Documents on file with the U.S. Court for the District of Utah indicate that Judge Robert Shelby has recused himself from the penalty phase of San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman’s conviction of conspiracy and trespass on protected BLM lands. Shelby had been accused by Lyman’s newest defense team of being in a friendly and personal relationship with Steve Bloch, an attorney and director with the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, an advocacy group which works on environmental matters.
Lyman’s sentencing review has been turned over to US District Judge David Sam and sentencing is still scheduled to be handed down at 2:30pm MDT on Tuesday, September 15. It will take place at the newer Salt Lake City federal courthouse where Lyman faces a maximum of 1 year in jail and $100,000 in fines.
The disposition of the case also includes San Juan County resident Monte Wells, indicted and convicted along with Lyman, who has maintained a lower profile as Lyman and his sagebrush rebel supporters changed defense teams and strategies including an attempt to secure public funding from Utah taxpayers funneled through the Utah League of Cities and Towns. That effort had been deemed unlawful by the Utah Attorney General’s office and Lyman has since had to find private funding for his expanded legal services.