Monday, January 30, 2006

St. Patrick's Four Closing Arguments

Daniel Burns, Teresa Grady, Peter DeMott, Clare Grady

St. Patrick's Four Closing Arguments

On St. Patrick’s Day 2003, two days before the US military invasion of Iraq began, four peace activists, all parents and members of the Ithaca Catholic Worker movement, in an act of non-violent civil disobedience, entered their local military recruiting station, knelt, said a prayer for peace and then carefully poured a small amount of their blood on recruiting center posters, walls and flag to symbolize the violence of war and the sanctity of life. This past week (Sept 19-23) Peter DeMott, Danny Burns, Clare and Teresa Grady (sisters) have been on trial in Federal Court in Binghamton NY, facing charges of "conspiracy to impede an officer of the United States by threat, intimidation and force" and other lesser charges for their actions. They face up to 6 years in federal prison and 0,000 fines each if convicted. A previous trial in State court on charges of criminal mischief and trespassing resulted in a hung jury, with nine of twelve jurors favoring acquittal. This case is the first Federal conspiracy trial of anti-war protesters since the Vietnam War, and represents a chilling effort by the Administration to repress non-violent civil dissent in this country. The jury began deliberations on Friday Sept 23; a verdict is expected sometime this week.
Peter De Mott, Closing Statement, Friday, September 23, 2005

We, all four of us, want to thank you jurors who are the conscience of the community. We trust you to use your heads and also your hearts. We also trust you to read between the lines.

Before we began our testimonies we raised our hands and swore to "tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth." You all know that again and again we have told you in PART of our concerns about our government's actions and behaviors that have moved us to in turn take the lawful actions which we did in December of 2002 and in March of 2003.

The United States went to war influenced by the lies, forgeries and deceptions put forth by the Bush Administration to justify the war. You, the jury, are now being asked by the prosecutor to render a verdict in this case based on half-truths and falsehoods. You also know that our explanations were often interrupted, and I am sorry that we have not been able to tell you the whole truth that prompted us to act as we did. I wish we could have explained more to you about our understanding regarding the constitution and international law and how those beliefs informed, shaped and guided us in the actions that we took.
The prosecution wants to portray us as people who have no regard for law. Meanwhile roughly two thousand of our military personnel have been killed and over a hundred thousand Iraqis. The national treasury has been robbed of over 0 billion to wage this war, while the infrastructure of our cities continues to erode as we saw so devastatingly in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

I would submit to you that the prosecutor, Mr. Lovric, has failed to prove us guilty. He has failed to show that we used "force, intimidation or threat to impede an officer of the United States in the performance of his duties" or in any other way. We certainly had a specific intent when we went to the recruiting station but it was not, most emphatically not, the government's version.

Our intent in protesting was to warn young recruits, the recruiters themselves and the broader community that the war about to ensue would claim the lives of tens of thousands. We knew that the war could not be waged without a wholesale waste of blood, of human life, of valuable resources. We knew that the war would contaminate the environment with fallout from depleted uranium munitions and would poison our own troops even as it annihilated the Iraqis. We knew that the war on Iraq, just like all modern wars, would murder mothers and their children, the elderly and other noncombatants in the greatest numbers.

Sadly, and you know this, the warning we, and millions of others around the world tried to give did not prevent the war. But the predictions that frightened us, that were described by all codefendants, have come to pass. You do not have to believe what we believe in order to find that the government has not proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt. The government claims that we conspired in one way or another to damage government property and officials. But there is certainly reasonable doubt about whether what the government says we did, was, in fact, WHAT we did.

Protesting rather than conspiring. Causing a mess rather than damaging property. Being friendly, as Sergeant Rachon Montgomery testified to and non-threatening rather than intimidating. These are all reasonable, sensible conclusions compelled by the evidence and consistent with our legal innocence.
In sum and substance, this trial is about the government's attempt to stop peaceful protest against the war on Iraq, to silence dissent and our voices on this issue.

Thank You!

