From Kings Bay Plowshares 7
This Friday morning at 9:30 am ET, three KBP7 attorneys will be given fifteen minutes together of oral arguments before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, GA. KBP7 attorney, Bill Quigley, stated, “The appeal challenges the way the District Court denied the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 their right to use the Religious Freedom Restoration Act as a defense in their cases. Defendants asked the court to recognize their sincere religious-based opposition to nuclear weapons as a defense to charges brought by the government. The government said they had to protect the base and the court agreed. The judge should have dismissed the prosecution because the government failed to show that charging defendants with multiple felonies was a ‘compelling governmental interest’ and ‘the least restrictive alternative’ way to protect the base while still honoring the sincere religious convictions of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7.”
The arguments will be heard by a panel of three judges, Hon. Britt Grant, Hon. Julie Carnes, and Hon. Elizabeth Branch. The three attorneys for the defense are Joe Cosgrove, Stephanie Amiotte and Juanita Holsey, a public defender.
This appeal applies to Carmen Trotta, Martha Hennessy and Clare Grady.
Patrick O’Neill and Mark Colville’s cases are to be decided later.
Liz McAlister and Steve Kelly did not appeal.
Here is the link for the public to use on Friday to listen to the oral arguments. The proceedings are to start at 9:30am (Eastern Time) but the lines will be open earlier that morning.
- Open this court link on Friday morning by 8:30 am to find a new link or phone number they’ll be posting that morning. Then call in or open the link. We don’t know if there will be a limit to the number able to listen.
- The proceedings will go very quickly, with the defense being given 15 minutes only. The government will then have 15 minutes to rebut.
- Please put your phone on mute or be in a quiet place to listen.
The transcript should be posted on the court website in a day or so.
Clare Grady is the third of the KBP7 to be released from prison under the CARES Act. She was released from Alderson Federal Prison Camp on Friday, August 6th, the 76th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. For the next four weeks, Clare will be in home confinement with an ankle monitor until September 10th. She was given permission to go to Sunday Mass and have daily outside recreation, such as walks or bike rides for one hour. Also, she’s required to go to Syracuse for a mandatory one hour a week class at a halfway house, starting next week. Clare thanks everyone for all the letters, love, and support, and all the work that everyone does every day. She said she has been carried by so many along this journey. Here’s Clare’s email for correspondence: email@example.com.
Martha Hennessy is back at her home in Vermont under home confinement having been released from the halfway house on July 29.
Carmen Trotta is living in the East Village of NYC in a friend’s apartment but is not allowed to resume his work at the Catholic Worker.
Mark Colville is doing well and is due to be released on September 11th from the Federal Prison in Brooklyn after serving his full sentence.
Patrick O’Neill is expected to be released from Elkton to a halfway house in North Carolina on August 24th. He is currently in quarantine before release where he not allowed any outdoor exercise which is a burden since he is a daily runner.
Liz McAlister is home with her family in Connecticut and Fr. Steve Kelly is on retreat. He has refused to report for supervised probation for conscientious reasons and is wanted by the government. We draw your attention to two interviews he has recently done with the Jesuits. Links are on the website in “In the media”.
As Steve would say, “The nuclear weapons aren’t going away by themselves,” so the work of nuclear disarmament continues.