Tim DeChristopher on the Delta 5 Climate Trial Verdict

In this video Tim DeChristopher shares an overview of the Delta 5 trial, the outcome, implications and his thoughts on how to use civil disobedience as a strategy moving forward.

DeChristopher and the Climate Disobedience Center team supported the Delta 5 during the trial.

For more see  Tim DeChristopher’s  January 16, 2016 talk “The Power of Civil Disobedience: Awakening Our Spirits to the Challenge of the Climate Crisis”  delivered the day after the historic #Delta5 climate trial verdict.  The event was sponsored by the Climate Action Team of University Unitarian Church, Seattle. Filmed by Todd Boyle.

This talk has been broken up into short topic focused video clips here.

The following is the full program video including introductions and Q &A after the talk.

 

 

Delta5 and Climate Disobedience Center team

Jury in Delta 5 Climate Case Splits Decision, Shares Sympathy With Protesters

The Climate Disobedience Center reports the following on the verdict of the Delta5 trial. See full press release on the Climate Disobedience Center website.

Lynnwood, WA – The historic case of the ‘Delta 5’ train blockaders has ended with a conviction on one of the two charges. After four days of testimony from the defendants and their expert witness a Jury found the defendants not guilty of impeding the movement of a train, but guilty of trespass in the second degree.

Immediately following the verdict three of the jurors gathered in the halls of the courthouse to talk with the defendants, their legal team, and supporters. In a heartfelt conversation the jurors expressed their support for the defendants, told their lawyers they would have acquitted on all charges were necessity instructions given, agreed to work with the Climate Disobedience Center to improve further cases and signed up to attend a lobbying day on oil-trains with defendant Abby Brockway.

“The fact that the full testimony on climate and oil trains was allowed, and the jury acquitted us of blocking an oil train makes this a historic trial. Two of the jurors said they are ready to join us lobbying at the state house, I’d call that a success,” said defendant Abby Brockway.

Despite the compelling testimony, the judge instructed the jury to limit their deliberations only to the question of finding whether there were violations of trespass and train laws.

“This judge refused to introduce our defense because of lack of precedent. It set me to thinking of all the bold judges who broke with precedent and advanced the cause of justice in the process, The necessity defense is something that needs a new precedent.” said Jackie Minchew of the Delta 5.

Jurors told the defendants and their lawyers that they were moved by the testimony on the climate crisis and oil train threats and that they would find ways to take action on both issues. “Welcome to the movement,” defendant Mike Lapointe told jurors as he and Brockway embraced them.

Four of the five defendants were sentenced to $550 in fines and fees and a two year probation. Mike Lapointe had his fines suspended due to his financial circumstances. The terms of their probation are that they have no further criminal violations and have no contact with BNSF property.

In 2014, Motivated by the alarming science of climate change, and by concern for the safety of those living in Washington’s fossil fuel corridors, the five local activists had blockaded a train used to transport explosive Bakkan crude oil in Everett on September 2, 2014.

“The Delta 5 knew that they had to step outside of business as usual to take climate action commensurate with the crisis. The fact that Judge Howard stayed within his strict legalism and declined to take a risk of conscience reinforces how important it is for citizens to take bold moral actions. It is clear from the comments of the jurors that this was a transformational moment,” said climate activist Tim DeChristopher. DeChristopher, a founder of the Climate Disobedience Center, had his own trial and conviction after disrupting a federal oil and gas auction in Utah in 2008.

See full press release on the Climate Disobedience Center website.

This week CLIMATE CHANGE goes on trial in case of the #Delta5

Lynnwood, WA:  This week history is being made as a group of climate activists are helping to put lack of action on climate change on trial.

According to the  Climate Disobedience Center, the five defendants known to supporters as the Delta 5, will call expert witnesses including a co-author of the UN’s intergovernmental panel on climate change report and a rail safety expert, to convince the jury that the threat posed by climate change justifies their acts of civil disobedience.

“There came a point where I could no longer sit back and wait for the politicians to act. I had to put my body on the line to demand not talk, but action on a massive scale to rapidly replace fossil fuels,” said Patrick Mazza, a member of the Delta 5 who has worked for years as an advocate for climate action.

This is the first time a U.S. court has heard a ‘necessity defense’ in a case relating to climate action. The trial is schedule to last the duration of this week.

See the full trial press release.

Before the trial began Monday, Tim DeChristopher of Bidder 70 fame and co-founder of the Climate Disobedience Center supporting the defendants, and defendant Abby Brockway spoke with Democracy Now! about the significance of the case.

Dechristopher said in another Democracy Now interview that the climate movement is increasingly turning towards civil disobedience because  “the government is not doing what’s necessary to meet the climate crisis” and that those committing climate related civil disobedience are doing so to “prevent the harm of climate change that really threatens to collapse our entire civilization and cause massive refugees, cause massive starvation and a huge list of extremely serious impacts that we’re trying to stop. So it’s truly a necessity to take that kind of action to stand up to the fossil fuel industry when our government fails to do so.”

DeChristopher is live tweeting from the trial at @DeChristopher.

Delta 5 Activists Go to Climate Trial Armed with Necessity Defense

BREAKING : According to my colleague, climate activist Tim DeChristopher, the judge in the Delta 5 case is allowing the use of the Necessity Defense. This is the legal defense which DeChristopher was denied in his prominent trial for disrupting an illegitimate Bureau of Land Management oil and gas auction in December of 2008. DeChristopher served 20 months for his act of civil disobedience.  Updated 1/8/16

Next week, on January 11th, the  activists known as the Delta 5 are going to trail for their civil disobedience.  A year ago, in September 2014, they blocked a train used to transport oil at the Delta rail yard in Everett, WA.

This is yet another instance of average citizens people like you and me putting their bodies in the way of business as usual for the fossil fuel industry.  Perhaps something we all need to be doing as the fossil fuel industry seems “hell bent on killing the planet” to quote Bill McKibben.

In this video the Delta 5 — that’s Abby Brockway, Mike Lapointe, Patrick Mazza, Jackie Minchew, and Liz Spoerri — explain why they took this action.

My colleagues at the new Climate Disobedience Center are supporting the Delta 5 through this trial.   See related Detla 5 posts on the center’s website:

Wherever you are, you can help these activists by following the trial, sharing related news, and if you can,  support their legal fund.

On Twitter
Look for tweets with hashtag #DELTA5 and retweet.  Here are a few to start with:

Facebook
Share some of the Facebook posts from the Climate Disobedience Center.

Read More
Learn more about the Delta 5 case on their website at delta5trial.org.