Appeal Underway in Montana Valve Turner Case

Fort Benton, MT — Leonard Higgins and his attorneys are appealing his conviction for a protest that shut down the flow of Canadian tar sands oil into the United States. The appeal focuses on the court’s denial of Mr. Higgins’ right to present a complete defense. Prior to trial, in a violation of Mr. Higgins’ constitutional rights, the court ruled that he could not present the climate necessity defense.

Mr. Higgins was previously found guilty of criminal mischief and criminal trespass and faced up to 10 years in prison and $50,000 in fines. He received a sentence of community service.

The appeal also challenges the restitution awarded to the pipeline company, Spectra Energy (now owned by Enbridge). The court ordered Mr. Higgins to pay $3,755.47 for costs allegedly resulting from  the protest. The company had sought $25,630.

Mr. Higgins is represented by Climate Defense Project, Lauren Regan, and Herman Watson. The appellate documents are available by request.

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