Danny Burns, Closing Statement, Friday, September 23, 2005
Members of the jury,

We have come before you in the last few days and tried to share with you about ourselves and our reasons for going to the recruiting center and pouring our own blood.

There is a lot we wanted to tell you, but we weren’t allowed to.

We are peaceful, nonviolent people who went to the recruiting center because we did not want to see our troops blood spilled for a war that was wrong and based on lies.

As I shared earlier in the trial, one of the things that has brought me here is my recovery from alcohol addiction. I am hopeful that just as I have been able, with the help of community, family and higher power, to recover from addiction, that together we can all help our country recover from addiction to war and violence.

I don’t know you, but I imagine that each of you is working, in the ways that are right for you, for what is right in your communities and in our world. I believe that there are many ways to work for a better world. As you go into deliberations, I am asking you to trust that going to the recruiting center to plead for the lives of our young troops was the right way for me to work for justice in our country.

We admit that the four of us met together and planned to go the recruiting center and pour our own blood. We don’t deny that there was a mess, that some posters had to be replaced. We don’t deny that Sgt. Montgomery was inconvenienced.

We submit that causing a mess and inconvenience to try to prevent a war that is wrong and has taken the lives of one thousand eight hundred and ninety five US service people and one hundred thousand Iraqi people, is justified.

We live in a great nation. There are many people in our history we can be very proud of: like local juries who refused to convict people for aiding escaping slaves, like Susan B Anthony who was arrested in Rochester for voting when women were not allowed to vote, working people who risked their lives so that we could have weekends and a forty hour work week. Ours is a country with a government "for the people, of the people, by the people". That is a great gift to us, but it is also a great responsibility that you and I and all citizens have.

For our troops who have been killed in Iraq

For our country’s future

For our young children who we hope and pray will never be called to fight in an illegal, unjust and unnecessary war such as this one

I ask you to use your conscience, your heart, and the law to return a verdict of not guilty on all four counts.

Teresa Grady, Closing Statement, Friday, September 23, 2005(Note: Teresa’s statement was written in outline form. Teresa spoke extemporaneously using the outline as a guide and filling in details that were not written down. The following is a reconstruction based on her outline and on notes taken while she addressed the jury. This is not a transcript and may contain some inaccuracies, though we have tried to represent her thoughts and words as accurately as possible.)

Men and Women of the jury, We don’t feel that the Prosecution has proven the violent overtone to our actions.

The charges do not embody our philosophy – which has a long history in the country and in the world – of nonviolence.

Our government, on the other hand, has a long history of violence and of suppressing non-violent dissent.

You have a very difficult task in front of you today.

And I am full of hope.

I was reminded this morning of Peter’s gentleness – Whenever our family gets together – and you can see how we can talk - and its always Peter who brings us back to center, back to the gospel and our focus – to love one another. And that love is in every one of our hearts, and that is what gives me hope.

Our nation has been censoring news and information about the war – they haven’t allowed us to see pictures of the injured or of the damage the war has caused or even the flag draped coffins of the beautiful soldiers who have lost their lives.

This same government has been censoring the information we’ve been able to discuss with you in this courtroom. They have limited the information we can tell you on our understanding of international law that is the justification for our actions. In this courtroom, they have censored the images and information about this war. They have censored images of the victims. They have even censored information on Law!

What kind of a government are we living under?

Our government spends 200 billion dollars on a war based on lies while claiming the lives of the innocent.

You tell me – what recourse do we have to stop it, to stop this perversity before another life is claimed or another penny spent!

We know the economic cost of war while our cities, towns, and nations crumble. People are over-worked in order to pay their taxes; the war tax. Our children and their children are bound to pay back the debt of this war.

New Orleans is our taste of what it must be like in Baghdad.

We are hopeful because in spite of this great evil that seems to cover or shadow us, I believe in the spirit of goodness in all human beings.

When truth is spoken, goodness resonates in the human heart.

