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In final sentencing, judge upholds defendant's term.

Byline: Bill Bishop The Register-Guard

A federal judge on Wednesday reimposed a four-year, three-month prison sentence on Jonathan Christopher Mark Paul, a longtime leader in the radical environmental movement and the last of 10 defendants indicted INDICTED, practice. When a man is accused by a bill of indictment preferred by a grand jury, he is said to be indicted.  and sentenced in Eugene for conspiracy to commit arson to promote their views.

Paul's lawyer, Marc Blackman of Portland, disputed the sentence during a June 5 hearing, claiming the judge lacked authority or failed to follow the law to set the prison term. U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken Ann L. Aiken (born December 29, 1951) is a United States District Court judge for the District of Oregon.

Aiken was born in Salem, Oregon and graduated from the University of Oregon in 1974, Rutgers University in 1976, and the University of Oregon School of Law in 1979.
 set Wednesday's hearing to settle the matter. She ultimately refuted Blackman's objections and let her sentence stand.

Additionally, Aiken ordered Paul to read the best-selling best·sell·er also best seller  
A product, such as a book, that is among those sold in the largest numbers.

 book "Three Cups of Tea," and to write a book review for her before reporting to prison on Oct. 1. The book is a true account of Greg Mortenson's effort to combat terrorism by building 55 schools in Pakistan National
  • Mansehra International Public School College(MIPS),(Main Campus) for boys and (City Campus) for Girls,Mansehra
 and Afghanistan.

Aiken also read a lengthy letter she received from Paul's co-defendant Stanislas Meyerhoff, who is serving a 13-year prison term - the longest meted to any in the conspiracy. Meyerhoff has repeatedly renounced violence, cooperated with authorities and pledged to work peacefully to help others and improve society. Meyerhoff's letter recounted his work teaching Spanish and English to fellow inmates.

Paul also has publicly renounced arson as a means to end animal suffering and environmental exploitation. He refused to name others in the conspiracy when he signed a plea deal to settle his case.

In court, Aiken challenged him to "walk the walk," and prove through his actions in prison and after his release that his stated commitment to nonviolence is true. She told Paul on Wednesday that Meyerhoff's letter and Mortenson's book are meant to inspire him to find his own ways of coming back into the community.

"Sentences have to be about giving people a chance to be held accountable by society and yet come back and be productive," Aiken told him. "I read that (Meyerhoff's letter) because he is walking a path you say you'll walk. And I expect the same."

Aiken has taken time during each of the 10 sentencing hearings to offer similar guidance tailored to each of the defendants in the conspiracy. She compared Paul's inherited wealth Noun 1. inherited wealth - wealth that is inherited rather than earned
wealth, wealthiness - the state of being rich and affluent; having a plentiful supply of material goods and money; "great wealth is not a sign of great intelligence"
, intelligence, education and family support with the relative poverty and social obstacles Mortenson overcame to build schools in Asia.

"You can do far better than what you did," she told Paul.

In a public statement after court, Paul, 41, urged fellow activists to reject arson as a weapon in their fight.

In earlier statements he said he rejected arson after helping burn down the Cavel West horse meat packing plant packing plant

a complete meat production unit including facilities for slaughtering animals, processing of meat and offal, boning out, making up of blocks of carcasses, chilling, freezing, storing of the meat, preparation of by-products.
 in Redmond in 1997. He became a volunteer firefighter/medical technician and went on more than 2,000 calls in Southern Oregon This article is about the southern region of the U.S. state of Oregon. For the University, see Southern Oregon University.
Southern Oregon is a region of the U.S.
 - once treating a man whom he knew was a bear poacher, another time rescuing a three-week-old kitten kitten

newborn or young cat or ferret.

kitten mortality complex
a general term applied to a syndrome involving death of young kittens, particularly in breeding establishments.
 on a highway.

On Wednesday he said arson defiles the belief that all life is sacred and violates the tenet of nonviolence embraced by the environmental movement. Even though no one has been injured in 25 years since the underground groups Earth Liberation Front The Earth Liberation Front (ELF) is the collective name for anonymous and autonomous individuals or groups that, according to the now defunct Earth Liberation Front Press Office, use "economic sabotage and guerrilla warfare to stop the exploitation and destruction of the  and Animal Liberation Front The Animal Liberation Front (ALF) is a name used internationally by those who, through the means of direct action, oppose the use of animals as property or resources through capitalizing on the destruction and experimentation of animals.  first employed arson, Paul said fire can change that record in an instant and the risk is not acceptable.

Paul declined to take questions.

Blackman vowed to appeal Paul's sentence.

His objections involve the complex federal sentencing guidelines The Federal Sentencing Guidelines are rules that set out a uniform sentencing policy for convicted defendants in the United States federal court system. The Guidelines are the product of the United States Sentencing Commission and are part of an overall federal sentencing reform , court rulings that guide their application, the agreement among parties in the case to use guidelines that were in effect in 2000, and Paul's plea bargain plea bargain n. in criminal procedure, a negotiation between the defendant and his attorney on one side and the prosecutor on the other, in which the defendant agrees to plead "guilty" or "no contest" to some crimes, in return for reduction of the severity of the .

Aiken meticulously addressed each of Blackman's claims, reciting her reasoning and citing court rulings behind her decisions.

She said she uniformly imposed the federal terrorism law in arsons clearly aimed at affecting or punishing government conduct. She noted she used her judicial power to impose a similarly longer sentence for arsons aimed at private individuals or companies, saying there is no practical difference between the two crimes when the motives are the same.

Aiken also said she gave great weight to plea deals hammered out between prosecutors and defense lawyers for all defendants, granting much lower sentences than called for. She reminded Paul that he could have gotten up to 10 years for his single crime.

As it turned out, Aiken gave Paul six months less than called for in his plea deal. Blackman sought a term of just over three years. Others in the conspiracy faced life terms because they were involved in many more arsons.

"The court is not treating Mr. Paul more severely than ... any other of the co-conspirators. Indeed, I am treating him the same," Aiken told Blackman.

Wednesday's hearing closes the major cases resulting from Operation Backfire Operation Backfire may refer to:
  • Operation Backfire (WWII)
  • Operation Backfire (FBI), an FBI operation against certain actions by the radical environmental movement.
, the name given the sweeping investigation of 20 arson crimes in five states over a five-year period that did well over $20 million in property damage.

One conspirator conspirator n. a person or entity who enters into a plot with one or more other people or entities to commit illegal acts, legal acts with an illegal object, or using illegal methods, to the harm of others.  has a hearing Friday to challenge her sentence. Two relatively minor participants face sentencing in federal court in Washington state, where another is scheduled for trial next month. Four others remain fugitives.

The sentencing of Jacob Jeremiah Ferguson, a major participant whose cooperation led to the conspiracy's downfall, has not be scheduled. His plea deal reportedly is for probation and no jail time.
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Title Annotation:Crime; Aiken dismisses objections to an earlier four-year sentence and challenges the former arsonist to "walk the walk"
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Aug 2, 2007
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