On December 19th, 2008 I took what I considered to be ethical, necessary, and direct action to try to protect our planet, our democracy, and my fellow human beings. In that spirit of protection, I took nonviolent action which did not harm anyone nor destroy any property.
My actions stopped what I believed was an illegal and certainly unethical auction of red rock public lands in Southern Utah. This auction was a fraud and a threat against the American people and their future well-being. My motivation to act against this auction came solely from the exploitation of public lands, the lack of a transparent and participatory government, and the imminent danger of climate change.
I acted openly and honestly because I was then, and still am ready today, to accept and suffer the consequences of my actions. I had hoped the wheels of justice, particularly with a new Administration, would recognize the impetus of my actions and the merit of their results, by choosing not prosecute me, especially in light of the leases in question being voided by the new Administration. You can well imagine my shock and disappointment to find out that my hopes were misguided, and my future may well rest in the hands of a jury of my peers.
I have been gifted with a proven legal team, spearheaded by the efforts of Ron Yengich and Pat Shea. In a matter which will undoubtedly go to trial, they will have a chance to demonstrate the corruption of a system that “awards” oil and gas leases to the highest bidders, while the public and the environment are without any legitimate competing representation, thus consigning them to the catastrophic effects of climate change. This trial will be an opportunity to address our moral imperative to craft and defend a livable future for our children.
It is my deepest hope that my actions will be understood by others in the context in which they were forced to play out, and that those people who come to know what has befallen me here is the direct result of the corrosive manipulation that grips our system by the throat, choking off the oxygen of free and fair choice our democracy requires.
I am profoundly grateful for the the enormous support which I have already received, and I have every belief it will continue in the future. As my initial actions taught me, it is still possible to work for change, real change. I know I don't stand alone in that belief or in the fight that is gathering even as I type these words. And as my actions inspire others to work for change of all stripes, any consequences I have to face will be well worth it.
I've Been Indicted
I've Been Indicted
22 CommentsAdd Comment
Lauren Wood wrote:
I believe this will open up a can of worms for our government. Far too many people see the moral imperative behind Tim's actions in December. We as a society must keep fighting for just policy, that is what Tim did, no one was harmed, the Attorney General has no viable leg to stand on.April 1, 2009 | 8:24 pm
Julianne Waters wrote:
I am amazed that the U.S. Attorney would spend more of our tax dollars, persecuting/prosecuting someone who acted completely out of moral conscience. The time has come to stand up for what we believe in, come what may. Climate change is real and a threat to our future. Thanks Tim - we're right here with you and will see this through to whatever end transpires!April 1, 2009 | 8:32 pm
Dylan Schneider wrote:
It is a staggering amazement that the government is pursuing Tim's actions and calling them "crimes" when the same "leaders" that illegally began the land auctions have committed atrocious crimes that have directly harmed humanity AND the planet - and yet they walk free without persecution or the moral dignity to own their actions. Tim - we are behind you 100% as friends, peers, and grateful inhabitants of the planet which you have taken much-needed definitive steps to save.April 2, 2009 | 8:52 am
Lucy Kerr wrote:
Tim, I am both humbled and inspired by your public declaration that you are willing to go to jail. Know that we will fight until the end. LucyApril 2, 2009 | 2:30 pm
Richard Okelberry wrote:
I’m curious Mr. DeChristopher, did any of your friends or family have any idea that you were planning this protest?April 3, 2009 | 8:15 am
Scott Barber wrote:
Tim you are a true American hero. A regular guy who rises to the occasion. It was Thelonius Monk who wrote "A genius is the one most like himself." What a simple, beautiful action. Thank you. When I am employed again I want to contribute to your land and defense funds. I'll try to pass the word on to other ex-pats here in Canada. Thanks for defending Turtle Island. ScottApril 3, 2009 | 10:08 am
b cun wrote:
Where is Obama when we need him? Oh, he is down on his knees on Wall Street. Ooops, now he is bending over...its a shame the new administration is going after you Chris. But of all of us cowards, you alone had the balls to step up! Kudos!April 3, 2009 | 10:20 am
scott pilutik wrote:
I'd like to read the actual indictment but am not able to locate it on this site. Can anyone help with this? Thanks.April 3, 2009 | 11:29 am
