Sentencing this week for Commissioner Lyman and Monte Wells for 2014 Recapture Canyon ATV protest
Dec 16, 2015 | 3970 views | 0 0 comments | 93 93 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sentencing will take place on Friday, December 18 for Monte Wells and San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman for their role in the May, 2014 ATV protest in Recapture Canyon.

Lyman and Wells were each found guilty of two federal misdemeanor charges after a jury trial in May. Trial Judge Robert Shelby stepped away from the case after the trial. As a result, Federal Judge David Nuffer will issue the sentence.

Judge Nuffer has already ruled that Lyman and Wells will be responsible to repay nearly $100,000 in restitution for costs associated with the protest.

Several hundred people participated in the peaceful protest, a portion of which took place on a section of Recapture Canyon that had been closed to vehicular traffic by the Bureau of Land Management.

Lyman and Wells were each convicted of a single count of conspiring to plan the protest and another count of participating in the protest. The offenses are punishable by up to one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.

Prosecutors seek prison time and a fine while the defense seeks probation and community service.

The US Attorney states that in addition to the restitution, Lyman should serve up to ten months in prison and pay a fine between $3,000 and $30,000.

The recommended sentencing for Wells is six months in prison and a fine between $2,000 and $20,000.

According to Lyman’s attorney, the Commissioner should be sentenced to probation and community service.

His attorney states that Lyman “was not acting out of self-interest, but rather on behalf of the people of San Juan County who were upset at the way the BLM had managed the closure of the canyon. He represented the citizens of San Juan County and he was acting as their representative.

“Nevertheless, Mr. Lyman now fully realizes that his conduct was misguided. At the time, he was caught up in the emotions and frustrations of the BLM’s delays in reopening the canyon and believed, along with other citizens of San Juan County, that the protest would send a message and create action for the BLM that would expedite the reopening.

“It was hoped that calling attention to the problem would be a catalyst for change. In hindsight, Mr. Lyman recognizes that his actions have probably had the inverse effect and that he should have been more diligent in dissuading the voices of the citizenry and communicated better with the BLM.”

Attorneys for Wells state “probation and restitution is the appropriate sentence” and add a sentence of probation and an order of restitution in the amount of $95,955.61 is a sentence that reflects the seriousness of the offense, and effectively serves a deterrent effect on Monte and on would be law breakers.”
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