Thursday, February 28, 2008

Jeffrey "Free" Luers Sentence Reduced to 10 Years

Civil Rights Outreach Committee

For Release: Thursday, Feb. 28, 2008
Lauren Regan, Attorney 541-687-9180

Jeffrey "Free" Luers Sentence Reduced to 10 Years

February 28, 2008 (Eugene, OR)- 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

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.

Statement from Jeffrey Luers:
"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 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 of 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."

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