Grand Prismatic Spring filmmakers pay $8,000 fine and may face jail time

Nov 7, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Grand Prismatic Spring filmmakers pay $8,000 fine and may face jail time

Nov 7, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Some of you will remember the story of four filmmakers caught on camera trampling the Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone a few months ago. For those that missed it, the video is linked below. Needless to say, it sparked quite the outrage. Not just from the photographic community, either, but from the  public at large.

When the video surfaced, the Internet was quick to identify the foursome as Canadian filmmakers shooting for “High On Life SundayFundayz“. Federal arrest warrants were then issued. These were later quashed at the request of their attorney, Thomas Fleener so that the men could re-enter the US without immediately being arrested. Fast forward to now, and the case is being heard.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwZVr0VQvrU

One of the men, Hamish McNab Campbell Cross has pleaded guilty to foot travel in a thermal area and disorderly conduct. He was sentenced to five years of unsupervised probation and has $8,000 to pay in fines. Cross has also been banned from all federal lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management, Interior Department and the Army Corps of Engineers.

The other three defendants – Jurtis Cooper Price-Brown, Alexey Andriyovych Lyakh and Charles Ryker Gamble – also appeared in court, pleading not guilty. Attorney, Fleener, advised that they would have to plead not guilty and have new counsel appointed. Fleener had represented all the men since the charges were first filed. Last week, he withdrew from the case citing “conflict of interest”.

The new lawyers and the court will sit down on Dec. 7 and figure out what to do next.

A jury trial is completely off the table because the crimes aren’t serious enough.

– Thomas Fleener

This means the three men will either agree to a plea deal or face a bench trial where a judge will decide their fate. Fleener said that “The United States Attorney is contemplating jail time for the remaining three”. If convicted, they will likely serve sentences at the Big Horn County Detention Center, reports JH News and Guide.

Despite no longer being their representation, Fleener still publicly defends the group, saying that “they’re completely misunderstood” and “The United States has made them out to be the worst of the worst”.

Well, I’m not really inclined to agree with Mr Fleener. I think they deserve whatever happens to them. We’ve all done stupid stuff when we were younger, and we all face the consequences eventually. They’re no different to anybody else. Hopefully this will serve as a clear warning to others.

Is an $8K fine and unsupervised probation too severe a punishment? Not severe enough? Should the punishments be harsher to help deter others in the future? Tell us what you think in the comments.

[via JH News and Guide]

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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6 responses to “Grand Prismatic Spring filmmakers pay $8,000 fine and may face jail time”

  1. Joe Spowal Jr. Avatar
    Joe Spowal Jr.

    IDIOTS

  2. Sean Avatar
    Sean

    As South Park says… “Blame it on Canada”. LOL.

  3. Rick Avatar
    Rick

    Considering that the park recently called off the search for another person who went walking out on the springs because his bones would have been fully dissolved by the time they could set up to where they could get to them, I would say there is no measure of punishment too severe. Whatever it takes to get the message across is what is appropriate.

    As far as these guys are concerned, considering this was a money making stunt hit them where it hurts most, in the pocketbook. Fines that absorb nearly all of their income for the next 10 years would have far more impact on them than spending a few years at the Big Horn County Detention Center and Country Club.

  4. dracphelan Avatar
    dracphelan

    When I was in college, I worked in Yellowstone National Park. Most of my coworkers were below 23. None of us were stupid enough to do something like this. These guys deserve whatever punishment they get.

  5. Angie Dutton Avatar
    Angie Dutton

    If they are not illiterate, then they saw the signs posted everywhere and completely ignored them. They blatantly disregarded park rules. Did they think the rules didn’t apply to them because they are “filmmakers”? They are lucky to have been able to walk away alive. Huge fines, jail time, and barred from Yellowstone for life would be appropriate.
    I don’t understand why the other 3 plead “not guilty”.

  6. John O'Halloran Avatar
    John O’Halloran

    Having visited Yellowstone just a couple of years ago, I can attest to the number, level of detail and graphic nature of the signs. They do warn you that grave bodily harm can occur, with line drawings folks in pain. They do state it is a federal offence to enter areas marked as DO NOT ENTER and enumerate the maximum punishment.

    Any area with a boardwalk, paved path or any other path with constructed markers, is by definition DO NOT LEAVE PATH area.

    The Rangers patrol the paths and remind folks to stay on the paths. When Ranger leave the paths, they radio in their exact location and why they are leaving the path. They take great care to protect themselves and the environment, while they are off the paths.

    These people should take their $8K fines, 5 years probation and banishment from all Federal Parks, et el (as listed above) and consider themselves lucky that the US Government didn’t go for the full 5 years & $50K in fines.