This week a U.S. District Court Judge sentenced Tim DeChristopher to two years in jail for making false bids during a federal oil auction in 2008. For a few hours, DeChristopher was joined by more than two dozen protesters.
Following the sentencing, 26 protesters sat down on Salt Lake City’s South Main Street on the TRAX rail line, a light rail service in the city. Of those 26, 19 were taken into custody and charged with failing to comply with a police officer, obstructing vehicular traffic and obstruction of the public transit system. Thanks to an overcrowded jail; all of those taken into custody were released by Wednesday. DeChristopher won’t be so lucky.
He is currently sitting in Davis County Jail in Farmington, Utah, where he is being held without bail, according to U.S. Marshals. DeChristopher is likely to serve the full two year sentence which, according to Judge Dee Benson, could have been lighter if DeChristopher hadn’t been so outspoken throughout the trial.
If not for that "continuing trail of statements," Benson said, DeChristopher might not have faced prosecution, let alone prison.
"The offense itself, with all apologies to people actually in the auction itself, wasn’t that bad," Benson said. Clearly the feds wanted to make an example of DeChristopher, who encouraged more civil disobedience against the oil industry. Benson’s message seemed lost on the 26 protesters. Now a man who many in the environmental community view as a hero will have some time to consider his next protest, which won't be happening until 2013 at the earliest.