Environmental activist trial delayed
A tsunami of filings in the case against two environmental activists eventually resulted in a stay of the trial date.
Rose Chilcoat and Mark Franklin, of Durango, CO, were set for a trial this week before Seventh District Judge Lyle R. Anderson. The trial has been delayed after a ruling in a court of appeals.
More than 165 separate filings were made on the case since April, but Judge Anderson seemed determined to conduct the trial. Most cases generally have no more than a dozen filings.
The stay in the trial date was eventually forced by two filings, not in Seventh District Court, but in the court of appeals.
Attorneys for Chilcoat and Franklin had appealed Anderson’s rulings regarding binding the two over for trial and on a motion to disqualify San Juan County Attorney Kendall Laws from prosecuting the case.
Chilcoat and Franklin face charges related to an April 1, 2017 incident at Lime Ridge, between Bluff and Mexican Hat. They are charged with endangering wildlife by closing a gate on a corral that was the watering spot for cattle.
The case has gained widespread attention, due in part to Chilcoat’s previous involvement as an associate director of the Great Old Broads for Wilderness, an environmental group that has sought to limit cattle grazing permits on public lands in the area.
The trial location had previously been moved from Monticello to Price after defense attorneys presented the results of a public opinion survey that showed a large number of San Juan County residents are opposed to environmental groups and environmental activism.