Judge Amul Thapar has reset the sentencing date for Megan, Michael and Greg at the request of the defense attorneys. All three are currently scheduled for sentencing on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 in federal court in Knoxville, Tennessee. They remain incarcerated at the Irwin County Detention facility in Ocilla, GA, pending sentencing. There is a renewed opportunity to write Judge Thapar on their behalf. Also, please continue to write Megan, Michael and Greg.
Please click on “Letter…” below and see the wonderful letter by the Friends (FCNL) that beautifully questions how these courageous peace activists can be seen as terrorists when their intent is the opposite-to save innocent people not ever to harm anyone. Please consider supporting these modern day saints, in the Name of the Prince of Peace. Pastor Judy Lee, ARCWP
Letters of Support for the Transform Now Plowshares resisters continue to pour in; more than a thousand cards and letters have been sent to the judge or the support team to date. The Friends Committee on National Legislation in Washington, DC, submitted a letter; you can see it by clicking on the title of this post and following the trail:
Dear friends and supporters of the Transform Now Plowshares,
We continue to ask for your support and help. On October 1, we received word that Judge Amul Thapar denied the motion to dismiss the sabotage conviction as well as denied the motion for a new trial.
In his ruling dismissing the defense Rule 29 motion and upholding the sabotage conviction for the Transform Now Plowshares resisters, Judge Amul Thapar has left the door open for the government to argue for the maximum thirty year sentence.
The pre-sentencing reports prepared by the Probation Office are likely to recommend sentences ranging up to 12 years—the recommendations take into account the record of past convictions, so Megan, Michael and Greg are likely to each have a different range; Greg, for instance, has indicated his guideline range is 6.5-8 years. For Greg, any sentence less than six and a half years would represent a downward departure.
Judge Thapar’s ruling included a statement that the nature of the offense has to be taken into account at sentencing1, suggesting he may be open to consider a “downward departure” from the presentencing report’s guidelines.
While we all believe that the real criminal and dangerous activity lies in the ongoing work of Y-12, and that Michael, Greg and Megan should be released immediately from jail, we also know that this is a very unlikely scenario. The reality is the three will remain incarcerated for some additional amount of time. They never asked for nor expected a “get out of jail free” card. Instead, they offered their lives and freedom freely and without expectation. By asking for downward departures, they are in fact giving the judge the opportunity, a gift so to speak, to recognize the difference between the letter of the law and the spirit of the law and for him to publicly proclaim his humanity and compassion by granting a downward departure from guideline sentences that can range up to 12 years.
The TNP support team therefore asks that letters to Judge Thapar continue and should encourage him to sentence with downward departures from the high sentencing guidelines which can range up to 12 years. Even if you’ve written a letter in the past or sent in a pre-written postcard, you can still write another. They seem to have an effect as Judge Thapar has referred to the high volume of letters and postcards and he has posted a few on legal record himself.
Please continue to send your letters to:
US District Judge Amul R Thaparc/o Professor Bill QuigleyLoyola Law Clinic and Center for Social Justice7214 St. Charles AvenueCampus Box 902New Orleans, LA 70118
Please feel free to post and share this statement on your facebook page.
the TNP support team.
1 “The defendants’ non-violence thus does not affect the question facing the Court today: whether a reasonable jury could find the defendants guilty. Of course, the defendants’ non-violence will be relevant at sentencing, since the Court must account for both the “nature and circumstances of the offense and the history and characteristics” of the defendants. See 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a)(1). Given the obvious differences between the defendants and the paradigmatic saboteur, those factors surely will be worthy of discussion. But because those differences do not lessen the defendants’ liability under § 2155(a), the Court denies the defendants’ Rule 29 motion.” [Memorandum Opinion and Order, US District Court, Eastern District of Tennessee, Northern Division, Knoxville; 1 October 2013]