U.S. vs Christine Wallace – Mt Lemmon, Coronado National Forest
In this case from Tucson, a mild-mannered, churchgoing legal secretary was prosecuted for two violation notices she received at Mt Lemmon on the Coronado National Forest. After the charges were dismissed in a landmark decision by Federal Magistrate Judge Charles Pyle declaring the Mt Lemmon fee illegal, the Forest Service appealed. The appeal was granted by Federal District Judge John Roll, who reinstated the charges and sent the case back for trial.
Just days before the trial, the Forest Service dropped one of the two violation notices from the charges against Wallace, cutting off her option of an appeal to the 9th Circuit that would have clarified the question of where the Forest Service has the legal authority to charge a fee.
Wallace was convicted on the remaining charge (which contained no appealable legal issues) and fined the maximum for a first offense, $100. Subsequent offenses carry penalties up to $100,000 and 1 year in prison.
The legal filings in the case and a sampling of media coverage of the case can be read below.