Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Appellate Bond set at $10,000 for FPL opponent;

Supporters seek to raise money for her release and spread awareness about Barley Barber Swamp

Contact: Everglades Earth First!,

Stuart, FL—Following a sentence of 90 days for her act of civil disobedience in Barley Barber Swamp, Martin County Judge Stewart Hershey continues to punish environmental activist Stevie Lynn Lowe for taking her case to trial by setting an exorbitant appellate bond of $10,000. Lowe has received the longest sentence to date out of nearly 50 arrests from recent protests against FPL in the Treasure Coast area.

Unlike other Everglades activists arrested for civil disobedience, Lowe was found Not Guilty of Trespassing in Barley Barber Swamp by a jury on Thursday of last week. She was sentenced nonetheless based on a lingering Resisting Arrest charge accompanying the unsubstantiated Trespass allegation. Her attorney began the process to appeal the guilty verdict and the sentence immediately following the trial.

This Monday Lowe was back in front of Judge Hershey for an appellant bond, expecting a worse case scenario of $3-5000. In similar trials last year against FPL in Palm Beach County, most FPL opponents were found guilty by a jury of two to three misdemeanor charges related to blockading a proposed power plant construction road in Loxahatchee (on the scandal-ridden Palm Beach Aggregates site). Two of these 18 protestors who took their cases to trial were sentenced to jail time—30 and 60 days—due to their prior arrest records, according to the court. Lowe has no known prior convictions on her record.

A portion of the funds needed for the bond are currently available through fundraising that occurred earlier this year immediately following the arrests at Barley Barber. But after court costs and legal fees from various court proceedings, several thousand is still needed to secure an appellate bond for Lowe.

“Stevie’s bitter victory in court last week was a step towards justice for South Florida’s unique environment. Through civil disobedience actions like hers, people around the world are beginning to know about the threat FPL poses to places like Barley Barber Swamp,” said Everglades Earth First! organizer Russell McSpadden. “Now that FPL has failed to establish ownership of Barley Barber, we are planning to host a series of canoe trips into the waterway. “

“That place [Barley Barber] is coming to represent a global turning point in the battle against energy giants like FPL.”

Everglades Earth First! will soon be coordinating outings to the swamp for members of the public and media. Please get in touch to find out more details about the trips. According to FPL’s own promotional material on the visitor boardwalk, regional waterways including Barley Barber “served as important military transportation and exploration routes,” leaving a reasonable person to safely believe that the unique area is a waterway intended to be used and protected for the people of Florida and the U.S.

For earlier reports, photos and videos related to Barley Barber, please visit the following sights:
Background and legal updates-
Recent video footage from inside Barley Barber-
Recent photos-
Protest news footage-
Background on Barley Barber-

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