Elizabeth McAlister Sentenced for 2018 Plowshares Disarmament Action June 18, 2020
from the Nuclear Resister article posted on June 8, 2020
A revered elder of the American anti-war movement was sentenced on Monday, June 8 to time served for her part with six other Catholic peace activists in the April 4, 2018 Kings Bay Plowshares nonviolent direct action for nuclear disarmament. Elizabeth McAlister, age 80, had already spent more than 17 months in Georgia county jails following her arrest.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, McAlister appeared for sentencing via video from her daughter’s home in Connecticut, surrounded by her three children, their partners and her six grandchildren. Judge Lisa Godbey Wood presided from federal court in Brunswick, Georgia.
McAlister was also ordered to pay a special assessment of $310 and restitution of $33,503.51, assigned jointly and severally to all the defendants. Out of consideration for her lifetime of voluntary poverty and lack of material assets, the court did not impose a fine, but mandated a minimum payment of $25/month towards restitution. McAlister was also placed on three years of supervised probation.
The Kings Bay Plowshares – McAlister, Mark Colville, Clare Grady, Martha Hennessy, Fr. Steve Kelly, Patrick O’Neill and Carmen Trotta – were convicted last October on charges of misdemeanor trespass and three felonies: destruction of property on a Naval Station, depredation of government property and conspiracy to do these things. The other six defendants have exercised their right to be sentenced in person in open court, when family and friends can attend. They are now set for sentencing on June 29 and 30, although these dates could again be postponed in consideration of public health restrictions.
McAlister was represented by her attorneys – Bill Quigley, appearing by video from New Orleans, and Jason Clark, also appearing remotely from Brunswick. Her codefendants, their attorneys and more than 250 others phoned in to hear the audio of the proceedings.
Judge Wood first reviewed the case before the court for the record. She had read and studied the pre-sentencing report prepared by the probation office and the memos submitted by the defense and prosecution. Both sides stood on their written memos and made no additional arguments. Wood also made note of having read and taken into consideration the dozens of letters of support she had received for McAlister.
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