Monday, September 19, 2011

Sr Carol Gilbert and Sr Ardeth Platte given time served.... for Y12 Oak Ridge protest....

Previous posting: Bonnie Urfer given 4 more morths of prison for Y12 Oak Ridge demo.

John LaForge - Bonnie's fellow Nuke Watch staffer...



DAY THREE • 16 September 2011 • Part I, Carol Gilbert


Carol Gilbert, arrested at the Y12 Nuclear Weapons Complex in Oak

Ridge, Tennessee in July 2010 and convicted in May 2011 on a

misdemeanor trespass charge, appeared before Judge Bruce Guyton for

sentencing on Friday, September 16, 2011. Carol’s pre-sentencing

investigation determined her sentencing range—points for prior

offenses, added to points for the current offense—at 1-7 months.


Assistant District Attorney Melissa Kirby announced the government had

no objections to the pre-sentencing report and sought a “just and fair

sentence,” noting Carol had already served four months.


In her elocution, delivered just before the judge handed down his

sentence, Carol said, “We do not choose jail. We do choose nonviolent

direct action. We do choose to try to uphold Article 6 of the United

States Constitution which was not allowed in this courtroom. We do

choose life over death. But we do not choose jail.”


Carol declared that Oak Ridge can not continue to refurbish and

upgrade nuclear warheads and, at the same time, adhere to humanitarian

law and the laws of war.  She spoke of women she met in jail who had

horror stories to tell of the damage done to their families, health,

and the environment by the work at Y12.


Drawing a distinction between civil disobedience, which breaks a

specific law to accomplish a greater good, and civil resistance, which

acts to uphold a law based on the citizen responsibilities established

at Nuremberg to resist government crimes. Carol described her presence

in the courtroom, along with her co-defendants, as drops of

water—drops of water that, over time, wear away the stone.


Carol closed her statement with a remembrance of Jackie Hudson, to

which the gathered audience responded, “Presente!”


The judge then sentenced Carol to time served, imposed no fine or probation.


DAY THREE • Part II, Ardeth Platte


It was the same and it wasn’t. Ardeth arrived in court four hours

after Carol Gilbert to face sentencing for the same civil resistance

act—trespass at the Y12 Nuclear Weapons Complex in July 2010

protesting the ongoing production of nuclear weapons components and

the plan to build a new bomb production plant at Y12.


The prosecutor stood and reminded the judge that Ardeth had already

served four months and asked for a sentence that would deter her

specifically and others generally—the same language we have heard for

each defendant.


he judge recited Ardeth’s points (history and offense) and status

(Cateogry 2) which placed her in the 1-7 months range. Ardeth’s lawyer

agreed they had no objection to the presentencing report.


And then it was Ardeth’s turn, and she addressed the court for her

elocution, beginning with a blessing of peace on the judge, the

judge’s staff, the prosecutors, the marshals, the audience—“everyone

who has brought us to this place today.” Then she told the judge she

would be sharing her history with him so he would understand a little

of who she is. Her statement, “I Refuse to Be Silent,” began by

calling Jackie Hudson to the gathering, and moved to reminding the

judge that she came to court expecting justice, expecting law-breakers

to be prosecuted, expecting killing and threats to kill to be brought

to trial. She noted the prosecutors instead chose to prosecute the Y12

Thirteen, limiting their testimony at trial, and ignoring law and treaties.


“Nuclear weapons are the taproot of violence,” Ardeth said, “and they

must be abolished. So I refuse to be silent.” Aligning herself with

her community and her church, Nobel laureates and legal experts, the

World Court and the world community, she said “We each in our own way

refuse to be silent.” She described her education in the church where

“the words of Jesus took root in me,” and her exposure to racism,

sexism and class-ism. The movements to address those issues taught her

“the way to bring about systemic change through legal, political, and

direct action.” She spoke of anti-war actions and efforts to declare

Michigan a Nuclear Free Zone at the ballot.


“During the 1980s and 1990s, under the tutelage of lawyers, we learned

the laws of the United States applicable to nuclear weapons, war, and

our own nonviolent actions,” Ardeth said, “and our duty and

responsibility to stop them.”


“Nuclear weapons inflict indiscriminate and uncontrollable mass

destruction, violate fundamental rules and principles of humanitarian

law, and threaten the existence of life itself.” She spoke of the

specific work at Y12, refurbishing the W76 warhead, as breaches of

Article 6 of the Nonproliferation Treaty.


“So I ask you,” she said, “Is it our democratic right to stop

wrong-doing? Is it legal to defy treaties?…My commitment has been to

put my mind, body, spirit and voice on the line to stop war, weapons and killing.”


“You may wonder why I’m taking the time to add this to my record,”

said Ardeth. “I have two reasons: first to let you know my commitment

and my passio; second, with hope to invite you and all who are part of

the court to be agents for change in this key time of history as were

the courts in the abolition of slavery, voting rights for women,

stopping child labor, civil rights, unionization, and a multitude of

other laws protecting air, land and water… Join the movement to stop the killing.”


Ardeth concluding by invoking Jackie Hudson’s mantra, urging the court

to “take a step outside your comfort zone.”


The judge listened intently to the entire elocution and then handed

down his sentence: time served, no fine, no probation, and a $25

special fee to be paid immediately.


As Ardeth was taken away for processing, one of the marshals came over

with her hand extended. “This is Sister Carol’s watch,” she said. “She

left it here in May and told us we could give it away. But we aren’t

allowed to do that; we would just have to throw it out. So I decided

to keep it for her.” She then told us to expect them to be released

around 6:00pm, and we adjourned for the afternoon to see Bix off to

the airport and reconvene at the release.



For more info contact:

Ralph Hutchison

Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance

P O Box 5743

Oak Ridge, TN 37831

phone: 865 776 5050

web page:

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