We are asking for support for the seven activists who put their bodies the line to stand up to corporate power and protect our fragile Everglades. They are scheduled for sentencing on Monday afternoon, February 2, 2009 at 1:30pm. at the courthouse in West Palm Beach on the 9th Floor, room 9E. We are asking as many as possible to attend the sentencing to show their support for the activists.
On February 18, 2008, while attempting to peacefully halt construction of the monstrous West County Energy Center being built by FPL, 25 environmental activists were arrested. This came after years of civil protest, lawsuits, and public involvement in permitting processes that had little effect in stopping the power plant. They had exhausted every legal means to protest the building of the plant, and to no avail. Their pleas and the pleas of many others in the community appeared to fall on deaf ears.
This past December, this last group of seven activists went to trial using the defense of necessity. Necessity, as you well know, is a legal defense akin to self defense, differing in that it states that the defendants committed the alleged crime out of necessity to prevent harm to another person, or, in this case, a whole community. They stood up for their actions and brought in scientific experts to attest to the harm the power plant was, and would be, bringing to our community and planet, via emissions, enormous water usage, and wastewater injection into our aquifer. They had the help of very impassioned public defenders, as well as testimony from several committed activist-defendants. In the end, they were all found guilty of the counts of trespassing, resisting an officer without violence, and unlawful public assembly.
This February 2nd they face sentencing, and the state prosecutor is seeking jail time for two of the defendants, in addition to harsh fines and probation for all of the defendants. The prosecutor also is trying to seek $21,000 in costs from them for the amount of money the police misspent in arresting them. This additional cost in itself is ridiculous, as it is now well known by most people that the Sheriff's Department arbitrarily shut down S.R. 80 and the shutdown was not in any way related to, caused by or planned by the activists. It was executed by the Sheriff's Department alone and they are the ones who should stand up and take responsibility for that misadventure. But all of the charges and proceedings are ridiculous for such petty charges against activists who were following a well worn path of standing up against injustice at great risk to their own safety , freedom and to their very lives. Many, including myself, believe they are being
persecuted for challenging the status quo of environmental pillage and for defending the environmental health of their community.
So PLEASE COME OUT AND SUPPORT THESE ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVISTS AT 1:30 P.M., MONDAY AFTERNOON, FEBRUARY 2, ON THE 9TH FLOOR OF THE COURTHOUSE IN WEST PALM BEACH.