Tim DeChristopher is on his way to prison. The climate-change activist Tuesday was handed a sentence he did not deserve after a trial in which he was not allowed to explain the reasons for his action, when his motivation was his only real defense.
DeChristopher certainly is a martyr for those who want to focus attention on human-caused global warming, and he probably takes some comfort in that. He said he has no regrets. But this extreme sentence, more than a rallying point, is an indictment of the judicial system that zeroed in on one young man who was acting according to his conscience but looks the other way when others illegally make the opposite point.
U.S. District Judge Dee Benson sentenced DeChristopher, 30, to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine. He was convicted in March of bidding on oil and gas leases during a December 2008 federal auction. A jury found DeChristopher defrauded the federal government, running up a $1.8 million tab he couldn't pay.