Legal Update Nov. 30, 2005

This morning after over 4 years of waiting, the Oregon Court of Appeals finally heard oral arguments in my case. While I did not attend, I was informed of what transpired by my attorneys at the Civil Liberties Defense Center.

My attorney was given 15 minutes to argue my case. He spent the majority of the time dealing with the merge issue, which would significantly reduce my sentence. Of the 3-judge panel, one appeared to be supportive of this idea, asking pointed questions of the Attorney General on why they disagreed.

The argument against Measure 11 was also made. This unfortunately did not seem to gather as much support. The panel seemed to be evenly split, with one judge a known conservative, one moderate-to-liberal (perhaps) and a relative newcomer that no one knows much about. The state argued against merger and against my Blakely issues, which deal with my 4-year upper departure sentence.

All in all, my attorneys felt mixed about the case. I got the impression that it could have been better, but also could have been much worse. I won’t dare to venture a guess as to the outcome, but I will keep my fingers crossed. There is no deadline for a decision, it is now a waiting game. My attorney thinks anywhere from 6-8 months, but it could be as soon as one month or as long as 2 years.

-Jeff Free Luers

For background information, please see  http://freefreenow.org/appeal.html

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Jeffrey Free Luers
Dispatch
December 1, 2005

I write more of these things than the world will ever see. The ones I do send out get edited and rewritten until I’m satisfied it isn’t too much. I know I am intense in all my emotions and honestly that’s where my courage comes from.

My friends know me well, but each of them knows a side or a trait of me and few see the
whole picture. I think that many would say I can be very open, but unreadable and closed when I choose. I carry my pain on the inside. I keep it there because it is mine. I know that trait can be analyzed and defined many ways, especially in men. But it is not a macho thing for me. Pain is like love, it is intimate and personal. It's not something to be shared with everyone. On occasion, through these Dispatches, I open a window to my soul. Sometimes, you can only make people understand by showing them.

Yes, I’m depressed and it hits me in waves. At times I feel like I’m drowning. I’m not depressed by my life. I can take care of myself quite well and, all things considered, my life is pretty good. What has me heartbroken is the state of this struggle. Frankly, I feel disappointed (not personally; in that regard I feel amazingly loved and supported). I feel like the force I've believed in for the last 13 years has failed. I feel defeated. I know it is incredibly naive and utopian, but I truly believed that we were gonna change the world. For the first time ever it hit me that I’m not sure we will.

"Struggle" here in the U.S. seems far more centered around feel-good activism than it does creating change; more about symbolic dissent than actual resistance. It is almost like for most people being aware of the problem and being upset by it is enough. It isn’t and it never will be.

Five years ago I said we were running out of time to act. In those 5 years, this movement has grown weaker and more withdrawn. There is less cell activity and more people in jail. There are fewer protests and more factionalized in-fighting. It has become easier to isolate ourselves in self-marginalized cliques pointing fingers at each other instead of raising a united fist.

This summer, I wrote a few controversial pieces about this movement. I flat-out said we had grown timid and weak. I tried to pick a fight. I wanted people to get angry. I wanted to see the lifeblood of this movement stir. I got one letter in response. One. He said he felt the same and was glad someone had the courage to voice it. The only other response was from the nice man who types these Dispatches and sends them to you. He argued with me (thanks, bro).

Today, I received 5 letters about my last Dispatch. I’m sure I’ll get more. These folks were trying to cheer me up and make me smile. I appreciate the gesture and concern sincerely, make no mistake. Still, I point this out because to me it is demonstrative of our movement at large. Few people want to address the tough questions: Where are we going? Why aren’t we more successful? How do we evolve our tactics? How do we create real and meaningful change? Most activists are willing to point out the good. Many are quick to get positive energy going. Even if at the end of the day nothing changes. It is easier than facing the often difficult truth.

Before I fell (came to prison) I saw a very common expression spray painted around town, in zines and movement rags. It was simple, defiant and full of hope. "We will win." It's been a long time since I've seen it in anything. It’s been even longer since I’ve heard it said with any conviction. What happened to that fiery determination? What happened to riots in the streets? What happened to regular ELF activity? When did we lose our fighting spirit and how the hell do we get it back?

I’ve given my liberty for this struggle. I would have given my life if I thought it would have brought change. Because I believe our birthright was stolen from us. Because I believe in freedom; I believe our Earth and the web of life are sacred. Because I believe in you and your ability to bring change.

I think you are scared and I think change frightens you. I also think you are stronger than you know. There is a warrior inside of you waiting to be found; waiting for you to believe. Your fear is misplaced. No one should fear what will happen if they fight back. Everyone should fear what will happen to us if we don’t.

I’ve given up on trying to inspire. I won't fight for anyone who won’t fight for themselves. But I’ll fight, alone or side by side with those willing to stand. However, I won’t dare place hope in this movement. While it has demonstrated its ability to be a force for change, it has not shown a willingness to create it. Our accomplishments are few and far between. It is a harsh thing to say. I know of many positive examples that can be used to counter it. But, at the end of the day you still aren’t free. Wealth is still controlled by governments and corporations. The ice caps are still melting.

With activist networks spanning the globe with the intelligence and knowledge I know we possess, there is only one reason things have not changed. We have yet to dedicate ourselves to the task. I’ll believe "we will win" when you show it to me. I’ll have hope for our future when you give it to me. If we aren’t in this together then we are in this alone. One is an awfully lonely number. But I wrote about that already.

-Jeffrey Free Luers


Write Free at Jeffrey Luers, #13797671, Oregon State Penitentiary, Salem, OR 97310

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