Court hearing for Pentagon action ends with Beth Brockman jailed on outstanding warrant

Beth Brockman on July 5, 2010, taken shortly before she participated in a blockade of the road into the Y-12 nuclear weapons complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. photo by jpKernodle

from Art Laffin, Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, Washington, D.C.

The court hearing for the August 6th peace witness at the Pentagon took place on October 19 in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia before U.S. Magistrate Judge Buchanan. Andrea Eiland had her charge dismissed as did Luke Hansen, who was not present. Both were first time arrestees. Beth Brockman, popular educator and peace activist from Raleigh, North Carolina, Bill Frankel-Streit, Little Flower Catholic Worker in Virginia, Rosemary Thompson, Executive Director, Murphy Initiative for Peace and Justice, Baltimore, Maryland and I pled “no contest” to the charge of “failure to obey a lawful order.” We were each found guilty and allowed to make brief sentencing statements. (Below is a poem from Daniel Berrigan which I quoted in my sentencing statement). Several of us also extended an invitation to Judge Buchanan to join us in our work of creating a nonviolent world free of nuclear weapons, weapons of mass destruction and war. We were then given an $85 fine.

After the court proceedings were over, Beth Brockman was surprisingly approached by U.S. Marshalls and taken into custody for having an outstanding warrant from Tennessee. It appears that a “detainer” was placed on Beth for her refusal to pay a fee for her court ordered incarceration following a 2010 protest at the Y-12 nuclear weapons complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Beth is currently being held at the Alexandria Jail and will have a hearing on Monday, October 22, before a Magistrate Judge from the General District Court of Alexandria. More information will be forthcoming following this hearing.

We give thanks for the witness of Susan Crane who was released today from federal prison in Dublin, California after serving a two month sentence for her refusal to cooperate with probation conditions resulting from her Disarm Now Plowshares action.

Let us pray for each other as we seek to proclaim God’s reign of justice and peace and strive to create the Beloved Community.

In peace and hope,

Shadow on the Rock

by Daniel Berrigan, S.J.

At Hiroshima there’s a museum
and outside that museum there’s a rock,
and on that rock there’s a shadow.
That shadow is all that remains
of the human being who stood there on August 6, 1945
when the nuclear age began.
In the most real sense of the word,
that is the choice before us.
We shall either end war and the nuclear arms race now in this generation,
or we will become Shadows On the rock.

UPDATE – Monday, October 22

Dear Friends,

After a weekend at the Alexandria Jail, Beth Brockman is free. Beth was released on a $2,000 bond at about 7:15 p.m. this evening. At her court hearing this morning, where she appeared before an Alexandria General District Court Judge via TV hook-up from the Alexandria Jail, members of the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker were present in court and Kevin Mason was able to present a receipt, sent by Beth’s husband, Larry, which verified that her court ordered fine for her incarceration was now paid. (Failure to pay this fine following her release from jail for the July 2010 protest at the Y-12 nuclear weapons complex was what originally caused the Tennessee court to issue her “detainer”). However, the judge then placed a bond on her for a probation violation charge stemming from her failure to appear at a court hearing following her release from jail in Tennessee. Patrick O’Neill and Kevin were able go to the jail and post the bond $ to secure her release. Apparently, after the Alexandria Judge left for the day was it learned that her probation violation charge is now being dropped in Tennessee. What a saga!!! So as far as we know now Beth’s case is now closed in Tennessee (Beth will confirm this tomorrow) and the bond money will be returned.

Larry and Beth are so deeply grateful for all the support and prayers they received during this rollercoaster ride through the injustice system. Beth asked for prayers for her cell mate from Korea who is facing a very difficult situation with her case.

With gratitude, Art