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Miner Sentenced to Jail for Unlawful Occupancy on Forest Lands

October 17, 2012

MEDFORD, OREGON - On Monday, October 15, 2012, U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark D. Clarke sentenced David Duane Everist, 52, to 30 days in jail for unlawfully maintaining a residence on National Forest Lands, using National Forest Lands without an approved operating plan, and cutting trees without authorization. Everist was previously found guilty of the charges after a one day trial in U.S. District Court in Medford, Oregon.

In October 2011, Everist moved two trailers on to the Twin Cedars mining claim, located on lands in Josephine County managed by the U.S. Forest Service. Everist set up his residence there and conducted mining activities and cut trees on the site without approval from the Forest Service. Everist insisted that the mining claim was his private property, that the Forest Service had no jurisdiction over his claim, and warned Forest Service personnel that he could have them arrested for trespass by the local sheriff. Everist was charged and arrested in February 2012 after ignoring Forest Service requests to obtain authorization or vacate the property.

This is Everist's third conviction for violations of Forest Service regulations involving the same mining site. In June 2009, he was convicted for leaving refuse or debris and assessed a $50 fine. He appealed, claiming that the Forest Service had no jurisdiction over his mining claim, but the conviction was affirmed. In September 2010, Everist was convicted for unlawfully occupying National Forest Lands. His claim that the Forest Service had no jurisdiction over the mining site was again rejected on appeal.

In addition to his 30 day jail sentence, Everist must complete three years of probation with conditions prohibiting him from residing, occupying, or conducting any mining activity on Forest Service or BLM lands. Everist was also ordered to pay $2,050 restitution to the Forest Service for the cost of removing his trailers from the site.

The U.S. Forest Service investigated the case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Doug Fong handled the prosecution.

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