Today’s bench trial took the whole day. The rally outside was inspiring and the courtroom was full of supporters. We had a great team of pro-bono lawyers and interns who worked hard to try to bring in a “not-guilty” verdict, while also giving each of us the opportunity to testify about our motivations for our nonviolent direct action at Beale.
I’ll be writing more about the trial after I’ve had time to process this experience, but for now I’m going to go out and watch the meteor showers. Our sentencing will take place on September 9th. I’m feeling calm and positive. Thank you for your prayers.
Below is today’s press release, from Cres Velluchi of the National Lawyers Guild, who has helped us so much. Thank you, Cres!
BREAKING: Judge ignores testimony, Nuremberg Principles – Finds Beale 5 Guilty.
Monday, August 12, 2013
5 Anti-Drone Protesters Found Guilty of Trespassing
Monday; Federal Judge Won’t Allow ‘Nuremberg
Principles’ Defense Regarding Civilian Casualties
SACRAMENTO – Five peace advocates protesting against the Obama Administration’s use of killer drones and killings of innocent civilians, including children, around the world were found guilty late Monday in U.S. District Court here of trespassing.
The so-called “Beale 5″ were arrested Oct. 30, 2012 at the main gate to Beale AFB, where the Global Hawk drone is based. It flies surveillance for lethal predator drones.
The guilty verdict – handed down by federal judge Carolyn K. Delaney late Monday – means a possible fine and/or up to six months in federal prison. Sentencing is set for Sept. 9.
All the defendants have said they will not pay a fine or accept probation.
The court refused to allow the defense of necessity or the Nuremberg defense, which provides that a citizen is complicit in the killing of civilians – as in the drone strikes – if they do not protest or try to stop that killing by their government.
Cindy Sheehan and about 50 peace advocates from Northern California attended the trial.
The defendants were represented by volunteer lawyers coordinated by the National Lawyers Guild of Sacramento, which said the government also denied defendants a jury trial, even though they could be sentenced to six months in prison.
Those found guilty were Janie Kesselman, Camptonville; Sharon Delgado, Nevada City; Shirley Osgood, Grass Valley; and David and Jan Hartsough, both of San Francisco.
A second anti-drone trial is scheduled later this year for another group of five people arrested at Beale AFB this past April 30.