16 June 2006
A Salinas woman was convicted of trespassing on Vandenberg Air Force Base property during an antiwar demonstration in October, in protest of what she sees as an illegal war in Iraq.
A federal magistrate sentenced MacGregor Eddy, 56, to two years of probation on Thursday and ordered her to pay a $2,500 fine for trespassing on base property.
Mrs. Eddy faced a possible six months in prison and up to a $5,000 fine for the Oct. 8 incident in which she walked across a painted line at the entrance of the base during a protest against the war.
Mrs. Eddy, a nurse, had wanted to present a "defense of necessity" case in front of U.S. Magistrate Rita Federman earlier this year.
She has repeatedly argued that she was justified in breaking a minor law to deliver her message that the war is illegal and a violation of international law.
She was not allowed to make that argument.
"I don't think I'm above the law, nor do I think my government is above the law," Mrs. Eddy said in court Thursday.
Initially, Assistant U.S. Attorney Sharon McCaslin had recommended prison time and the maximum fine, but after a probation report recommended only probation, Ms. McCaslin dropped that request, said Mrs. Eddy.
"I was surprised by that," she said.
When handing down the sentence, Magistrate Federman noted the long list of letters supporting the defendant and the fact that no one was hurt during Mrs. Eddy's actions.
Mrs. Eddy told the News-Press in November that she wanted to be arrested that day.
"I wanted the publicity," she said, "to expose what's going on with this war. I wanted to be heard."
About a dozen supporters showed up at her sentencing Thursday, held in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court building on State Street. Before the hearing they held signs protesting the war.
See also: Message from MacGregor Eddy.