Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Let Freedom Ring

Eight abolitionists were convicted for demonstrating in front of the steps of the Supreme Court building last week.

Last January, on the 30th anniversary of the first execution after the Supreme Court ruled that killing someone by the state was not "cruel and unusual punishment," eight activists from different parts of the country unfurled a 30-foot banner that said "Stop Executions."

Prosecutors then introduced the "Stop Executions" banner as evidence and the protestors were "found guilty and sentenced to time served and a $50 contribution to the Victims of Violent Crimes Compensation fund. This was similar to the sentence received by the ninth demonstrator, Franklin Dew, who entered a nolo plea in March. They had faced up to 60 days in jail and a fine of $5,000.00 on each count."

On trial were Elizabeth V. Brockman of Durham, North Carolina, Brian Buckley of Charlottesville, Virginia, Ronald W. Kaz of Chas, South Carolina, Scott Langley of Boston, Massachusetts, Rachel Y. Lawler of Montpelier, Vermont, Thomas W. Muther of Topeka, Kansas, Jack Payden-Travers of Lynchburg, Virginia and Anna Z. Shockley of South Carolina. All nine arrested on Jan. 17th had spent 30 hours in the District of Columbia jail before being released on personal recognizance & had been issues a stay-away order banning them from the Supreme Court building and grounds until their trial.
Payden-Travers of Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty said the group will likely appeal the verdict, possibly all the way to the Supreme Court.

Indeed, why shouldn't citizens be allowed to protest the deeds of the highest arbiter of the laws of the land, especially since Bush and his ilk have totally politicized the justice system as evidenced by Gonzo and other loyal Bushies...? And yes, that especially includes Chief Supreme Court Justice Roberts and Justice Alito.

On our nation's birthday, let us remember that freedom means allowing the voices of the few, the forgotten, the maligned and the least of us heard -- no matter how embarassing it is for our leaders in government.

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