Friday, October 23, 2015

Judge denies new trial for convicted San Juan County commissioner

San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman will not get a new trial after his conviction for an illegal ATV protest ride in a closed southern Utah canyon. U.S. District Judge David Nuffer denied Lyman's and co-defendant Monte Wells' request in a written decision Thursday. In a separate order, Nuffer also rejected the commissioner's motion for an acquittal. Meantime, Lyman informed the Utah Association of Counties on Thursday that he will not accept its award for County Commissioner of the Year. Lyman and Wells argued that prosecutors failed to disclose a 1979 map showing the road in Recapture Canyon is a public right of way known as an RS2477 road. They say that means they can't be legally faulted for leading and riding with a group of protestors who were angry about the Bureau of Land Management closing the canyon. Prosecutors say the map is irrelevant because the legal status of the canyon was not an issue for the jury. U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby, who has since removed himself from the case, did not allow defense lawyers to argue about the road closure during the trial because he had already found it legal. Nuffer agreed...more

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