RNC Legal Update: Milwaukee Three Sentencing, charges against Keith Smith dismissed

On November 10th, 2009, Judge Teresa Warner stayed imposition of an unspecified amount of prison time and sentenced Karen Meissner and Christina Vana to 7 years of probation, 8 hours of community service every month for the next 2 years, and a $100 fine plus standard court fees. Among the conditions of probation were that they participate in whatever educational or vocational programming Probation sets for them. As is usual in felony cases, DNA samples were required. The issue of restitution will remain open for 90 days.
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Regarding The State of Minnesota v. Christina Vana & Karen Meissner

Today, the chains were not lifted from our friends lives’, but perhaps the weight of their bonds are more defined, more certain. Today, Tuesday, September 1st, 2009, Christina Vana and Karen Meissner pled guilty to felony assault in the 2nd degree, for their part in the massive demonstrations during the 2008 RNC in St. Paul, Minnesota. They received a plea deal, with the State agreeing to grant them a Stay of Imposition (meaning the felony charge will be dropped to a misdemeanor after successful completion of probation), a maximum of 90 days jail time, and the possibility of doing Sentence to Serve as a jail alternative. They face up to 7 years probation. This was a departure from the sentencing guidelines, which would normally call for prison time. Their Sentencing is on Tuesday, November 10th, 2009, at 1:30 p.m in front of Judge Warner at the Ramsey County Courthouse. Please show up and make court a slightly more festive endeavor!

There are several ways to view a plea agreement. From one perspective, it is a generous offer from the State, when they have the ability and intention to quench any inkling of resistance and throw us in jail. On the other hand, when we take a deal instead of going to trial, we participate in our own prosecution. It’s just a step away from locking ourselves into our own jail cells. That’s not to say we aren’t forced into these situations, and when we can keep ourselves or friends out of jail without incriminating others, it’s a wise decision.

Despite the judge’s praise of the many supporter’s cooperative behavior, let’s not forget that our outward docility is just a façade, a strategic decision and a postponement of our true feelings towards the cops and courts. It makes a Judge’s job much easier if we sit back quietly while the “fair and impartial” trial railroads free human beings. Of course a Prosecutor will appreciate our silence as he slanders our friends to their faces, drags our names through the mud and convicts us with a Powerpoint Presentation.

In the past year we’ve seen many friends ensared by the wide nets of state repression. The unfortunate rioters filter in and out of Ramsey County Jail, and the question remains,: Where do we go from here? How do we continue to build networks of resistance and foment social change and rebellion in the wake of such widespread repression? Tomorrow Dave Mahoney will be released from captivity, but the jails are still filled with kindred spirits. The Milwaukee Three’s cases may be resolved, but their convictions and the evidence mentioned by the prosecution will be used to vilify and prosecute the RNC 8. Jesse James Forrey faces up to 5 years in jail after being convicted of property damage in St. Paul. We’ll need all the strength and support we can muster in the coming months and years. The path of resistance is a rocky one that rambles on, but for ourselves, our wild companions and wilder creatures, we’ll keep stumbling forward and perhaps find pieces of a world we want.

Those who know Christina and Karen are encourage to write character letters to the Judge, requesting a sentence with no jail time. These must be addressed to The Honorable Judge Teresa Warner, Ramsey County Court and can be sent as an attachment to helpmkegirls@gmail.com, or inquire by email where to mail or fax letters. Also feel free to donate any amount to help with Karen and Christina’s legal costs, estimated at $40,000, via their website.

Also, please show up to the sentencing of Jesse James Forrey, on September 17th at 1:30 p.m in front of Judge Flynn at the Ramsey County Courthouse. He faces up to 5 years in jail and appreciates any support we can give him.




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