Nasty, Brutish & Short

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What Not to Say When Testifying in Your Own Defense, No. 387...

March 13, 2007 10:23 PM

... that the United States is a "terrorist state."  Jurors tend to not like that kind of thing.  But that's what one of the anti-war trespassing protesters did last week at her trial:

Sister Mary Evelyn Jegen returned to the stand, talking about U.S. foreign policy and why she feels obliged to oppose it.

“Weapons of mass destruction — the largest arsenal is on our country,” she said. “When we talk about terror, the United States of America is, in my view, a state terrorist, because we are holding the world hostage to nuclear weapons.

Thank God loons from other denominations come around often enough to make me feel less bad about being an Episcopalian! 

But anyway... as you may remember, I wrote about the anti-war trespassing protesters here, and then was quoted in CityBeat about it, here.  They raised a necessity defense, arguing that their trespassing was necessary to save innocent lives.  Necessity is a viable defense to any criminal charge, but it is typically used in situations where the threat is imminent and actually connected to the Defendants' actions.  Not the case here, though they apparently argued that they believed their sit-in at Congressman Chabot's office would stop the war in Iraq.  Is it too uncharitable to say this was a stupidity defense and not a necessity defense? 

The protester's were convicted of trespassing earlier today.  The jury didn't buy the necessity defense.  Frankly, I'm surprised the Judge even allowed them to argue it.  At least he quashed their ridiculous attempt to subpoena Donald Rumsfeld to testify at trial.

The protesters get probation and 20 hours of community service.  They contend that the "real crime" (i.e. the war in Iraq) has gone unpunished.  I think the real crime is that their lawyers were allowed to present meritless arguments before the Court.  Supposedly that is an ethical violation, warranting attorney discipline by the bar.