Scott Morrow wrote:
This is absurd! Please post a link to the actual indictement so those of us interested can read it. With some familiarity with title 18 of the US Code, it is ludicrous to imagine how a conviction can be obtained regarding "giving false information to the gestapo, er, government". My understanding from a review of the situation is that Tim never filed any paperwork, therefore could not have provided any false information to the criminal USA. It seems to me that the US Attorney would be better served, as would we, those who pay the salary, indicting Bush and Cheney for war crimes. Or prosecute the entire corrupted process of giving away our public lands to the wealthiest, most criminal people available. Hopefully, the USA is going for some type of plea agreement that Tim will behave in such matters and drop it. If not, and this actually goes to trial, I call on everyone reading this blog to generously donate to the legal defense fund and boycott income tax payments, part of which will go to this unscrupulous prosecution.April 3, 2009 | 1:13 pm
Kristina Thorpe wrote:
I haven't seen this in the MSM, maybe I just missed it. I'm sorry that it's happened; there's much about this nascent administration that disappoints and this is yet another act that does. But...seeing opportunity in crisis, it is an opportunity for speaking truth to power. I'm only sorry that Tim is bearing the brunt of it. I will make more donations as I am able. We've got your back, Tim!April 3, 2009 | 11:34 pm
whenpigs fly wrote:
I've just heard. And I'm livid! I thought Bush's Man in Salt Lake was just blowing smoke the last couple of months. Let's hope he's as imprudent and arrogant as he appears to be in print. Like half this country, I'm really scraping by, but I'll send as much $$ as I can. I've written to the White House and the AG. What else can I do?April 4, 2009 | 10:09 pm
ambrosia brown wrote:
In the spirit of April's celebration of, "Letter to Birmingham Jail (April 16,1963)", I post this comment about King's civil disobedience and am grateful for Tim's demonstration! Grateful that King's spirit is alive because there is so much work to be done. This essay originally appeared in Christopher B. Gray (ed.), Philosophy of Law: An Encyclopedia, Garland Pub. Co, 1999, II.110-113. Copyright © 1999, Peter Suber. "King had a second reply, (to the objection to CD: What if everybody did it?) inspired by Gandhi: he deliberately made his example difficult to imitate. He pressed for negotiation before turning to disobedience; he underwent self-purification before every disobedient action; he accepted blows from police without retaliation; he accepted arrest and punishment. These tactical features of his actions had other purposes as well, but there is little doubt that they prevented onlookers from thinking that here was a criminal getting away with murder whose example could be imitated with profit. " Thinking of you, Tim! Moab thanks you.April 4, 2009 | 10:19 pm
Phillip Rhoades wrote:
There are many of in Utah and nation wide who are torn by your actions , Tim DeChrisopher. We see a courageous young man who stood up for his strong moral and ethical code. You took a bold chance to protect something you believed in. Unfortunately, none of your sentiments are statements are fully within the majority as we speak. You use broad sweeping language to defend what was inherently a specific and personal act. Incorporating presumptions of fraud, climate change, and "certain" ethics undermines the impact you had on reforming land management of resources. More importantly, they do not account for the crimes you committed. Your political voice does not diminish you illegal actions. You rest much of you assertion of innocence on the "fraudulent" choices of the Bush Administration....which is hardly a conclusive fact. You put yourself on a tight rope with your actions this past year. I neither envy nor sympathize with your situation, but I have hope for you that it may facilitate long term change. Too much rhetoric, too much hype, and too much pandering to whatever is your "base" will only undermine the national and intense impact your civil disobedience could have. Your indictment was certain and I hope the sentence is strong. Not out of vindication nor to have environmentalist "lose." To the contrary, I hope the balances sway in our, in the broadest sense, favor. But as a community we must admit that you broke the law and that should be handled with the same intention and severity that we expect every law to be handled with. If not I fear we lose much of the centric buy-in and undermine the law which we so often strive to protect and enforce as environmentalist. Because of this I hope you spend considerable time in jail. I hope you are safe during that time. I hope you serve that time with the same intention and courage you showed in December. I hope your trial and sentence bring further attention to the cause of public land conservation and protection. May you be lucky enough to have jury of your peers that shows no malice and the greatest awareness and critical analysis of the law. Best of luck in your long journey ahead.April 4, 2009 | 11:44 pm
