Criminal charge dismissed against federal burn manager in rural Oregon

By Conrad Wilson
Oregon Public Broadcasting
June 6, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

A criminal charge was dismissed Wednesday against a U.S. Forest Service employee arrested in 2022 by a rural Oregon sheriff after a prescribed burn on federal land unexpectedly spread to private property. In February, a grand jury indicted Ricky Snodgrass, on a reckless burning charge, a misdemeanor. The case later moved to federal court, and last month Snodgrass’ lawyers had asked a judge to dismiss it. Grant County District Attorney Jim Carpenter did not oppose that motion, and the judge approved it this week. “Mr. Snodgrass was charged because the State — or more precisely, the local sheriff — took issue with the Forest Service’s decision to conduct the prescribed fire,” defense attorneys for Snodgrass said. “But the State cannot charge Mr. Snodgrass with a crime simply because it disagrees with the Forest Service’s decision. The (U.S. Constitution’s) Supremacy Clause controls, and Mr. Snodgrass is immune from prosecution. This case must be dismissed.”

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