Tim DeChristopher to Appeal Sentence

Just as I was publishing my article on Tim DeChristopher’s trial and sentencing, this news came across my radar. The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

Convicted oil and gas lease auction saboteur Tim DeChristopher will appeal his conviction and two-year prison sentence, in part because he was prevented from arguing the environmental necessity of his actions at trial.

I mentioned this issue in my earlier post:

The prosecution claimed that DeChristopher had “obstructed lawful government proceedings,” but the defense was forbidden to point out that the auction was not a lawful proceeding. DeChristopher was not allowed to mention that he had offered an initial payment to the BLM. Nor was he allowed to explain the moral motivations behind his action, including climate change.

In short, the government prevented DeChristopher from saying anything that would have made his actions appear justified. And the only truly neutral party, the jury, never heard the whole story.

According to a law professor quoted by the Tribune, it will be difficult for the defense to overturn the judge’s decision to rule out the so-called “necessity defense,” because DeChristopher would have to prove that he prevented significant harm.

Returning to the Tribune article,

That effort is made even more difficult, he said, because other legal means such as a lawsuit and a presidential election apparently prevented whatever harm one might argue the auction threatened.


Whether or not the appeal is successful, it can only be good for Tim’s publicity. The farther the case goes, the more attention it will get, and one of DeChristopher’s goals from the start was to draw attention to an underhanded energy policy.




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