Bob Alberti wrote:
Hey Phil, Kiss my ass, jerk. Bob Alberti Minneapolis, MN P.S. Yes, I COULD have taken the time to rebut your post point by point, but really you've already cornered the market on wrapping offensive sentiments in fancy language, so I thought I'd just cut to the chase.April 5, 2009 | 9:14 am
Phillip Rhoades wrote:
Dear Bob, I am sorry my thoughts encouraged such a malicious response, I will need to reread and interpret what type of provocation is in my post. I intended to provide a voice of dissent regarding Tim's legal innocence. There are multiple interpretations of what is happening with this event. Mine is obviously different than yours, and likely the majority of this forum. It was my hope that a voice of dissent on a forum regarding an act of civil disobedience would be welcomed and interacted with in a constructive manner. I think it is fair to say your response lacks any constructive element and I dare say undermines many of the fundamental concepts that have defined civil disobedience for decades. If my voice is not welcome by the members of this forum than I must be humble enough to no longer participate. To this I am vulnerable. Phillip Rhoades Cedar City, UTApril 5, 2009 | 1:29 pm
Phillip Rhoades wrote:
Mr. Lyon, Thanks for the courtesy in your response. I full heartedly agree in the action caused by such principle and moral integrity. It has created some of the most phenomenal and humanistic changes within our own society. I am awed by DeChristopher's choices. But I also believe in the processes and mechanisms that exist. I believe they are flexible enough to succumb to the pressures of their citizens, though I admit they don't often accept change at the rate people want. I also, to my own ideals misfortune, do not think American's are ready yet to accept the environmental concepts DeChristopher is espousing and associating with his case. There isn't, even remotely, a consensus on the controversial ideas. Yet as a citizen (and a biologist being educated in conservation biology) I see no reason why I have to submit to a plea for leniency from someone who breaks the law. Unless there is a provision in the the comment "anticipated in our Constitution." Is there a provision that allows political actions, that are induced by an individual or organization's principle and moral integrity, to receive less of a sentence when it "subordinates the rule of law"? If not how do we justify the two felonies he has committed in the process? Where does the subjectivity end.... I have a lot more questions regarding these issues but should wait to incorporate your ideas first. Thank you again.April 5, 2009 | 8:14 pm
Robert Rand wrote:
Mr. Rhoades, I'm intrigued by your entries here. Would you please explain carefully and cite if you would what law you believe Mr. DeChristopher broke and where in the law the charge of felony is assigned. As you see it. ThanksApril 5, 2009 | 11:03 pm
Phillip Rhoades wrote:
I cite and use the Democracy Now piece and the indictment itself, with all the limitations (and they are many) in my legal understanding: AMY GOODMAN: Tim, can you explain exactly what you were charged with? TIM DeCHRISTOPHER: Yes. I was charged with two counts: one of making a false statement to the government and one of violation of the Federal Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing Reform Act, which was supposed to establish a competitive bidding process for oil and gas leases. I do not have much legal expertise but having read this forum and listened to the verbal commentary Tim has submitted I have a hard time believing he has not committed the acts of fraud he is indicted for. "He said he had no intent to pay" is a common phrase thrown around throughout articles on this site. IApril 6, 2009 | 12:55 am
Jen Rivera wrote:
Much respect, thanks for your efforts for mother earth! But it must be pointed out that there is a long history of non-cooperation with certain entities that might seek to interview you, and people often suggest not saying anything at all that could be used against you, and to always have a lawyer present. That is an important lesson from all of this. This is a movement not about individuals. You are brave, and brave enough I am confident to learn and grow and be open to hearing this, and I hope, propagating the same mindfulness.April 7, 2009 | 7:23 am
Bryon Eckert wrote:
Mohatma Ghandi broke many laws and paid the price of beatings and prison. So did Nelson Mandela, ML King, and those who harbored Jews during the Holocaust. Our own founding fathers were considered by the Crown to be insurgents and terrorists. So, I do not pray for the full weight of the law to come down on Tim DeChristopher. However, this indictment is the best way to give a longer life to am important issue that people otherwise would have forgotten. Tim might be paying a price for not keeping his mouth shut, but it will be worth it in the end.April 7, 2009 | 3:18 pm