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Jeff "Free" Luers is an environmental activist from Los Angeles, California, currently serving a ten year prison sentence for arson in the U.S. state of Oregon. On February 14, 2007, The Oregon Court of Appeals overturned Luers' sentence, instructing the Lane County circuit court to determine a new sentence.[1] That court reduced the sentence from 22 years, 8 months to 10 years in February 2008, after what The Independent described as an "international campaign for a more appropriate sentence for a crime in which no one was hurt." [2]

BackgroundEdit

He is a former resident of Eugene, Oregon and helped establish Red Cloud Thunder, a group of activists who organized a tree sitting campaign to stop the thinning and clear-cutting of old growth forests outside of Fall Creek, Oregon.

Arson and sentencingEdit

In 2000 he set fire to three SUVs at Romania Chevrolet dealership in Eugene as a protest against excessive consumption and global warming, along with Craig "Critter" Marshall, who was sentenced to five and a half years in prison (Barcott writes that Luers might have received a comparable sentence if he had not been convicted of an earlier attempted arson as well).[3] Luers was initially sentenced to 22 years, 8 months in prison.[4] Supporters argued that his sentence was excessive, because no one was injured and property damage was estimated at only $28,000.[4] Opponents argue that this act constituted eco-terrorism, there could easily have been loss of life due to the unpredictable nature of arson, and Luers's complete lack of remorse, along with an apparent willingness to perpetuate further "violent" acts, make him a "risk to society."[5]

The Oregon Court of Appeals overturned the sentence in 2007, remanding the case to the Lane County circuit court for resentencing. In February 2008, the circuit court approved a reduction in his term to 10 years, most of which had already been served; he could be free as early as December 2009.[4]

Reaction to sentenceEdit

Luers has become a cause célèbre among some radicals, anti-prison activists, and people associated with the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), although Luers has said that he does not consider himself an ELF member.[6]

Each year since his imprisonment, there has been some call to action in his support around the anniversary of his sentencing. On June 12, 2004, there were demonstrations in several places in the United States, along with events in other countries.Template:Fact There were also a number of concerts, video showings, and dinners to raise support for Luers. In Moscow, supporters spray painted "Free Jeff Luers!" on a wall outside of the American Embassy. The FBI issued a warning to various businesses and media outlets that acts of eco-terrorism might occur around this date. No such actions occurred, and activists claimed that the FBI was using scare tactics to intimidate its opponents. A similar "Weekend of Resistance" took place June 10-12, 2005, with events occurring worldwide.[7]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit

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