The lawyer representing the High On Life defendants has told the press he doesn’t believe they should be jailed.
According to Jackson Hole News & Guide, attorney Tom Fleener (of Fleener Law in Laramie, Wyoming) told the Guide he believes the men’s case can be resolved without jail time, adding that “anything greater than a fine is disproportionate of what they’re charged with.” Fleener added, “They certainly face jail time … but I think they should be fined.”
Back in May, we reported that four men were sighted stepping off the boardwalk in Midway Geyser Basin and walking around near Grand Prismatic Spring, taking videos and selfies. The men were later identified as employees of the Vancouver, British Columbia-based lifestyle/clothing company High On Life Sunday Fundayz.
Warrants were issued for the men, who were charged with creating “a hazardous or physical offensive condition,” as well as walking off trail/boardwalk. The men later drove back into Canada. The U.S. Attorney’s office said they would not likely pursue extradition, since the men only faced misdemeanors.
Later, after hiring legal counsel, the High On Life men agreed to a conference call with U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Carman. We reported on the outcome of that conference call, where Judge Carman implored the men to return to the States and face charges, rather than drag things out. We also reported that the men faced similar charges in other national parks (Mesa Verde, Death Valley) as well as the Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats.
A follow-up conference call has been scheduled for August 8. From the JHN&G:
It’s believed the members of the group are now out of the country, and because they’re facing misdemeanor charges they won’t be extradited to the United States, according to John Powell, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“The judge has set a deadline for them to come forward with any motions or come to an agreement on how they’ll handle it,” Powell said.
The men are being charged separately, but there have been discussions about consolidating the charges into one case, Powell said.
Fleener is negotiating with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and hopes to have all cases resolved in the next 30 days.
Despite legal troubles, some of the accused continue to clarify their positions on social media.
“We want you all to know we take full responsibility for our actions and will pay restitution for our poor decisions in the states,” the group said on its Facebook page, High on Life Sunday Fundayz.
The group posted several apologies. But the men also claim to be the victims of hate speech following the viral and mostly negative responses they received in May despite their attempts to remove videos and photos of their adventures from the Sunday Fundayz account.
“For those who need further clarification, our words ‘Blind Hatred’ in our previous status refers to the death threats, personal attacks on family members and friends, and use of disturbing language to express vile hate towards us,” the group said in a Facebook post July 14.
“We want to keep our page about spreading positivity and living life to the fullest. So there is no place for darkness here, we will remove all hate speech.”
Currently, there is no word whether the defendants will return to the states to face charges.