John Edward Lewton Sentenced in U.S. Federal Cour
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Great Falls, on July 14, 2011, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Keith Strong, JOHN EDWARD LEWTON, a 51-year-old resident of Whitehall, appeared for sentencing. LEWTON was sentenced to a term of:
Probation: 1 year
Special Assessment: $25
Fine: $5,000 with $2,000 suspended
Special Condition: No commercial activity on any federal land in Montana for 1 year.
LEWTON was sentenced following a bench trial in which he was found guilty of an occupancy and use violation on National Forest Service Land within the District of Montana. Specifically, LEWTON was convicted of violating 36 C.F.R. § 261.10(c), which prohibits: "[s]elling or offering for sale any merchandise or conducting any kind of work activity or service unless authorized by Federal law, regulation, or special-use authorization."
At a bench trial, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica A. Betley, proved the following:
LEWTON and P.R. entered into a signed contract in the fall of 2008, in which P.R. agreed to pay LEWTON $7,000 to videotape a bighorn sheep hunt. During an interview, LEWTON said he shoots the best videos in the country and he can profit by filming hunts. The bighorn sheep hunt took place on October 6, 2008. P.R. killed the bighorn sheep in Rock Creek Drainage, which is National Forest Service System land. LEWTON videotaped P.R. kill the bighorn sheep. A national database search for issued special use permits revealed LEWTON did not have a permit to conduct a business activity or service on National Forest Service System land.
We sincerely appreciate the cooperative efforts of Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Game Wardens in this investigation. Our officers continue to work closely with FWP in protecting the natural resources of Montana." Jonathan Herrick, Special Agent in Charge, Northern Region, U.S. Forest Service.
Regulations like those at issue in this case protect Montana's resources from profiteering by those that violate the rules for their own gain." U.S. Attorney Michael W. Cotter, District of Montana.