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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The Verdict

A good local editorial on the SP4 verdict:

The federal court jury in Binghamton reached what probably was the most sensible conclusion in the trial of the "St. Patrick's Four," finding them guilty -- but not too guilty.

The four anti-war protesters were acquitted of a conspiracy charge that carried serious penalties -- up to six years in federal prison -- but also convicted them of misdemeanor-level counts of trespassing and damaging federal property. The Ithaca residents had entered a military recruiting station in March 2003 and spilled vials of their own blood to protest the impending U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Each of the four faces up to a year in federal prison, but one of their legal advisers said a sentence of several months is more likely. Judge Thomas J. McAvoy cautioned them not to break any more laws between now and sentencing, scheduled for January, but said they can continue peaceful protests "to their hearts' content."
The trial drew lots of attention and a large contingent of anti-war activists to the city for a week-long tribunal concurrent with the trial. A smaller but equally passionate contingent of supporters of U.S. policy also turned out daily at the federal building. Both sides support the troops, and for the most part they calmly discussed their differences of opinion on how best to do that. Both sides can lay claim to patriotism, and both largely are motivated by what they regard as the best interests of the nation.

It's unlikely many minds were changed on either side, but it was good to see that people can still disagree without being disagreeable...

There was some question before the trial whether there should even have been a trial, but it provided a grand stage for the anti-war movement. The four defendants -- Daniel Burns, Peter DeMott, Clare Grady and Teresa Grady -- openly admitted their actions and were fully aware that civil disobedience can have a price. In this case, ultimately, the punishment is likely to be suitable to the crime.


September 28, 2005 in Conscience, Pax Americana | Permalink


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