Maine Earth First!

Three to Pay Costs in Earth First! Protest
March 5, 2009, 12:27 am
Filed under: Plum Creek

AUGUSTA — Paying for the locksmith may be the unkindest cut of all.

Three women who chained themselves together in a state office building last fall to protest a development in northern Maine were found guilty Tuesday of committing criminal trespass and were ordered to pay the $328 bill for cutting the locks off.

The women, Emily A. Paine, 23, of Portland; Kyla A. Hersey-Wilson, of Thorndike, 27; and Megan E. Gilmartin, 25, of Searsmont, were participating in an Earth First! protest on Sept. 28, 2008, when they were arrested after refusing to leave the Land Use Regulation Commission Office building in Augusta.

A fourth female, a juvenile, was arrested, but her case was handled through the juvenile justice system, District Attorney Evert Fowle said.

The three women entered pleas of no contest to the charges and were automatically found guilty by Justice Joseph Jabar in Kennebec County Superior Court.

Charges of disorderly conduct from the same incident were dismissed.

The protesters entered the commission office building, locked themselves together with large U-shaped locks generally used to secure bicycles, and refused to leave as part of a protest against the agency’s favorable review of Plum Creek’s development plan for the Moosehead Lake region.

The judge sentenced each woman to 60 hours of community service and ordered them to split the $328 cost of getting a locksmith from Burt’s Security Center to cut the locks. Capital Security officers wanted the locks removed before the women were brought to jail.

Fowle said the three objected in court to paying that cost, telling the judge they didn’t ask to have it done.

“After they entered the commission, they locked themselves to each other at the neck with locks and they didn’t have the foresight to bring the key with them,” he said.

Fowle said the public or community service work “has to be for a nonprofit agency that does not advocate civil disobedience as one of their goals.”

From the Kennebec Journal

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