Tim DeChristopher’s Pre-Sentencing Statement

I Do Not Want Mercy, I Want You To Join Me.

I’m not saying any of this to ask you for mercy, but to ask you to join me. If you side with Mr Huber and believe that your role is to discourage citizens from holding their government accountable, then you should follow his recommendations and lock me away. I certainly don’t want that. I have no desire to go to prison, and any assertion that I want to be even a temporary martyr is false. I want you to join me in standing up for the right and responsibility of citizens to challenge their government. I want you to join me in valuing this country’s rich history of nonviolent civil disobedience. If you share those values but think my tactics are mistaken, you have the power to redirect them. You can sentence me to a wide range of community service efforts that would point my commitment to a healthy and just world down a different path. You can have me work with troubled teens, as I spent most of my career doing. You can have me help disadvantaged communities or even just pull weeds for the BLM. You can steer that commitment if you agree with it, but you can’t kill it. This is not going away. At this point of unimaginable threats on the horizon, this is what hope looks like. In these times of a morally bankrupt government that has sold out its principles, this is what patriotism looks like. With countless lives on the line, this is what love looks like, and it will only grow. The choice you are making today is what side are you on.

After turning down a plea offer that would essentially have let him walk away in return for making a public apology, Tim DeChristopher is serving a 2-year sentence at a federal prison. More about Tim here: Frequently Asked Questions about Tim DeChristopher.

32 Responses to “Tim DeChristopher’s Pre-Sentencing Statement”

  1. knarlyknight Says:


    It seems certain that the judge and prosecutor would have to have lower principles and morals than Mr. DeChristopher to provide this outcome.

  2. knarlyknight Says:

    It also seems certain that America is really stupid:


  3. shcb Says:

    I think they should just make him pay what he bid. If he doesn’t have the money he can sell the leases to the highest bidder and then work off the remainder on an oil rig in the area.

  4. knarlyknight Says:

    Fine, except the parcels he won were illegally put up for sale in the first place, so he was right about that all along (also a number of other parcels.)

    You can’t make him pay for them if the government was wrong / broke law in trying to sell them…

    His crime, if I understand this correctly, was a technical “fraud” perpetrated in a desperate attempt to stop an illegal auction of cherished public property. Seems to me the government should be giving him a reward for his courage, bravery and public service in preventing and bringing to light systemic transgressions against you, the people.

  5. Smith Says:

    Privatized prison system.

  6. shcb Says:

    How was the sale illegal? A judge found it improper after a new administration took over and Salazar changed the rules of the game, and then another judge found that improper. At best we have dueling judges.

    It wasn’t “technical” it was fraud pure and simple, he bid at an auction with no intent of paying for his purchases.

    The worst case was a lease that was in view of the signature arch in Arches, that lease had been removed from the auction because of protest by the parks department. Another lease was “visible” from Canyonlands. Have you ever been there? From Island In The Sky you can probably see close to 1000 square miles, one oil well somewhere in that view isn’t exactly a crisis.

  7. knarlyknight Says:

    “The sale was illegal because the BLM had not provided adequate review of the environmental and archaeological resources at stake…The Obama administration withdrew the leases for further review.”

    Yes, technically it was fraud, but obviously it was not fraud of the sort we saw at Enron or Wall Street where the motive is greed and personal enrichment at the expense of others (and other people’s grandmothers.)

    Two years in prison and a $10 000 fine is inappropriate considering the “good” that his actions caused, at no gain for himself.

    Compare that to this CEO whose outright lies, deceptions and obvious contempt for safety regulations caused at least 29 deaths – the CEO remains free. http://www.vanityfair.com/online/daily/2010/04/the-truth-about-don-blankenship

  8. knarlyknight Says:

    Although Smith’s remark sums it all up nicely.

  9. knarlyknight Says:

    and is oddly ominous in terms of the direction our government is pushing Canada (backwards)

    ” New statistics show the national crime rate is continuing its 20-year decline – reaching levels not seen since 1973 even as the federal Conservative government prepares legislation that would put more Canadians behind bars for longer periods of time.

