[Ppnews] Jeff "Free" Luers has been resentenced! Out in 2009

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Feb 28 17:02:01 EST 2008

Jeffrey "Free" Luers Sentence Reduced to 10 Years

This morning at 9:00am in Lane County Circuit 
Court the re-sentencing hearing for Jeffrey Luers 
took place in front of Judge Billings. This 
followed an Oregon court of appeals ruling in 
February 2007 that Luers original sentence of 22 
years 8 months by Judge Lyle Velure was illegal, 
and the appeals court remanded the case back to 
Lane County Circuit Court for re-sentencing. 
Following the appeals court decision, 
negotiations have resulted in the decision today 
to reduce Luers sentence to 10 years, bringing 
his release date to late December 2009. In June 
2001, then 23 year-old Jeffrey "Free" Luers was 
arrested for the burning of three trucks at a 
Eugene car dealership. His stated purpose was to 
raise awareness about global warming and the role 
that SUVs and trucks play in that process. 
Despite the fact that this action hurt no one, 
caused only $28,000 in damages and the cars were 
later resold, Luers received the draconian sentence imposed by Velure.

Luers gained support locally as well as all over 
the world as a political prisoner. It is widely 
believed that Luers received such a drastic 
sentence because of the political nature of the 
action he took. Following his original sentence, 
Amnesty International and the Eugene Human Rights 
Commission (EHRC) issued letters of support 
citing that the sentence appeared to be 
politically motivated. During the course of his 
trial, statements were made by the police and 
prosecuting attorney that indicated it was Luers' 
political views on trial, not merely his actions. 
His defense successfully proved that evidence had 
been tampered with, officers had lied and that 
the prosecutor had manipulated evidence to get a 
legal search warrant at his residence. Luers was 
given a sentence that attempted to send the 
message to environmental and social justice 
activists that even a merely symbolic act of 
property destruction could be punished more 
harshly than many crimes against persons.

Prior to his imprisonment, Luers was a very well 
respected community activist in Eugene, Oregon 
involved with forest defense and cooking free 
food for the city's homeless population. He has 
remained active from prison, often writing news 
articles and monthly dispatches to his growing 
list of supporters. With a release date on the 
horizon, Luers future is bright and he plans to 
pursue courses and looks forward to sharing 
quality time with his family and loved ones.

Jeffrey (Free) Luers Resentencing Hearing, Feb. 
28, 2008, Eugene, OR Contact: Lauren Regan, 
Attorney- Civil Liberties Defense Center 541-687-9180

Lane County Circuit Court Sentencing Hearing in 
front of Judge J.A. Billings Present: Defendant 
Jeffrey Luers, Attorneys Lauren Regan, Jess 
Barton and Hugh Duvall on behalf of Mr. Luers; 
Assistant District Attorney Erik Hasselman on behalf of the State of Oregon.

Statement of Jeffrey Luers to Judge Billings at Sentencing

It has been many years since I first stood in 
court to be sentenced for these actions. I now 
not only have the benefit of hindsight but also 
possess the knowledge and understanding that 
comes from leaving the naiveté of youth behind.

I can now say with all honesty that I was wrong 
to think that arson would inspire social change. 
But, my failure in understanding that does not 
mean I have changed my opinion of radical activism.

Mr. Hassleman has a written statement from me in 
which I have acknowledged being wrong. I have 
also committed to living the life of a 
law-abiding citizen and promoting my activism 
through legal means and channels. Understandably, 
the prosecutor has expressed some skepticism of 
my sincerity. I wish to lay those fears to rest.

I am truly excited about my future. Through the 
love and support of my family, friends and many 
people I do not even know, I have numerous 
options available to me. I am looking forward to 
furthering my education, and pursuing my goals 
through hard work. I am ready to share my life 
with my loved ones and I am dedicated to giving 
back to the community that has shown me so much 
love and support through these years of 
imprisonment. That is not the lip service the 
prosecutor may fear, but my sincere desire to move on with my life.

