Trial of 4 War Protesters Upstate Ends With a Mixed Verdict
NY Times - BINGHAMTON, N.Y., Sept. 26 - Jurors handed four antiwar activists a mixed verdict on Monday, apparently deciding that pouring human blood on walls, windows and an American flag at a military recruiting station to protest the Iraq war was neither Gandhi-like nor a "slippery slope" to the kind of destruction caused by violent extremists.
After seven hours of deliberations over two days, the jury in Federal District Court found Daniel J. Burns, 45; Clare T. Grady, 46; her sister, Teresa B. Grady, 40; and Peter J. De Mott, 58, guilty of trespassing and damaging government property. Each faces up to 18 months in prison.
They were acquitted of the most serious charge, conspiracy to impede an officer of the United States, which carries a penalty of up to six years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Civil rights advocates had said they feared that if the four were convicted on the conspiracy charge, the government would feel empowered to use heavy-handed means to quash dissent, particularly in Iraq war protests. For that reason alone, said William Quigley, a law professor at Loyola University in New Orleans and legal adviser to the group, the mixed verdict was "a big victory."