3 October 2004
Three nuns and one unholy case
Missile-site protest calls for appellate court to drop convictions
By Diane Carman

Denver Post Columnist


The judge's question was like a bunker-buster to the heart of the case. After countless hours of pricey federal investigations, two years of litigation and the costly incarceration of three elderly, pacifist Catholic nuns in federal penitentiaries, he wanted to know: Was all this really necessary?

"Couldn't you have nailed them for trespassing, nailed them for the cost of repairing the fence and fined them?" wondered Senior Judge Stephen H. Anderson.

Assistant U.S. Attorney James Murphy stood before the three-judge panel in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals last week and said, well, yes, that was true.

All this, as well as two years of often unflattering attention from the international media, might have been avoided if they had chosen to portray the women as earnest - if occasionally disobedient - peaceniks, instead of a serious threat to the national defense.

But that is irrelevant, Murphy said.


( Other reports on 3 ploughshares nuns here )

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