After the sentencing, ‘I think that’s a win’


William Quigley and Michele Naar-Obed embrace outside the Howard H. Baker Jr. Federal Courthouse this evening after Naar-Obed’s husband, Greg Boertje-Obed was
sentenced to 62 months for his role in the July 2012 break-in at the Y-12 nuclear
 weapons plant in Oak Ridge. Quigley, a law professor at Loyola New Orleans University , worked pro bono for the peace activists. (KNS photo/Saul Young)

Just minutes after U.S. District Judge Amul R. Thapar delivered sentences in the Y-12 protesters case this evening, I talked with Michele Naar-Obed. She is the wife of Greg Boertje-Obed, who received a sentence of 5 years, 2 months for his part in the 2012 break-in at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in Oak Ridge.

Naar-Obed renewed her wedding vows with her husband a year ago, knowing he was facing possible prison time. Today, she said they’ll get through it. In fact, she said she considered today’s sentencing to be a win.

“I came here with the feeling that anything below the (recommended sentencing) guidelines was a win because it made this judge really think and not just consult to the letter of the law, which is what the prosecutor wanted. He had to think about the spirit of the law,” Naar-Obed said.

“And he thought about it, obviously. It was reflected in what he considered rather large downward departures or downward variances. And maybe they are. I don’t know. I mean in terms of how Greg and I will get through it, it wouldn’t have mattered how long it was. We will get through it. But I’m just really grateful that this judge struggled with the spirit of the law versus the letter of the law. I think that’s a win.”

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About Frank Munger

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.