However, choosing to take a new path and 
recognizing my mistakes and failures does not 
make me ashamed of them. I am sorry if my actions 
instilled fear or the sense of victimization in 
the Romania family. That was never my intent.

I sought to promote change through radical 
struggle. I viewed the refusal of our government 
and corporate institutions to address the issues 
and dire consequences of global warming as 
legitimate reasons for direct action. I still 
believe that government and corporate inaction is 
a legitimate reason for direct action. Yet, I 
recognize that militant struggle has failed to 
create widespread social change for many reasons. 
And I'm not sure if it is even capable of 
creating the change we desperately need.

We are witnessing a mass extinction event taking 
place in our life times. The world's top 
scientists are warning that by the middle of this 
century, 30 to 50 percent of all living species 
could be extinct. There are predictions of 250 
million people, or more, dying for lack of water 
and food. Fears that melting glaciers in Alaska 
and Greenland could catastrophically raise global 
sea levels. While here at home our leading 
climate scientists have been censored by our 
government. Their reports edited by Bush 
appointees who now work for some of Americas 
biggest oil companies. We have been deceived by 
the very people responsible for our well-being.

Fortunately, the veil has been lifted and many 
Americans are now demanding that action be taken 
on climate change and other environmental issues. 
Indeed many states are now confronting our 
federal government on the topic. However, so far 
all legislative attempts to solve the problem 
have failed or have lacked the necessary backbone 
to accomplish anything meaningful. The time for 
change has to be now. We no longer have the 
luxury of passing our problems off to the next 
generation. We must be vigilant in our 
determination to create change and find solutions 
to what is arguably the greatest threat humanity 
has ever faced. It is the people in this 
courtroom, the citizens of this country, this 
state and this country that must carry the 
responsibility for creating change. For if we 
can't change our own lives how can we expect others to change theirs?

I'm ready and willing to change so that I can 
help find real solutions to our problems. I'm 
ready to help find methods that aren't limited to 
rhetoric. Doomed to failure by symbolism or 
rendered meaningless by corruption. I choose to 
take a new direction because not only is a new 
path sorely needed in my own life, but a new 
direction is sorely needed by our country. I 
recognize that if I'm not helping to create that 
change, I'm just standing in the way. We are all 
in this together whether we are labeled radical, 
conservative or liberal. And together is the only 
way we are going to solve this problem.

It is easy for me to say these things. I doubt 
that my commitment to the environment or social 
change has ever been questioned. However, I am 
sure the court as well as many others, question 
whether or not I have truly left my militant past 
behind. To which all I can say is that I am ready 
to live my life. I'm ready to put the needs of my 
family first. And I'm also ready to find success 
where thus far radical struggle has failed. More 
than anything, I am just ready to move on."

To which Judge J.A. Billings responded that he 
has been a lawyer and a judge for 35 years and he 
has never received a statement from a defendant 
of such high quality. "I'm very impressed with 
you. I have no hesitation in accepting this 
sentence. I wish you only the best."

2/28/08 Statement of Jeffrey Luers After Sentencing Hearing

Today I feel a great weight lifted off of me, and 
my loved ones. While I believe my new sentence is 
still more of a reflection of my activism and my 
dissent than my actual crimes; I am looking 
forward to my much closer release date.

I continue to stand by my actions and have no 
regrets about my choices. These last several 
years in prison have not deterred me from 
speaking my mind, following my heart or standing 
up against oppression and injustice.

I am proud of the many things I have accomplished 
while incarcerated, including reaching beyond 
oceans and borders to help raise awareness about 
global warming and to help combat social injustice.

I am thankful to my family, friends and the 
thousands of supporters and fellow activists from 
around the world who have stood by me since day 
one. And I'd especially like to thank my 
attorneys, and friends. Lauren Regan, Misha 
Dunlap and Shawn Wiley for never giving up on 
getting me out sooner than 22 years.

I am happy to say this journey is almost over and I'll be coming home soon.

For more information, go to www.cldc.org and www.freejeffluers.org.

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

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