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Grannies Pissed Off, but Not Guilty

OK, this story is a week old, but well worth mentioning. Five grandmothers charged with "unlawfully and intentionally causing substantial inconvenience to the United States" for protesting the war in Iraq won acquittal last week from a jury in Portland, Ore. The five, known as the "Seriously Pissed Off Grannies," faced charges of criminal mischief in the third degree after holding a silent vigil last April at the Army and Marine recruiting center in Portland.

As the National Lawyers Guild blog reports, as part of the vigil, the Grannies placed bloody handprints on the windows of the recruiting center using water-soluble red poster paint. While the Grannies argued that their protest was protected by the First Amendment, the prosecutor drew parallels to suicide bombers and terrorists. According to, District Attorney Seth Steward argued a guilty verdict was required to "protect our troops." He warned:

"Think of some evils that could happen and why it is important for the line to be drawn here. On September 11 some people drove planes into a building to prove a point. The defendants say their conduct is necessary to avoid imminent danger because people dying in Iraq. That is the same thing suicide bombers say."

Defense attorney Robert Callahan countered that the DA was trying to turn a simple bottle of poster paint into "a weapon of mass inconvenience." As the NLG blog says, "The jurors wisely chose to protect free speech rights and acquit." In fact, one juror later called the Grannies "heroes." Photos of the victorious Grannies can be seen at the Portland Independent Media Center.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on December 21, 2007 at 04:52 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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