    It is a juxtaposition of politics and reality that has prompted critics to accuse the government of ignoring facts at taxpayers’ expense. . .”


  10. shcb Says:

    But that doesn’t make a lot of sense. The when the parks service objected to the well being in view of the signature arch, they made the objection to the BLM, so it seems the BLM had plenty of input in the process.

    This seems a case where you are using the term illegal incorrectly. The process may have not given the results you wanted but that doesn’t mean it was illegal. This is where your assessment of what this young man did falls off the track. You might have a point if what the government did was illegal but I haven’t seen that word used by either of the dueling judges, they both used the word improper.

    It seems to me what the Bush administration did was within its power, and what the Obama administration did was within its powers. The problem is what this young man did was stall the process long enough for the administrations to change hands, and what he did was indeed illegal.

  11. knarlyknight Says:

    Hooo man, what was I thinking! Of course the Bush administration never did anything illegal! “Improper”, deceitful, immoral, or (insert your favourite euphemism here) sure, but illegal? Hurf Durf. Lorry, what a debate we be have here!

  12. shcb Says:

    It’s a huge difference! You said they did something illegal, it seems to me they didn’t. There are many things Obama has done that I don’t like, that I think are improper, but not illegal.

    You said the BLM didn’t provide adequete review, did they or did they just not come to the conclusion you wanted?

  13. knarlyknight Says:

    The conclusion I wanted? I don’t have a dog in this fight, I’ve never seen those lands and I want oil for my SUV. You want to wreck your country some more that’s your business as long as it doesn’t directly or indirectly impact species that migrate to Canada.

    Of course you can’t see it as illegal if it was done by the Bush administration, you have blinders on the size of barn doors – that’s well established. Let’s see what the wiki says, shall we?

    DeChristopher’s actions garnered national attention for an illegal government auction of public land leases during the final days of the Bush administration. On January 17, 2009, U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina temporarily halted the sale of 77 parcels, citing BLM violations of environmental laws protecting air quality and historic preservation.


    But I know, Hurf Durf Wiki!

    There’s also a double standard at play:

    “The appeal also will note, among other things, that Benson did not allow the defense to argue that prosecutors went after DeChristopher selectively, for political reasons. Attorneys had hoped to tell jurors how energy companies in the past had bid on leases without paying, but were never prosecuted, Shea said.”

  14. shcb Says:

    I’ve really gotta get a life. I found myself sitting in the terminal of ICT at 5:00 this morning reading restraining orders. It looks to me like this was being pushed through in the waning days of the Bush administration, but I can’t see where there was anything illegal done, and the judges and news paper articles I’ve read don’t say there was either. This is a case of the far fringe exaggerating. I’m reading a book about the whole psychology of the fringes vs the center and this validates many of the points in the book.

    The liberal judge that stopped this sale based his actions on some shaky grounds, he said the forest service wasn’t given 30 days to review the sale as is tradition. That may be true, but I have an article from 2005 talking about the forest department lodging a complaint on this sale, so while the BLM may not have done it perfectly, the forest service certainly wasn’t blindsided either. Many of the judges claims that the Enviros would win certain points were specious at best, they would have won some, lost some, and compromised on others. For instance, saying the Enviros would be able to win the argument that these wells would contribute to global warming? In an Enviro’s mind that could be said about every well on earth.

    It looks like it was more a case that this had been argued and litigated for years and the BLM decided it was time to finish it before Obama got in power or it was going to drag on until he was out of power, then the whole thing would start up again.

    If congress wants to protect this land they need to get off their duff and make it a wilderness area instead of “wilderness like area” as the restraining order so cleverly call it. of course then the next parcel would be a “wilderness like area” since it is now next to a wilderness area.And so on and so on.

  15. shcb Says:

    Before you get too far off base with this let me explain. Opening this area to drilling may or may not be the right thing depending on your objectives just like closing Guantanamo may or may not be the right thing to do. But closing Guantanamo wouldn’t be illegal if Obama decided to do it, he wouldn’t be a criminal, although there would be people on the far right that would claim it was illegal, unconstitutional etc. He might be proven wrong if those released caused trouble that they wouldn’t have been able to cause if they had remained in Cuba, but the move wouldn’t be illegal.

