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Dakota Access pipeline protester sentenced to jail will appeal

Alexander Simon

MANDAN, N.D.-- Released from a 12-day jail sentence, Alexander Simon has filed to appeal his case related to protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Simon and Mary Redway were the first defendants sentenced to serve jail time for convictions related to the pipeline protests. Surrogate Judge Thomas Merrick convicted them Oct. 19 in a misdemeanor court trial with three others, including photojournalist Sara Lafleur-Vetter, whose charges he dismissed.

Simon, 27, received 18 days in jail with credit for time served. He was released Tuesday morning.

While incarcerated, he asked for a stay of sentence and a reduction, which Morton County Assistant State's Attorney Brian Grosinger asked be denied.

On Oct. 23, Simon filed his notice to appeal, which now has a North Dakota Supreme Court case number. He is at least the second DAPL defendant to appeal their case.

Merrick convicted Simon of misdemeanor physical obstruction of a government function and disorderly conduct from Oct. 22, 2016. He cites a miscellaneous statutory offense for his appeal.

He and Redway both said they believed Merrick sentenced them as he did to make an example of them.

Last week, Merrick refuted claims of disparate treatment and bias in his sentences of Simon and Redway, saying they are the only DAPL-related defendants he has sentenced.

More than 440 DAPL-related cases have now closed. Most have ended with charges dismissed or plea agreements while about a dozen have resulted in convictions.

Hundreds more have yet to reach dispositions.