DAY FOUR • September 19, Mike Walli
Mike Walli appeared in federal court in Knoxville on Monday, September 19, 2011 to face sentencing for his May 2011 conviction on charges of trespass at the Y12 Nuclear Weapons Complex in Oak Ridge, TN in July 2010. Mike has been in custody, held mostly in Ocilla, GA, since the trial in May.
The procedure began with Judge Bruce Guyton asking Mike if he could hear him. Mike did not answer, but his attorney, Chris Irwin, spoke up to say that Mike had chosen to remain silent before the court, but he (Chris) having just spent an hour in conversation with Mike, was certain Mike could hear and understand.
After formalities—have both sides read the sentencing memorandum?—Chris Irwin began by asking the court for a moment of silence for Jackie Hudson. The judge granted the request, and silence was observed.
Chris then reviewed for the judge a bit of Mike’s history; his service in Vietnam and the effects of that combat experience, his spiritual awakening and conversion to Christianity, and his dedication to a life of service in communities, feeding the hungry, painting windows, mowing grass, assisting with prisoner reintegration, providing hospitality for the homeless, and more. “This,” said Chris, “along with his acts of nonviolent civil disobedience, is Mike’s response to the horrific events he witnessed in war.”
When Chris finished, the judge reviewed Mike’s record; he is in a higher category than any of the defendants to date, and was recommended by the presentencing memorandum for a term of 6-12 months. The judge declared a sentence of 8 months; no supervised release, no fine, and a $25 special fee.
With that, Mike rose in shackles. Blessings were exchanged with the audience, and we watched him leave. Anticipating that Mike will remain in Blount County Jail (who knows?) until the weekend, we have made arrangements to visit on Saturday.
Tomorrow: Steve Baggarly and Brad Lyttle are scheduled for sentencing on Tuesday. OREPA members will gather in solidarity with Brad and Steve’s wife, Kim, at 8:00pm at the Riverside community in South Knoxville this evening. This morning, Steve and Kim were able to visit in Blount County jail in a “special circumstances” arrangement since Kim had traveled from Norfolk, VA.