Court Rejects Necessity Defense for Pipeline Protesters
A Washington state judge rejected an environmental activist’s request to present a necessity defense at his trail, where the “activist,” along with four other “activists” face charges of sabotage and burglary. The defendant admitted to illegally entering a pipeline facility near Anacortes, Washington, and shutting off a valve. The defendant argued his actions were somehow justified since he was trying to prevent an “imminent threat” posed by climate change. Prosecutors argued a necessity defense was laughable because the defendant had planned the action, and that action was not done in response to an actual imminent threat. In fact, the defendant had even called the pipeline company and stated his intentions prior to shutting off the valve. The court agreed with the state, and the defendant will not be allowed to the present the necessity defense.
A second jury trial is scheduled for May 22, 2017. The state’s first attempt to prosecute the defendant resulted in a mistrial in February.