This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
An old lawyer told me, if you walk into a lion's cage and punch the lion in the face, don't complain if he eats you. Tim DeChristopher's actions in opposing the Bush Administration's oil leases were honorable and courageous.
Tim is an excellent spokesman for the save-the-Earth movement. Having stepped into the lion's cage, he can legitimately claim martyrdom.
Although I represented him in court, Tim and I diverge on his claim that the system of justice is "corrupt." I disagreed with the rulings; however, I never would use "corrupt" to describe his trial.
Having fought against injustice in our flawed system for 40 years, it is my observation that most everyone does their best under difficult circumstances. I disagree with U.S. District Judge Dee Benson's rulings, but I never considered him dishonorable, and certainly not corrupt, even after that contentious and emotional trial.
After the conviction, Tim decided to continue to punch the lion. He suffered the consequence of an unnecessary prison sentence, which I argued against vigorously.
When he now unfairly calls a judge "corrupt," he does a disservice to his cause, and sadly, his complaint seems a personal vendetta, something he accuses other of pursuing against him.
Ronald J. Yengich
Salt Lake City