    Now defrauding the American people of 1.8 million dollars is illegal. Two years and $10,000 seems pretty light to me for 1.8 mil.

  16. knarlyknight Says:

    Those are nearly the most useless posts you’ve ever made, shcb.

    For instance, no-one was defrauded of $1.8 million dollars, silly. Tim DeChristopher did not receive $1.8 million dollars, he got NO DOLLARS.

    The public did not lose $1.8 million dollars, they simply did not get payment on land which IS STILL THERE, and which can be sold again – perhaps for more now – if due process deems it to be in the public interest. The only ones who got defrauded were the people who were trying to pull a fast one on the American public by unusual means and the oil companies who were, it appears, colluding to pay far below reasonable prices for the leases.

    As for the rest of your screed, “lorry!” that’s a lot of hurf durf.

  17. enkidu Says:


    If an R done did it, everything is lorry!
    Ifn a D dat did it, it’s sociamalism!

    It’s unconstitutional to close gitmo? lol

  18. shcb Says:

    So were you up at 5am reading the legal documents in this case? if not how do you know the rest is lorry! I’ll tell you how, you read an article that matched your bias, and you trusted it. A big portion of that article is probably true but a part of it is distorted.

    And of course it’s fraud. If someone buys your house and then doesn’t pay for it did they commit fraud? Ya betcha they did, yes you still have the house, but you will have a whole bunch of money tied up in getting it back on the market again.

  19. knarlyknight Says:

    Not my fault you type on bolgs while sleep deprived. If you got a problem with the Wiki article, you can revise it to your liking – if your version is factually correct. Good luck with that. (Note: the wiki editors will not be swayed by sob stories of reading legal matters at 5 am in an airport, but they might agree that you are an idiot.)

    “If someone buys your house and then doesn’t pay for it did they commit fraud?” Probably, unless they told you up front that they didn’t have the money (didn’t Tim state his intentions when asked at the beginning of the auction, iirc he did do that) The house thing would be a civil matter – in my country at least – so the victim is entitled to sue for damages and court costs. Maximum sentence of ten years in jail seems absurd – it probably is the private penal system in the USA that has resulted in those kinds of maximum sentences. Houses and pertroleum land lease auctions are not the same thing, stop trying to confuse the matter with silly analogies. What Tim DeChrstopher did is pretty clear, as were his motives.

    Go get some sleep before you embarass yourself further.

  20. shcb Says:

    I haven’t seen anywhere in my reading if he stated his intentions, from what I have read I would say he didn’t since his original plan was just to drive prices up but then he accidentally (his words) won one of the leases and decided that was the more effective method.

    His intentions are clear, now he has to pay the price. If he was independently wealthy and had bid 1.8 million I would expect him to be 1.8 million lighter in the pocket book today (and be an oil barron), he bid, he should pay. I think this is more like tax evasion that a civil matter since he defrauded the government and not a private individual.

    My point post plane ride this morning is I have read major portions of the actual document in question, a couple articles from the LA Times and the Desert News (Utah’s oldest newspaper) while fully awake, I’m groggy now but not then. You are basing your opinion on a wiki article and a pretty short one at that. Did the wiki article have a link to the restraining order? I don’t recall seeing one.

    The key to not be an alpha intellectual is to combine what you know through life’s experience, knowledge of experts and your own research. We all have a little alpha intellectual in us but generally speaking the less you have the more rounded your knowledge is.

  21. shcb Says:

    To be clear, I’m not so certain we should be drilling there, just don’t know enough, I’m not so certain the restraining order wasn’t called for, the judge made some good points, and some bad ones.

    My main point is that as far as I can see nothing was done illegal, and that is what you are basing your defense of this young man on, that what the government was doing was illegal so the illegality of this young man was justified. If he broke the law to further his cause, and he thought the price was worth it, fine, he has conviction, but he should still pay that price, that is what responsibility is all about. I believe that is what he is saying in his speech, we’ll see him in a couple years (probably 6 month with good behavior, not even enough time to finish his book)

  22. knarlyknight Says:

    If you “haven’t seen anywhere in [your] reading if he stated his intentions,” then clearly you have not read the subject article of this post (Mr. DeChristopher’s awesome presentencing statement.)

