Three people who entered Hercules property to protest Trident II missile motor production there were found guilty of criminal trespass in 3rd Circuit Court Friday.
Judge Tyrone Medley presided over the non-jury trial and said he was not passing judgment on the trio's moral intentions. He fined each defendant $625, suspended all but $100 of the fine and gave the defendants the option of performing 40 hours of community service each in lieu of the fine.Matthew Haun, Deborah Levine and Lynne McCue-Hamilton were charged with criminal trespass after entering Hercules property in October, one year after Haun and McCue-Hamilton were arrested for a similar offense and subsequently found not guilty during a jury trial.
Medley said defense attorneys "did a good job pulling at my heart strings" when they tied the defendants' actions to civil rights issues. Medley said he didn't know if the civil rights approach was an intentional ploy to win his favor considering he is Utah's only black judge.
Medley went on to say that during the 1960s he ran through the streets of Camden, N.J. with an angry, window-breaking crowd following a civil rights rally. It was then that he decided to use a basketball, the education he would seek and legal avenues to pursue civil rights advances rather than continue facing mobs and police carrying shotguns and wearing riot gear.
Medley encouraged the defendants in the case to pursue legislation and other legal actions to accomplish their objectives against nuclear weapons. As part of their sentence, he ordered them to have no similar violations like the October trespassing incident for 12 months or face the full $625 fine.
Hahn was tried and sentenced in his absence because he is in Saudi Arabia teaching English to sailors in the Royal Saudi Navy. Medley recommended to Hahn's attorney that the defendant pay the fine instead of trying to get community service work approved from Saudi Arabia.
Defense attorney Bruce Plenk said the group's next step will be to decide whether to appeal Medley's ruling.