.m.

    FairEnough 1:18 p.m.

    You seem to have a respect for rule_of_law... so I wonder if you can help me understand something...

    Yesterday on almost EVERY_TOPIC we were discussing in the Opinion section... the Left stood firmly FOR disobeying the law... and the Right stood firmly for OBEYING the rule_of_law.

    -DeCristopher (Left praised him for breaking the law... Right criticized him for breaking the law).

    -Illegal_Immigration (Left thought obeying immigration law is Optional... praised them for coming illegally and supported those who came illegally... the Right just wants them to respect our rule_of_law).

    -Wisconsin protests (Left supporting the Democrat Legislators who left the State to sabotage the Legislative session in violation of the Wisconsin Constitution they swore to uphold when elected... Right just wants them to do their job, debate the bill, and cast their vote, as required by Wisconsin law).

    Do you have an explanation for this consistent dichotomy?

    Why radical-leftists think rule_of_law is OK for others but not them... obedience optional because they are so Zealous their personal agenda trumps the law... and consider rule_of_law to be obsolete and automatically_nullified if it doesn't agree with them?

    I've always wondered about this.

  • FairEnough Draper, UT
    March 1, 2011 1:18 p.m.

    Give him probation to satisfy the law and honor and recognition to satisfy justice.

    You people turn all Inspector Jalvert on the guy because his cause doesn't align with your right wing denier politics.

    If this were simply a non-politicized case, a first-time offender would not receive jail time for such an offense.

  • Eliot Santaquin, UT
    March 1, 2011 12:47 p.m.

    Hasn't anyone ever seen Splash! Daryl Hannah was hot in that movie. I'm not going to let a little fuss over a misunderstanding at some auction keep me from watching that movie again.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 1, 2011 12:41 p.m.

    Dennis | 10:39 a.m.

    What does any of this have to do with the Church?

    So why try to bring them into it?

  • oldasdirt Grantsville, UT
    March 1, 2011 12:37 p.m.

    Drove by the court at 11:00 am this morning, apparently DeChristopher supporters got their picture taken and are now off to support another cause.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    March 1, 2011 11:07 a.m.

    @Dennis 10:39 a.m.

    The Church teaches us to obey, honor, and sustain the law. Even if Church leaders had objected to the land sale, they never would have condoned the commission of fraud.

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    March 1, 2011 11:00 a.m.

    Dear Dennis: No one would worry about it being next to a Church farm. No one would even care. This is a silly comparison. The leases were legal and the process was legal. And...The Church always honors and work within the bounds of the law.

    The Dude Abides...global warming is NOT a viable defense any more than Tom Green or Warren Jeffs can claim a defense based on their belief that God gave them permission to marry underage girls. It will not make an appeal successful.

    I think the guy should be happy to be a martyr to his cause. If he's really committed to it, he will be thrilled to be able to go to prison for it. We shall see.

  • AlanSutton Salt Lake City, UT
    March 1, 2011 10:51 a.m.

    Henry David Thoureau never lied about what he was doing. He was open and honest about his civil disobedience.

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    March 1, 2011 10:39 a.m.

    If any of this land was adjacent to any of the "Church Farm" property and the Church opposed the sale I'm wondering how many of you would be singing this man's praises and pointing your fingers at the evil government and their meddling in our lives?

  • TRUTH Salt Lake City, UT
    March 1, 2011 10:29 a.m.

    Good for Utah...by Saturday, DeChristopher will be introduced to his new bunkmate at the UTAH STATE PEN!

  • codger Southwest Utah, UT
    March 1, 2011 9:33 a.m.

    My family and I have decided to launch our own protest. We refuse ever to see another Darryl Hannah movie! Oh wait----we already don't watch them.

  • Boo Ya!!! SLC, UT
    March 1, 2011 9:26 a.m.

    I think its hilarious when people like to show their "individualism" but then when it comes to court or trial, they clean themselves up and look like they are trying to be part of the GOOD part of society. WHY clean yourself up? COuld it be that our appearance says more about us than we think!!! This guy is a CLASSIC example!

  • Pipes Salt Lake City, UT
    March 1, 2011 9:20 a.m.

    Interesting how the liberals label him an activist. I always thought breaking the law made you a criminal.

  • The Dude Abides Salt Lake City, UT
    March 1, 2011 9:07 a.m.

    The Judge requiring DeChristopher to rely on the lesser of possible defenses will ensure that any conviction is appealed and opens a great line to appeal: being denied a viable defense.

  • FredEx Salt Lake, Ut
    March 1, 2011 9:07 a.m.

    I wonder how many of those devoted supporters would be willing to take Tim's place in prison? How many would do what he did, since they think it was so noble?

    Oh, and Darryl Hannah, you should ask for a refund on all the cosmetic work you had done.