This post will be continually updated with the confirmed court appearances and upcoming legal milestones.
May 30 - Ken Ward re-trial, Skagit County, Washington
July 18 - Leonard Higgins Tentative Trial Date, Chouteau County, Montana
August 15 - Necessity Hearing for Annette Klapstein, Emily Johnston, Ben Joldersma and Steve Liptay - Bagley, Minnesota
October 2 - Michael Foster and Sam Jessup Trial Date, Pembina County, North Dakota
Please see our trial support page for more information.
Yesterday Judge Rickert, presiding over the prosecution of Ken Ward in Skagit County, Washington for shutting down the Trans Mountain Pipeline, denied Ken's appeal to use the necessity defense at his retrial May 22nd. We released the following Press Release this morning. Take a look for more information about the state of legal proceedings in Washington, Minnesota and Montana.
By Ben Jervey, GOOD Magazine
KEN WARD NEVER DENIED THAT HE BROKE THE LAW. Facing a possible 20 years in prison for taking bolt cutters to an oil company’s property and manually shutting down a pipeline that funnels tar sands crude to refineries in Anacortes, Washington, Ward showed the jury a video of exactly how he did it. How he cut the chain on the pipeline’s valve wheel and closed it down. Despite the uncontested facts of the case, and the fact that the presiding judge had denied Ward the use of a “necessity defense” that would legally justify his otherwise illegal actions, the jurors were unable to come to unanimous agreement. A mistrial. Today, Ward walks free awaiting a retrial.
Cross posted from the 350Seattle blog
On October 11, 2016, my husband Ben was among those supporting the 5 activists who shut down all five tar sands pipelines into the US in an action called #ShutItDown. Theirs was an unprecedented act of climate direct action, and the biggest coordinated move on U.S. energy infrastructure ever undertaken by environmental protesters. Ben faces up to 5 years in prison (the people who actually turned the valves face up to 21 years). We’re in the waiting period, with ears ready for trial dates and lots of time for reflecting…
Many of my friends have had serious and loving questions for me. Why would Ben and you take this risk? What will you do if he goes to jail for a spell? Why civil disobedience? What good do you think the action will do? What’s the impact? Why does the Necessity Defense matter?
And then there are the questions I ask myself: Does the positive impact of the action outweigh the consequences? How do we organize to make mass actions commonplace? Does this action honor and integrate with the indigenous rights movement? With the immigrants rights crisis? With all the fucking crises? How do we use direct actions as flash points to move people closer to political engagement and radical action? Is my phone a listening device now? No, really—right now?Read more
They didn’t look like heroes.
But the so-called “valve turners” — five climate activists who got themselves arrested on Oct. 11 when they broke into oil company control stations in four states and simultaneously shut off pipelines carrying Canadian crude into the United States — got a heroes’ welcome from a Corvallis audience Saturday night.
Today, the judge in Michael's and Sam's case dropped their felony "reckless endangerment" charges (for Michael, it had been both reckless endangerment and conspiracy to reckless endangerment; for Sam, it had been only the conspiracy charge). Those charges apparently require "extreme indifference" to human life, and she said that burden wasn't met. They do retain misdemeanor reckless endangerment charges. And they still have misdemeanor trespass (and conspiracy to trespass) charges.
Michael still has a felony "criminal mischief" charge as well as a felony conspiracy to commit criminal mischief; Sam has the latter only. But these charges require the state to prove that there was significant damage...so the long and short of it is that while their legal troubles are not over, it now seems notably less likely they will spend years in prison.
So: wow. And let me just say too....Mike's & Sam's lack of extreme indifference to human life....is why they were there that day.
Onward we go!Read more
On October 11, 2016, five brave climate activists, determined to act commensurately with the truth of unfolding climate cataclysm, closed safety valves on the 5 pipelines carrying tar sands crude oil into the United States. This is their story.
SIGN THE SUPPORT LETTER: http://350seattle.org/shutitdown/
SUPPORT THE VALVE TURNERS: DONATE TODAY
Cross-Posted from the Climate Disobedience Center
On March 19th I delivered the sermon at Northshore United Church of Christ in Woodinville, Washington. Here's the text, and you can click on more to find the video.
Good morning everyone, and thank you for inviting me here to speak with you. I haven’t given a sermon in over a decade so I did some research, because I want to do a good job for you all today: I googled “bad sermons.”
Fascinating, what’s being preached out there. I highly recommend “The Top 20 Worst Christian Sermons.” My favorite is Pastor Larry Brown. I won’t even try to do a South Carolina accent, but here’s Paster Brown ...
“People come to me and they say Brother Brown! The television; it’s bringing an unGodly worldly atmosphere into our home, but there’s nothing I can do about it!” And TV preacher Pastor Brown says, “Yes there is!” and he hauls out a fire ax and proceeds to smash a big screen television on stage.
There’s something both delightful and surreal in watching a TV preacher smash a TV on TV.
I don’t have a lot of agreement with Paster Brown’s theology, but I surely relate to Pastor Brown’s dilemma. How do you challenge the system of predominate values while living within the system that needs to be changed?Read more