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
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
See the Bangor Daily News article here