[Ppnews] Eco-prisoner Jeff “Free” Luers released from prison

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Dec 17 18:54:25 EST 2009


Civil Liberties Defense Center
Lauren Regan, Attorney & Executive Director
259 East 5th Avenue, Suite 300-A
Eugene, Oregon 97401
(541) 687-9180 Tel
(541) 686-2137 Fax
Email: lregan at cldc.org

Media Advisory—for immediate release December 16, 2009

Eco-prisoner Jeff “Free” Luers released from prison

PORTLAND – Dec 16th, 2009 – Jeff “Free” Luers, 
political prisoner and environmental activist, was released from the
Columbia River Correctional Institution this 
morning after serving nine and half years. Luers was originally sentenced in
2001 to twenty two years and eight months for the 
politically motivated arson of three SUV's at a car dealership in
Eugene, OR. This sentence was deemed grossly 
disproportionate to the damage sustained by the car dealership and
was condemned by legal professionals, human 
rights groups and activists worldwide. At an appeal hearing in 2007 it was
ruled that Luers' original sentence was illegal, 
and was consequently reduced to ten years.

Luers' release today comes after what Oregon 
Department of Corrections described as a 'mistake' when they released
him early on October 20th this year. After a few 
short hours of freedom, Luers was taken back into custody in Eugene after
the State agency reversed its decision and 
determined that he did not qualify under the new House Bill 3508 for an
additional 10% reduction in sentence. DOC's gross 
incompetence in this situation, and the emotional toll borne by his
family and loved ones, is just one of many 
examples of the distressing levels of bureaucratic impropriety that Luers has
endured during his years behind bars.

Upon his release this morning, Mr. Luers stated:

“The last 9½ years have been difficult at best. I 
have witnessed things in prison that I will carry with me
for the rest of my life. I have endured hardship 
and loss. Without a doubt, this experience has changed me. What
hasn’t changed is my commitment to environmental and social justice.”

“I would like to thank all the people who have 
supported me through the years; especially the dedicated
few who worked tirelessly to get me out of 
prison. I look forward to spending time with my loved ones and
continuing my education, as well as continuing my activism.”

During his time in prison, seven of which were 
served in maximum security, Luers has maintained his activism by writing
about environmental and social justice issues. In 
particular, he has continued to bring attention to the specter of human induced
climate change, the cause that motivated Luers to 
set fire to three SUV's in 2000. Since his original sentencing,
awareness of climate change has become 
omnipresent. It seems ironic that Luers has been released during the
Copenhagen Climate Summit where world leaders are 
converging around the need for extreme action to be taken on
global carbon emissions.

http://www.freejeffluers.org

Contact: Lauren Regan, Attorney with Civil 
Liberties Defense Center, for comment or to arrange interviews. 541-687-
9180; info at cldc.org.

General Background

In June 2001, 23 year-old forest defense activist 
Jeffrey "Free" Luers was sentenced to 22 years and 8 months in prison
for the burning of three Sport Utility Vehicles 
(SUV's) in Eugene, Oregon. In an attempt to make a statement about global
warming, Jeff and his codefendent, Craig 
'Critter' Marshall, set fire to 3 SUV's at a 
Eugene car dealership causing minor
property damage. Their stated purpose was to 
raise awareness about global warming and the role that SUV's play in that
process. No one was hurt in this action nor was 
that the intent. An arson specialist at trial confirmed that the action did not
pose any threat to people based on its size and 
distance from any fuel source. Despite the fact that this action hurt no
one, caused only $40,000 in damages and the cars 
were later resold, Jeff was sent to prison for a sentence considerably
longer than those convicted of murder, kidnapping 
and rape in Oregon and around the country. Amnesty International
declared Luers a political prisoner based upon 
the egregious disparity in his sentence.

Jeff's appeal was filed in January 2002 and oral 
arguments before the Oregon Court of Appeals were heard on November
30, 2005. Over a year later, on February 14, 2007 
the Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that Jeff's case should be
reversed and remanded back to the Circuit Court 
for resentencing. A year after their decision, a resentencing hearing
finally took place on February 28, 2008 in Lane 
County Circuit Court which reduced Jeff's sentence to 10 years.
On October 1, 2009, the Court signed a 
supplemental judgment granting Jeff an additional 10% reduction in his total
incarceration time, and he was released the next 
day. Six hours later the prison outrageously took him back into custody
due to a "mistake".





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