Judge Thapar rules: Convicted Y-12 protesters must stay in jail until sentencing

walliobed.jpgU.S. District Judge Amul Thapar today issued an order that will keep the convicted Y-12 protesters in jail until their Sept. 23 sentencing hearings.
At a hearing Thursday, Thapar discussed case law with attorneys for the U.S. government and those representing the three defendants — Sister Megan Rice, Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed. At that time, the federal judge indicated he would receive information until Tuesday before deciding whether the newly convicted felons would be eligible for release under any circumstances.
Today’s order, however, indicates that Thapar looked at all avenues and decided there was no choice — given the seriousness of the felony charges that fall under the definition of “federal crime of terrorism” and carry maximum sentences of 10 or more years — but to keep them incarcerated.

Both of the offenses — interfering with or obstructing the national defense and depredation of government property — fell into the category of more serious offenses, so one of the few avenues for possible release would have been the chance for acquittal on one of the charges.
In this case, Thapar has yet to rule on the defense motion to dismiss the charge of injuring the national defense. But, regardless, the judge has already denied a motion to dismiss the other charge, so he said that avenue had been closed.
“Nor have the defendants shown exceptional circumstances warrant their release pending sentencing,” he wrote in the order.
“The defendants must be detained,” he said.
He denied the defense motion for release pending sentencing, and said it’s no longer necessary for the U.S. team to file a brief on whether the defendants would be a flight risk. Because that no longer applicable.
It’s not clear where the three will be imprisoned, pending their September sentencing. U.S. Marshal Jimmy Fowler earlier this week said Knoxville has been sending their federal prisoners to a facility in Irwin County, Ga., if there’s more than a short-term stay involved.
KNS photo credit: Saul Young
Greg Boertje-Obed, left, and Michael Walli talk outside Federal Courthouse in Knoxville.

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Senior Writer Frank Munger covers the Dept. of Energy's Oak Ridge facilities and many related topics — nuclear weapons, nuclear waste and other things nuclear, environmental cleanup and science of all sorts. Atomic City Underground is, first and foremost, a news blog, but there's room for analysis, opinion and random thoughts that have no place else to go.