Michael Walli, Megan Rice and Greg Boertje-Obed will appear in federal court in Knoxville, Tennessee to be sentenced by Judge Amul Thapar for their July 28, 2012 Transform Now Plowshares action on Tuesday, January 28, 2014. Convicted in May 2013 by a jury of charges including depredation of property and sabotage, the court will hear testimony from Bishop Tom Gumbleton, John LaForge and others before deciding the sentences for Megan, Michael and Greg.
More than two thousand cards and letters have been delivered to the Judge urging a downward departure in recognition of the nonviolent nature of the defendants and their argument (inadmissible at trial) that their action conforms to US obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and the responsibilities places on citizens by the Nuremberg code. The Transform Now Plowshares action was carried out at the Y12 Nuclear Weapons Complex in Oak Ridge where the United States continues to produce core components for thermonuclear weapons and plans to build a new $19 billion bomb plant, called the Uranium Processing Facility.
Sentencing will take place in federal court in Knoxville, located between Cumberland Avenue and Main Street in downtown Knoxville and the south end of Market Street. Seating may be limited; those wishing to attend sentencing must have a picture ID to enter the courthouse.
Judge Thapar has announced a consolidated hearing will begin at 9:00am for all three TNP prisoners followed by separate, individual sentencings. The prosecutor has asked the judge to adhere to the sentencing guideline ranges generated for Megan, Michael and Greg. The pre-sentencing reports use a standard matrix that calculates a minimum and maximum recommended sentence base on history and other factors. The ranges for the TNP three are:
Megan 70–87 months (5 yrs, 10 mo – 7 yrs, 3 mo)
Greg 78-97 months (6 ½ yrs – 8 yrs, 1 mo)
Michael 92-115 months (7 yrs, 6 mo – 9 yrs, 7 mo)
Defense attorneys have submitted briefs arguing for downward departures from the sentencing guidelines based on the nonviolent nature of the action.
FESTIVAL OF HOPE AND HOSPITALITY
A pre-sentencing Festival of Hope will be held beginning at 6:00pm on Monday, January 27 at the Church of the Savior (934 N Weisgarber Rd, Knoxville, TN). The Festival will begin with a potluck dinner and will include music, an address by Bishop Tom Gumbleton, and a celebration of hope. We expect to have statements from Megan, Greg and Michael in their absence. They are currently being held in jails in Tennessee awaiting the sentencing; Greg and Michael are in Blount County jail in Maryville, TN; Megan is in Knox County jail in Knoxville, TN.
If you are traveling to Knoxville by bus or air, OREPA will be happy to assist with transportation and housing. Let us know by email <firstname.lastname@example.org> or phone 865 776 5050.