    Their report doesn’t mention the fact that at the auction in question, the first person who asked me what I was doing there was Agent Dan Love. And I told him very clearly that I was there to stand in the way of an illegitimate auction that threatened my future. I proceeded to answer all of his questions openly and honestly, and have done so to this day when speaking about that auction in any forum, including this courtroom.
    and in more context:

    In nearly every paragraph, the government’s memorandum uses the words lie, lied, lying, liar. It makes me want to thank whatever clerk edited out the words “pants on fire.” Their report doesn’t mention the fact that at the auction in question, the first person who asked me what I was doing there was Agent Dan Love. And I told him very clearly that I was there to stand in the way of an illegitimate auction that threatened my future. I proceeded to answer all of his questions openly and honestly, and have done so to this day when speaking about that auction in any forum, including this courtroom. The entire basis for the false statements charge that I was convicted of was the fact that I wrote my real name and address on a form that included the words “bona fide bidder.” When I sat there on the witness stand, Mr Romney asked me if I ever had any intention of being a bona fide bidder. I responded by asking Mr Romney to clarify what “bona fide bidder” meant in this context. Mr Romney then withdrew the question and moved on to the next subject. On that right there is the entire basis for the government’s repeated attacks on my integrity…

    If you can’t bother to read the article posted, then you shouldn’t be wasting everyone’s time with your uninformed comments about the subject.

  23. knarlyknight Says:

    In case you missed it, by definition there is no such thing as a “bona-fide bidder” at an illegitimate auction. However, the prosecutor and the judge seemed unwilling to allow that argument.

  24. knarlyknight Says:

    BTW, shcb’s term “alpha intellectual” is so obscure it doesn’t register on my internet search engines. I take it to mean a supreme intellectual, based on etymological consideratinos and that shcb uses it in a disparaging sense and he’s anti-intellectual.

  25. shcb Says:

    A bona fide bidder means he will pay for what he bids, so I guess he is a liar, he not only didn’t intend on making those purchases, he didn’t have the where with all to pay for them if he did. The lawyer withdrew the question because the kid had just hung himself with his answer.

    I may be mistaken about this but I believe that you have to develop the wells in a certain amount of time if you win these auctions, If that is true then he would also have to have the where with all and will to drill wells as well to be considered a bona fide bidder. That would have all be spelled out in the documents he signed, this isn’t the first lease auction ever held.

    Even the livestock auction at the county fair makes you sign a sheet that says you will pay for what you bid on, that is how you get your bid number. He admits here that he signed, then didn’t pay, do not pass go, do not collect $200.00

    There you go again, it is possible there may be no bona fide bidders in an illegal auction but there may be in an illegitimate auction, because illegitimacy is in the eye of the beholder, which brings us back to my primary point.

    One other point, he hadn’t committed a crime by signing that paper, or telling the agent he “was there to stand in the way” bla bla bla, there was no reason to stop him and probably would have been illegal to stop him. He broke the law when he didn’t pay. You see these good ole boys at this auction ain’t dumb, they knew what he was doing when he started biding up the leases, he had told them that is what he was going to do for crying out loud! But he hadn’t done anything illegal, then he won one, he probably could have paid for that one, then he bought 2, well, he and his friends probably could have paid for those. But he was hooked, he kept buying and they let him, when it got to the point where he couldn’t pay they stopped the auction. Gottcha little boy.

    The rest paid their 6 million so the sales were official knowing full well they would get their money back and bid on it again in a few years, they’re in it for the long haul.

  26. shcb Says:

    No, alpha Intellectual means someone that only gets his information from experts, it’s an interesting concept. The example usually given is if your only point of reference of the height of the human male was the NBA roster you would be very misinformed, your assessment would be correct based on the data but would be wrong. The real problem with the AI is when they become both the sender and the receiver, it becomes a self perpetuating spiral at that point.

    The opposite is someone who gets no information from experts but relies only on his own experience. Someone like that might believe the earth is flat for instance. A well informed person uses a little of both.

