Federal Judge David Sam filed a motion in the court on September 14, 2015, simply stating, “I find I must step aside in the above matter.”
Next on the growing list of judges assigned the case is Federal Judge David Nuffer.
Judge Sam’s actions follow on the heels on Federal Judge Jill Parrish, who stepped down on September 11.
Judge Parrish stated that as a U.S. Attorney several years ago, she had represented the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in a previous case regarding roads on public lands.
Parrish was replacing the trial judge, Robert Shelby. Judge Shelby stepped away from the case in August after attorneys representing San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman suggested that the judge may not be objective because of a personal friendship with the lead attorney for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA).
Lyman and Monte Wells were convicted in a jury trial of two misdemeanors each for their role in planning and participating in the protest.
Sentencing was scheduled to take place on September 15 but has been delayed.