We have not been allowed to speak the truth, the whole truth, but our spirits are buoyed in that this censorship is an example of the fear our government has to hide the truth, and how they are desperately clinging to keep a footing. But the fact that they are censoring the truth of the face of the victims of war, including our beautiful young service people; that they are censoring international law, suggests to me that they too believe in goodness resonating in the in the human heart.

This admonition or confession gives me great hope that we’re not off the mark, but rather we must be more steadfast in speaking truth so as to compel the goodness in others.

Miraslov [the prosecutor] would like you to believe that we are alone, or part of a small cult. If this were true, then why has he objected to the use of international law? Our government is censoring the people. Why were we allowed to show you the pictures of the bloodied cutouts of soldiers from the recruiting center, but not the pictures of the Iraqi children buried in the rubble of their own home? Both of which were there the day of the alleged offense. What are they afraid of?

I would like to preface that while I speak about the prosecution, and the representative here is Miraslav, know that his office represents a government that has repeatedly lied to its people, stolen money from our children, grandchildren, from the generations to come, in order to brutally maim, torture and kill our brothers and sisters in another land for their oil. Know that deceit is the name of the game.

We have overdrawn on our national budget. Any farmer could tell you that this is bad planning.

While they threatened us with contempt, we are joyous, because we know we have spoken the truth. They cannot dismantle our integrity.

Miraslov would like you to think that we are arrogant and that we somehow feel that we are above the law. Our first law that we abide by is: To love one another, as He loved us!!

Thou shalt not kill. And then the laws which may not be named that give us our legal ground, justifications, have been stripped from us once again to censor, for they don’t want you, the conscience of our community to resonate with the truth in order for goodness to take place.

I invite you to be the conscience of our community.

Bill Quigley (speaking as assisting lawyer for Clare Grady), Closing Statement, Friday, September 23, 2005

10 KEYS to FREEDOM or 10 ways to help you find these four people innocent:
Being a juror is tough – I was on regular jury duty for a month and grand jury for another month – spent most of the time waiting around doing nothing – really boring. But now FINALLY comes the fun part – YOU are in charge!

The judge is going to give you about 50 pages of instructions about how you are to decide this case – some of it is very vague and hard to understand – in fact the judge and the lawyers have been arguing about much of it for days.

I want to be clear that you do not have to agree with these four folks in order to find them not guilty. You can even think they are nuts and still find them not guilty.

Individual freedom is at stake – what you do in this case will send out waves throughout the entire community – maybe even the entire country – so I know you will be a good citizen, and whether you like these folks and their beliefs or think they are peaceniks and do not like them, I know you will be very, very careful with individual freedom.

You certainly have a gut feeling whether you are going to want to vote these folks guilty or not guilty right now. For those of you who are leaning towards not guilty, Here though are the top 10 keys to unlock this case and give these people back their freedom.

These are 10 keys why you should find these folks innocent – any one will work as key for their freedom but I am giving you 10 so you can take your pick.

They start out innocent. Fundamental part of our system of justice – until you are sure "beyond a reasonable doubt" that they are guilty, you have to find them not guilty.

If you are not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that every single element of every single crime has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt, then you must vote them not guilty for those crimes.

If you are not sure beyond a reasonable doubt that they are guilty of every single element of every single crime, then you must vote them not guilty.

The judge is going to tell you that the good faith of the defendants is a defense to these charges:

"If you find that the defendant did not act with criminal intent, but instead acted in the good faith belief that he (or she) was doing nothing wrong, then that is a defense to the charge in this case…"

The burden of establishing a lack of good faith and criminal intent rests on the prosecution…WHICH MUST PROVE IT BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT.
What the heck does all this about criminal intent mean?

These folks all have jobs, all have kids; they are obviously sincere and passionate about their beliefs.

Any doubt that they are TOTALLY COMMITTED TO NONVIOLENCE or would lie about it? No way. Look at the priests and others who came up here and testified about their character – compassionate, caring, integrity, truthful, honest, loved, honored, ….

