Disrupt the pipeline? We had to do it, Your Honor

Environmental protesters charged with trespassing and turning off valves at a Minnesota pipeline, as part of a coordinated “Shut It Down” direct action campaign, have proffered a “necessity defense.” But the necessity defense is a narrow one that has seldom prevailed in past civil disobedience prosecutions, and it shouldn’t prevail here. [Stephen Bainbridge]

One Comment

  • Minnesota law as cited by Prof. Bainbridge would seem to provide fertile ground for pre-trial motions seeking judicial notice of certain undeniable facts and law. Doing so would no doubt annoy the judge, but it would also aid in pointing out the utter absurdity of his ruling.

    The two most obvious would be (1) judicial notice that operating the pipeline is an activity permitted by law; and (2) that the defendants (and everyone else in the State of Minnesota) had other legal remedies, namely access to the legislature, courts, and law enforcement agencies.

    Even if the judge refuses to take judicial notice, there’s fertile ground for direct testimony as well as cross-examination of every single defense witness.