Monday, September 26, 2005

St. Patrick's Four

I'd meant to cover this, but never got to it, and then Katrina came along. Still, this is good news:

The jury in the Saint Patrick's Four trial has just returned a verdict: not guilty of the most serious charge of conspiracy, guilty of the lesser misdemeanor counts.

Press Release Issued by St. Patrick's Four, September 26, 2005


Members of the St. Patrick’s Four, their families, friends and legal team were grateful to learn that the jury, after over seven hours of deliberation, had found the peace activists not guilty of the most serious charge, conspiracy to impede an officer of the United States.

“The decision to acquit on the conspiracy charge, a felony, is a huge victory, given the narrow parameters within which the four could present their defense, and given the restrictions on deliberations. This is a major setback in the government’s efforts to criminalize dissent,” said Bill Quigley, acclaimed public interest lawyer and law professor at Loyola University School of Law, who has been acting as legal advisor to the defendants.

The four were convicted on lesser charges, damage to property and trespassing, both misdemeanors which carry possible sentences of one year and six months respectively.
I don't know the legal details of the case, but the legal arguments presented in the rest of the press release don't strike me as particularly sound. The fact that the conspiracy charge was rejected by the jury is, on the other hand, an important statement about dissent.

No comments:

Post a Comment