‘Defendants…believe in their cause because they believe they were entitled to invoke the necessity defense…’
(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) A judge found 13 climate change activists, including Karenna Gore, the daughter of former Vice President Al Gore, not responsible for civil infractions related to trespassing, the Boston Herald reported.
“The people … were found not responsible by reason of necessity. The irony is that we are making ourselves responsible. We’re part of the movement that is standing up and saying we won’t let this go by on our watch. We won’t act like nothing’s wrong,” Karenna Gore said.
Police arrested Gore and about 200 other activists who protested the construction of a high pressure gas pipeline in West Roxbury, Massachusetts, the Independent reported.
Thirteen of the protesters climbed into the construction trench, were arrested, and were charged with criminal trespassing and disturbing the peace.
A week before trial, however, prosecutors asked that the court reduce the criminal charges to civil infractions.
Gore argued their protests constituted “reasonable necessity.”
It was “an act of civil disobedience to say it is necessary that we pay attention,” Gore said to the court. “Now is the time to pay attention and to change course is what is needed because it’s a moral and ethical issue.”
Gore and the other defendants shared their beliefs about climate change and why they had to protest the pipeline construction.
Judge Mary Ann Driscoll of West Roxbury District Court agreed that the defendants were not responsible because their actions were done “out of necessity.”
“Based on the very heartfelt expressions of the defendants who believe, and I don’t question their beliefs in any respect, who believe in their cause because they believe they were entitled to invoke the necessity defense, I’ll accept what they said,” Driscoll said.
Law experts said the case could serve as vital precedent about how the courts treat climate change protesters who break the law.
“It may well be the first of its kind in a case involving climate change, in that it’s a judicial recognition of the measures that we need to take to address climate change,” said Andrew Fischer, a lawyer for the defendants. “In that sense, it is a revolutionary step.”