Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Zumwalt Jury Verdict: Guilty as Charged!



Zumwalt Destroyer protesters found guilty--sentenced to 30 hours each of community service.  Bath, ME

Justice Dan Billings, after hearing the jury's verdict and recommendations for monetary fines from the Sagadahoc County's District Attorney's office, said the sentence justifies leniency because "the defendants believed they were acting appropriately with the greater good in mind" and that their actions were "within the tradition of civil disobedience and non-violent protest".
12 people were accused of "obstructing a public way" by sitting on Washington St. in front of Bath Iron Works during the "christening" of the latest stealth destroyer on June 18, 2016. Two chose to accept the offer of a $140.00 donation to the United Way rather than face trial, for health and travel reasons.
The remaining ten were given a jury trial that in the opinion of one observer "restored my faith in our justice system". Although the jury deliberated for less than 25 minutes, no defendant ever denied the facts in the case, but was intent on examining First Amendment rights to free speech redress of grievances  and that their actions were "reasonable". As one defendant testified "I know that my first amendment rights do not extend to yelling "fire" in a building, but when the fire is happening, I have a moral responsibility to say so."
Citing long time opposition to war, personal faith, resistance to paying war taxes, rates of military spending, climate change and their status as members of Veterans for Peace, each of the ten spoke their truth to the jury and explained why they were led to take that action on that day. Although they did not all know each other, after their arrests and trial they are now deeply committed friends and allies, counseled by long-time First Amendment and civil disobedience champion, Attorney Lynne Williams of Bar Harbor, ME.
See the Bangor Daily News article here

1 Comments:

Anonymous Brother Jonah said...

Dang, 30 hours? how are they going to pay for the rest of your public service time? They only get the 30 for free.

2/4/17, 4:44 PM  

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