You know I am from New Orleans. I want to tell you two stories that will illustrate criminal intent.

When the electricity went off and the phones went down and the water started rising, my wife and I were still in New Orleans – she is a nurse and we were helping in one of the hospitals.

During the bad times, some people broke into stores and took big screen TVs. We call them looters because they had criminal intent.

Also during the storm, all communications went down because of electrical problems and cell phone towers also went down. The police could not communicate with the mayor and the mayor with the governor and them all with the FEMA etc. so the chief of police and several of his officers broke into an Office Depot and took out servers for computers, fax machines, cords, etc.

From the outside you might say these are both the same types of acts, but they are not. One of them was larceny and one was not. One has criminal intent and the other does not.

One of those acts was taken for the common good. One of these was trying to help people. It is important whether the equipment the police took actually worked or not? No, it is their intent that matters.

So, reason number two is that the defendants did not have CRIMINAL INTENT. And the prosecutor, who has the burden of proof clearly has not proved a lack of good faith and the presence of criminal intent by these people beyond a reasonable doubt.

The judge will tell you - If you have reasonable doubt about whether their intent was criminal or not, if you think they might have been in good faith, you must vote them not guilty.


You will find many, many ways to find them all innocent if you look carefully at ALL the charging documents:

You must look very carefully at the indictment of these people – it will be in the 50 pages – look at it very, very carefully.

Careful reading of the charges will show you many, many places where the prosecutor has not proven every element beyond a reasonable doubt.

Look carefully at the overt acts.

Look carefully at the statute.

In the first paragraph, the judge tells you that no one part of his instructions are more important than any other. If you look very carefully, there are things in there that will make you vote to set these people free.

It only takes one juror to stop these people from being convicted.

Remember when the judge was asking you questions about becoming a juror, he asked you if you were able to make up your own mind and not be swayed by the crowd. To hang tough with your beliefs if you sincerely believe you are right. Listen to everyone else and deliberate but vote your own conscience.

Your decision has to be unanimous. You should discuss and deliberate as the judge tells you, but you will also hear about the importance of following your conscience – the judge will tell you that you are not to "do violence to your own individual judgment." So hang tough!


Force intimidation or threat – two of the counts of conspiracy demand that you find these folks acted with "force intimidation or threat" The evidence shows they said prayers before they went in; said the rosary while they were still in; no way at all for force intimidation or threat – you must vote not guilty on that.
Even Sgt. Montgomery said "they are friendly people."

There is no evidence, certainly not evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, that these folks used force intimidation or threat against anyone at any time.


Look at prosecutor’s case for the unanswered questions and use your common sense.

The judge is going to tell you "you are permitted to draw from facts that you find to have been proven such reasonable inferences as seem justified in light of your experience, reason and common sense."

Why would the prosecutor bring up things that happened 20+ years ago if they thought they had a strong case?

Mr. Lovric is just doing his job, but think about the government he represents.
Why do you think the government is assigning FBI agents to a case like this?
Why is the government still prosecuting this case almost three years after it happened?

Why did the government make a federal case out of a mess that could be cleaned up with ammonia and a mop?

Why all the questions about who drew the blood?

Why try to keep talking motive and not intent?

Use your common sense when you answer these questions.


First of all, is there any doubt in your mind that these folks went into the recruiting center in order to try to SAVE LIVES and to TRY TO STOP THE WAR ON IRAQ? You know what the war has caused, was trying to stop it an unlawful purpose?

Apart from the Iraq War, Remember the law officers said they unlocked the door and opened it to let the Grady sisters back in? Why would they unlock the door and let them in if they were not allowed in? Or coming for an unlawful purpose? Or if the officers were fearful?


There are pages and pages of instructions about the elements of the charge of conspiracy.

But look closely and carefully at a couple of things and you will see that the conspiracy charge is really much weaker than it looks like.
First, look at overt act number 5. The government says that these four folks "caused damage to property owned by the United States AND by an officer of the United States."

