Affirmative Defenses Denied to Plowshares Activists, yet Government attorneys want to silence them even more!

What does it mean to have a trial?  Aren’t the jurors supposed to hear the truth and hear the story of what happened from the defendants? Aren’t the defendants supposed to be able to testify to the “whole truth?”  You may be surprised to read about what the government (the Assistant US Attorneys) want to exclude from the trial.

The government’s wish list, brought to us by the Assistant US attorneys in the US District Federal Court in Tacoma, Washington:

Plowshares activists cannot show the statements they brought onto the base to the jury.
“In the present case, agents located several copies of the following letters and memos, among others, on the defendants and in their possession: (1) letter signed by all five defendants, to Captain Mark Olsen, Commander US Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, dated November 2, 2009, stating, in part “You are further informed that delay (in disarming) will lead to the prosecution . . . of all . . . personnel responsible for the delay”; (2) memo signed by five defendants, dated November 2, 2009, calling for destruction of nuclear weapons; (3) memo entitled “Nobel Laureates Call for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons;” and (4) memo regarding “All Souls Day.” If the defendants seek to admit these letters and memos the government will object, in that they both constitute hearsay and contain numerous references to the defendants’ interpretations of international law, thereby violating the Court’s rulings regarding that issue.”
Government Trial Brief

ALL expert witnesses denied, Jury nullification argument prohibited.
“A Witness List that the defendants provided to the government identifies as defense witnesses Michael Honey and Angie Zelter. The Witness Lists states that Honey has written several books on “social change” and that Zelter has written several books on “activism and the law.” In addition, the Witness List identifies Steven Leeper and David Hall as witnesses. The Witness List states that Leeper will “talk about the spread of nuclear weapons” and that Hall “will speak on the medical effects of nuclear weapons.”
The government moves in limine to prohibit the testimony of these four witnesses. Evidence which is not relevant is inadmissible. Fed. R. Evid. 402. In addition, a court may properly issue an order in limine prohibiting a defendant’s arguments to the jury regarding jury nullification. See United States v. Sloan, 704 F.Supp. 880, 884 (N. D. Indiana 1989).
In this case – where the defendants face very straight-forward charges relating to trespass and property damage – testimony of witnesses regarding “social change”; “activism”; and the effects of nuclear weapons clearly is irrelevant to any issue before the jury. Given that it is completely irrelevant to the charges levied, this testimony will only tend to obfuscate the issues the jury faces. Accordingly, the government moves to prohibit it pursuant to Rule 402. In addition, the only possible purpose that the defendants could have in offering such testimony is obtaining jury nullification. They should not be allowed to do so..”
Government Trial Brief

Affirmative defenses using International law, the Nuremberg defense, and necessity are prohibited.
“… the government requests that the Court issue an Order prohibiting the defendants from presenting evidence or argument relating to the interpretation of international law, including the Nuremberg defense, and relating to the necessity during (1) voir dire; (2) opening statements; (3) the defendants’ case-in-chief; (4) cross examination; (5) jury instructions; and (6) closing arguments.”
AUSA order Document 80) (Judge Settle has ruled that these affirmative defenses are prohibited)

The lethality of nuclear weapons cannot be discussed.
“In addition, the government seeks an Order prohibiting the defendants from presenting evidence or argument relating to the lethality of the nuclear weapons.
(AUSA order Document 80)

The Plowshares activists cannot say they went on the base legally. If they do, their whole testimony will be impeached. (which is to say, the jury has to disregard it).

“In the present case, some defendants previously have been convicted of trespassing onto government property and destroying government property. These crimes are not crimes of dishonesty, and, therefore, the government will not automatically use them to impeach the defendants should they testify. If the defendants testify that they did not know that access onto Bangor Naval Base was restricted or that destroying government property was a violation of the law, however, the government may seek to impeach them with their prior convictions pursuant to Fed. R. Evid. 609(a)(1).”
Government  trial brief.

Questions about nuclear weapons at the Naval Base, the alarm system, the number and response  and timing of the Marines can’t be asked in cross-examination.

The US attorneys filed a In Limine To Preclude Cross-Examination so that defendants are precluded from questioning the government’s witnesses during cross-examination about:
“1) Questions that would tend to confirm or deny the presence of nuclear weapons at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor;
2) The monitoring of alarm systems in the MLA of NBK-Bangor;
3) The standard size of security response teams in the MLA of NBK-Bangor.
4) The specific positioning of security response teams in the MLA of NBK-Bangor;
5) The time that elapsed in order for security response teams in the MLA of NBK  Bangor to travel to the intrusion site on November 2, 2009; and
6) The standard policy and procedures regarding the use of force by the security response teams in NBK-Bangor. response teams in NBK-Bangor.”
Government’s Motion in Limine to preclude cross-examination Pursuant to FRE 402 and CIPA

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