This is the sentencing statement made by my fellow arrestee, Elliot Adams, in the courthouse of the Town of DeWitt in New York. Another highlight from that night is this quote of Brian Terrell, which I simply love, having great relevance to the reasoning of the judge in his decision to convict us: "One must ask if there are liberties if you're punished for exercising them."
I appreciate the bench’s effort to understand the arguments made - arguments involving local
law, international law and, even the principles of civil disobedience.
My experience in war has taught me that in life we periodically get tested to see if we can stand
up to the pressures of “socially acceptable procedural norms” which push us to work with in
the little laws and instead comply with the requirements of International Humanitarian Law. I
cannot condemn others when they fail that test for I have failed it myself. But those who do fail
it are condemned to live with the horrendous cost society pays for their failure. I believe this
court failed that test. The court may not have felt an unavoidable compulsion to comply with International Humanitarian Law, but it certainly was given the justifications it could have used
to stand up and comply with International Humanitarian Law. But being here in DeWitt near an
epicenter of war crimes couched in the humdrum of civilian life, the bench may find it is tested
again ... and again.
I believe that my codefendants and I did what is right morally, but more relevant to this court, what is required by the law, the big law, the that law that deals with thousands of lives, not the
little law that deals with disorderly conduct. If the court had chosen to decide on the big law it would have found us innocent. But since the court chooses to rule on the little law, the law
about orderly conduct, then it must not only find me guilty but guilty to the fullest extent, with
As the court stated there will always be consequences for pursuing justice through “changes
made by actions outside the socially acceptable procedural norms.” Among other life
experiences I have over 15 years in local elected public office and it became apparent to me
that abiding by the “socially acceptable procedural norms” can only lead to more of the same
injustice, indeed those norms are there to prop up those injustices.
I am proud to accept the consequences of my acts and any jail time. I do not want any
suspended sentence. If you give me one, also please let me know how I can violate it before
I leave the courtroom. I do not have money to pay a court; I spend what little money this old
man has trying to bring about justice. My community service has been doing the duty that the
courts shrink from - calling attention to war crimes and trying to stop war crimes. Standing in
this court a community service, it is the little I can do for society.