If you look at overt act five slowly and carefully you must ask: has the government proven beyond a reasonable doubt that number one: there was damage at all (was the floor damaged or was a mess made?)

Number two - Was property damaged that was owned by the US and an officer of the United States? Was there proof of this ownership beyond a reasonable doubt? Was Sgt Montgomery injured by these folks? You saw his demeanor in court. He said these were friendly people. Was his property injured? No evidence at all that Sgt Montgomery’s property was injured. None. Nothing was proven that was injured that belonged to Sgt. Montgomery – much less beyond a reasonable doubt.

But then, the prosecutor will say – they do not have to prove all the overt acts – they do not have to prove all the elements in the indictment –
Was Sgt. Montgomery interfered with in his official duties? He said he was late for shopping.

Officer Massey testified that recruiters are trained how to deal with "peaceniks" in recruiting school, and that most of their work takes place outside.
Why is the government making a federal case out of this and still prosecuting these folks years afterwards?


Is there proof beyond a reasonable doubt whose property was damaged?
Is damaged the same as making a mess? Did the people here do this for an unlawful purpose, or is there evidence that they did this for a lawful purpose?


The court is going to advise you to honor and use and follow your conscience.
You know what is going on here. It is no secret. Everyone knows what is going on here. I ask you to use your common sense and your conscience.

The prosecutor says this is a simple case – I think freedom loving people call can agree with him.

This is a simple case of government overkill; this is a simple case of the abuse of government power; this is a simple case of the government trying to take a simple case of non-violent protest and make a "federal case" out of it.
The government is calling these four people arrogant and unlawful and dangerous.

These four people could have stayed home and watched shock and awe on TV. They could have said this is somebody else’s problem. They had jobs and kids and school and church – just like the rest of us – but they were peacemakers. What does the bible say? Blessed are the peacemakers.

But they took a risk. A risk to try to do something dramatic to try to stop the war in Iraq.

The government is calling these four people arrogant and unlawful and dangerous.

This is the same government that has forced us to accept the Patriot Act.
Who else have the people in charge called arrogant and unlawful and dangerous?
How about the people who built this country and refused to pay taxes to King George? I seem to remember a famous tea party protest?

How about the people who signed the Declaration of Independence?

Women who voted when it was prohibited – what do you think they called them?
What about the people who sat in at lunch counters or refused to move in busses?

Many of the most famous people in the history of our country were called arrogant and unlawful and dangerous people to some, because they acted for justice when everyone did not approve – much less the prosecutors and the government.

The judge is going to tell you to follow your conscience. You know what is going on.

Use any or all of these ten keys that this case gives you.

Follow your conscience, as these people have, and set these people free!

Tell the government - "NO!" and set these people free!

Stand with the proudest traditions of American justice, and set these people free!

Clare Grady: Some thoughts after a week of trial (not presented to the jury). Friday, September 23, 2005

From Where We Stand…

Depending on where one stands, one will see things differently

From where we stand we see the killing of 100,000 innocent Iraqi civiliansas an unspeakable crime.Violating the Supreme Laws of our Land

From where we standwe see the lives of the 1,895 US service men and womenWho have lost their lives in this warAnd the thousands more, who have been injured body and soulAlso an unspeakable crime

From where we standwe see our nation robbed of it's desperately needed resourcesTo care or our People, to provide Health Care, a Living Wage,Good Education, and a solid infrastructure.

From where we standWe see a 260 Billion Dollar grand theft,A crime that will be paid for by our children and our children's children

(We remember the words of Martin Luther King "A Nation that spends more money on War than on social uplift, is approaching spiritual death)

From where we standwe see the arrogance of the government leading our country to WarKnowing that it was based on Lies in utter disregard for the Law,the real crime

From where we standwe see the truth about all of the above,and the laws that criminalize themAll being kept out of this courtroomA travesty of Justice
We ask all fellow citizens (especially the press and all in positions of power)Where do you stand?What do you see?And what are you going to do about it?
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