Why the prosecution wants a harsh sentence for Tim: To stop YOU from taking action

If you were skeptical about the government’s intent to use his prosecution to make an example of Tim DeChristopher, in order to deter other activists from taking bold action on the most crucial issue of our times, we can finally put your doubts to rest.

In anticipation of his sentencing hearing on July 26th, the Prosecution filed its official sentencing recommendations for Tim DeChristopher, and are urging Judge Dee Benson to give Tim a heavily punitive sentence.

The report in its entirety, along with their objections to the initial sentencing recommendations filed by the sentencing officer (which the Prosecution views as “far too lenient”), are available here. Meanwhile, here are some choice excerpts (all emphasis mine).

C.   The Need to Afford Adequate Deterrence to Criminal Conduct.

As opposed to preventing this particular defendant from committing further crimes (see discussion below), the sentence should be crafted “to afford adequate deterrence to criminal conduct” by others. Based upon the level of media attention at the trial and pre-trial hearings, the Court should presume that many are watching to see the eventual sentence for the defendant’s conduct. Among the many listening to the Court’s sentence, there are those few who are considering the defendant’s invitation and encouragement to join him outside the bounds of law, and inside jail. Accordingly, the defendant’s sentence should effectively communicate that similar acts will have definite consequences. To be sure, a federal prison term here will deter others from entering a path of criminal behavior.

From Section B, “The Need to Reflect the Seriousness of the Offense, Promote Respect for the Law, and Provide Just Punishment for the Offense:”

A significant prison term will promote respect for the law. This factor is perhaps most telling as it applies to the defendant’s crimes where his acts, including post-offense conduct, champion disrespect for the rule of law. He lied to government officials to get a bidder card and the authority to participate in the auction, and he obstructed the rules and laws governing the event. Since then, he has encouraged others to act similarly and join him outside the bounds of the law. Then, there are the pre-trial efforts linked to the defendant focused on tainting the prospective jurors*, and persuading them to abandon or ignore rules and laws governing their service. The Court should have little tolerance for this behavior, and should fashion a penalty that promotes respect for the law, and justifies law-abiding society’s reliance on the rule of law for protection and order.

*Note: The Prosecution’s assertion of Tim’s “tainting the prospective jurors” refers to the volunteers who handed out information on the rights and role of a jury to prospective jurors in the time frame around Tim’s trial. These were handed to all prospective jurors who were involved in any jury trials, and Tim himself had nothing to do with these efforts.

From Section D, “The Need to Protect the Public from Further Crimes of the Defendant:”

For the duration of this prosecution, [the defendant] has garnered audiences which include a fringe element that promotes criminal conduct to advance a cause. An immediate term of significant imprisonment will negate his participation with fringe elements promoting criminal acts, and assuredly protect the law-abiding public.

And finally, from the Conclusion:

The defendant’s crimes are serious. Probation, or a nominal term of imprisonment will not comply with the sentencing purposes set forth in Section 3553(a). More importantly, such a sentence would not satisfy the interests of justice. The rule of law is the bedrock of our civilized society, not acts of “civil disobedience” committed in the name of the cause of the day. A significant term of imprisonment will underscore this truth for the defendant and the community.

Now is our moment to demonstrate that the climate justice movement will not be intimidated or deterred.

Feel free to read the report in its entirety. It will give you an absolute certainty about the political nature of this prosecution, and its blatant intent to use Tim, his life, and his future as a deterrent to other activists whose actions threaten the powerful people who continue to exploit, abuse, and undermine the citizens whom they are honor-bound to serve and to represent.