22 March 2003
Trial Update On Sisters, Nuclear Missile Silo Defensive Action
From Bill Sulzman

Yesterday March 21 Sisters Jackie Hudson, Ardeth Platte and Carol Gilbert received a 32 page ruling by judge Robert Blackburn denying all of their motions to dismiss and granting the prosecution's motion in limine.  In short it was bad news all the way around.  They will now have to decide how to proceed at trial.  Anabel Dwyer will consult with them and by Monday they will have made some decisions on how to proceed. These rulings will almost certainly shorten the trial and it is doubtful that any of the expert testimony that they were seeking will be allowed. I have attached below a message from Jonah House with more detail.  They spoke with Carol Gilbert after the sisters had had a chance to read the full ruling.

Bill Sulzman
P.O. Box 915
Colorado Springs, CO 80901
Ph 719 389 0644

Dear Friends,
Amid all the killing and madness from this war of conquest, another kind of distressing news arrived in our laps - not unexpected - the judge in the case of the Sacred Earth and Space Plowshares II has  issued a 32 page order denying all the motions submitted on behalf of the nuns. He went on, in his order, to state that none of the issues they raised could be used as a defense in their regard. In addition, he granted the government's in limine motion.

The judge explained in his order that he does not accept the lawyers' (defendants) definition of national defense and national defense material. All our weapons, in his view, are part of our defense (this, despite the fact that Pentagon spokespeople brag about 80% of our weaponry being offensive - we can take that in more ways than one).

The judge allowed that the only thing that would alter his order is some new information that the defense might submit. At the 11th hour, after extensive work on their part, it is hard to imagine new information.

Local lawyers are trying to convince the nuns to make a try at what they term a "Mistake of Law" defense. This would involve stating that it was their mistaken understanding that they were acting within the law. They are strongly resisting that advice. In addition, they are strongly resisting the advice of lawyers to seek a continuance given the war mentality they are likely to encounter in a jury. They are resisting that advice as well.

(Becky Johnson - Oberlin graduate, going to trial in Georgia on April 1 and facing 1 and 1/2 years for repeated actions against the School of the Americas has been given the same advice to postpone and has also rejected that advice. Please keep her in mind and heart and prayer this week as well)

It was Carol Gilbert who put in the call last night; they have had some trouble reaching us this week as we - like so many/most of you - have been in the streets and jails resisting this awful war. Carol is calm and reports that they are all at peace and preparing as best they can for their trial.

These women (all 4 of them - I'm including Becky) are, in the words of Anabel Dwyer, a national treasure. Would that they lived in a nation that understood the "things that make for peace."

Liz, Susan, Gary, Oswaldo, et al

( Other reports on 3 ploughshares nuns here )

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