    Then you get into competing experts and personal biases and it really gets complicated, interesting but complicated.

  27. knarlyknight Says:

    “Without the legally-required environmental reviews, Bush’s Bureau of Land Management rushes out 116 leases on public land. This last-minute fire-sale of our shared natural resources is an obvious giveaway to the oil and natural gas industries, strong GOP supporters, and it was equally obviously illegal.

    A student activist named Tim DeChristopher, outraged, decides to disrupt the auction by placing fake bids on 14 parcels, several of which were right next to Arches and Canyonlands national parks. (According to DeChristopher, the decision was made suddenly, when he realized the tactic might work.) He succeeds in buying some time, during which a mainstream environmental group gets an injunction against several of the leases. Indeed, 11 of the 14 leases DeChristopher bid on are later withdrawn by the Interior Department, since they had lacked proper environmental reviews. In the end, of the 116 leases, only 29 are found to be legal.

    Now, DeChristopher’s act was definitely a crime. A victimless crime, and an act of civil disobedience, but a crime nonetheless. The guilty verdict, delivered on March 3, was expected.

    But the auction itself was also a crime. The Bureau of Land Management had ignored clear legal requirements for an environmental review. And such crimes are far from victimless: improper oil operations can have disastrous consequences. Earlier this month, an ExxonMobil pipeline spilled over 50,000 gallons of oil into the Yellowstone River, fouling the river for miles. It’s not a far reach to speculate that DeChristopher’s actions saved at least two national parks from similar kinds of pollution.

    None of this was allowed at trial. The government painted DeChristopher out to be a financial criminal, as if he were trying not to stop a crime, but to make some money and maybe some mischief. The judge refused to allow him to mount a “necessity” defense that would have enabled jurors to hear about the context of his actions, i.e., the illegal leases. And today he was sentenced to two years in jail — far short of the ten year maximum sentence, but far longer than all of us concerned about civil disobedience had hoped for. “

  28. knarlyknight Says:


  29. shcb Says:

    It wasn’t exactly a fire sale if they had been arguing at least since 2005, did they give a list of the environmental reviews that weren’t filed? Did they mention that at least one of them was filed the day after the restraining order was filed? That tells me they had them , probably had them from years past.

    Look, this young man will be a free agent when he gets out, the enviro community will love him, cherish him, pay him through the wazoo, this was a great investment for him, good for him, I hope he is successful in his endeavors.

    You have to understand too that there is a long history of animosity between the park service and the BLM. They have different visions but almost always find themselves neighbors. Grazing cattle has traditionally been the biggest thorn. The critters piss in the stream that runs into the park and the park people cry foul. The enviros just absolutely hate the BLM because they have to share what they think should be a park with the aforementioned bovine. BLM land is typically a buffer between the parks and private land. It is usually still open for public use but is also used for commercial purposes, therein lays the rub. The parks are always trying to get more of the BLM land, partly because they see it as a travesty that land on this side of a line is pristine and the exact same line on the other is being “raped” and partly because individuals want to increase their kingdoms. Of course the same holds true with the BLM directors, just as in the old west, vast expanses of land equal power. The big difference is the BLM will never own more property, they are always on the defense. When I first saw this story and saw it was a battle between the BLM and Parks Service I thought oh boy, here we go again. There is a lot more to this story than a snot nosed kid with an auction card.

  30. knarlyknight Says:

    “snot nosed kid” nicely sums up your complete inability to examine or comment on this issue with any objectivity whatsoever.

  31. Smith Says:

    “No, alpha Intellectual means someone that only gets his information from experts, it’s an interesting concept. The example usually given is if your only point of reference of the height of the human male was the NBA roster you would be very misinformed”

    Good lord this is dumb. NBA players are experts on human height? Being tall doesn’t make you an expert on human height. What kind of stupid bullshit is this? NBA players might be experts on “being tall”, but not “the height of a human male”. Either you don’t understand this concept enough to present a coherent example, or you pulled this shit out of your ass. Or perhaps both.

  32. Smith Says:

    “he’s anti-intellectual”


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