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Prosecutors want jail time for commissioner in Recapture Canyon protest ride

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Posted at 8:10 AM, Aug 25, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-25 10:56:08-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Federal prosecutors are asking for jail time for a San Juan County commissioner convicted of his role in a protest ride in Recapture Canyon.

In court filings obtained by FOX 13 on Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Utah asked for incarceration for Commissioner Phil Lyman and his co-defendant, Monte Wells. Federal prosecutors also asked for more than $95,000 in fines.

San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman leaves federal court on Dec. 23, 2014.

San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman leaves federal court on Dec. 23, 2014.

“Instead of choosing any one or more of these numerous legally-permissible mechanisms to express their disagreement with federal decisions, Defendants chose crime. Defendants’ crimes included recruiting dozens of others to join them in breaking the law. Defendants’ recruiting efforts were significantly assisted by Mr. Lyman’s use of his political office, which provided the specter of official imprimatur for his criminal acts,” prosecutors wrote.

“Where, as here, Defendants turn to crime to express their disagreement with government decisions instead of using the numerous lawful means at their disposal, the law must impose consequences that are significant enough to teach Defendants respect for the law and to deter Defendants and others from engaging in similar criminal behavior.”

Lyman and Wells were convicted by a federal jury over the protest ride held in southeastern Utah in May 2014. Dozens rode through Recapture Canyon in a protest against federal roads policies.

Lyman and Wells are scheduled to be sentenced in September.