portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article announcements united states

green scare

Green Scare Defendant Marie Mason - Change of plea and upcoming court date

Change of plea and upcoming court date
We apologize for the lack of updates lately. Marie's attorney and the US Attorney have been in negotiations for the majority of the summer. After months of soul searching, reflection, and consideration Marie has entered into a tentative agreement with the US Attorney plead guilty to three of the four charges she was originally charged with. The US Attorney has agreed to drop the remaining count. Her plea agreement calls for a prison sentence between 15 and 20 years.

Since her arrest Marie's primary concern throughout this entire process is to ensure that her actions, statements and decisions do not empower the state to do harm to any one else. After discussing the situation over with Marie and reviewing the plea agreement in detail those of us involved with Marie's support crew Got Your Back believe wholeheartedly she has remained true to her principles and original intent and will continue our solidarity and support efforts for our friend as long as they are needed.

This has been an extremely difficult time for Marie and her family. Marie is thankful for all the support and wishes to be as transparent as humanly possible about about her choice and plea agreement. Please understand we will be posting more details and a complete unredacted copy of her plea agreement as soon as it is accepted and filed by the court but we wanted to get word out about this update and upcoming court date out as soon as possible.

We are encouraging people to come out and support Marie at her change of plea hearing which is scheduled for Sept. 11, 2008 at 11am before Magistrate Carmody at the Federal Building located at 666 Federal Bldg 110 Michigan St NW Grand Rapids MI 49503. Be sure to arrive early and dress appropriately for court. We expect sentencing to take place at a later date before Judge Paul L. Maloney in Kalamazoo, MI.

Its all about the Struggle,
Got Your Back Collective
www.freemarie.org

Plea details 10.Sep.2008 11:56

Free Marie

The following was written by a friend and supporter of Marie's with the
Fifth Estate Collective. Marie is scheduled for a change of plea hearing
tomorrow. We will post Marie's unredacted plea as soon as it is accepted
by the court.

Struggle,
Got Your Back Collective
www.freemarie.org


On Monday, September 8, 2008 Midwest "Green Scare" arrestee Marie Mason
accepted a plea bargain offered by federal authorities.

The "Green Scare" is the name given to the recent arrests of animal rights
and ecological activists who have been charged with acts of economic
sabotage, in which federal authorities have sought outrageous sentences
(often Life in prison) and have publicly and legally labeled the activists
as "terrorists", despite the fact that no one has been hurt in any of the
actions.

Mason was arrested in March 2008 and charged with four felony offenses,
which were related to two 1999 actions of eco-sabotage in which no one was
hurt. Mason's arrest was based on information provided by Frank Ambrose,
Mason's former husband, who unbeknownst to her had been cooperating with
authorities for a number of years, and who entered his own plea bargain in
March of 2008.

Mason has been an activist in the environmental and labor movement for 25
years, and has resisted cooperating with authorities in a number grand
juries. Since her arrest, Mason and her lawyer have been pushing for a
non-cooperating agreement of the kind that other "Green Scare" arrestees
have been able to get from west coast prosecutors.

However, federal prosecutors in Michigan have refused to offer her a
similar deal. The only plea-bargain offered was for 15-20 years but which
required her to implicate other activists by name. Additionally it was
stipulated that if Mason did not accept this offer by Friday, September 5,
prosecutors were going to ask for Life at the trial, and also indict her
on new charges relating to two other eco-sabotage actions. Mason refused
this offer since it required her providing information against other
activists and prepared to go to trial.

On September 5, two hours before the deadline, federal prosecutors
relented and offered a new deal, which required Mason only to name Frank
Ambrose in her plea bargain. No information that Ambrose had not already
provided was required from her. Additionally, the plea bargain included
clauses that do not require her to perform any debriefs (as other
non-cooperating Green Scare arrestees did) and did not require any
additional testimony.

Mason consulted with several different attorneys concerning this offer,
including Lauren Regan of the Civil Liberties Defense Center in Eugene,
Oregon. Their conclusion was that, despite the fact that Mason would be
required to name Ambrose in her deal, no activists would be hurt by this
agreement, including Ambrose himself. The likely reason that Mason is
required to name Ambrose is because one of the four charges against Mason
is "conspiracy", and another person is required to be named for the
charge.

After holding out for six months and preparing to go to trial rather than
compromise other activists, this is not the deal that Mason would like to
accept, but it is the only option that federal authorities have offered.
Because of the cooperation of her former husband Ambrose, there is no
expectation that Mason would win a jury trial. Part of this decision is
also the long sentences handed to the very few Green Scare arrestees who
have gone to trail, such as Eric McDavid, as is the intense financial and
emotional strain that this process is taking on Mason's immediate family.

Mason thanks her supporters for all their efforts. She understands that
some of them will be unhappy with her decision to accept a plea bargain
which names only Frank Ambrose, even though no additional information is
provided about him which he has not already divulged by him, and that her
own predicament is because of his choice to cooperate with authorities.
However, after holding out for six months in hope of a full
non-cooperating plea, and preparing to go to trial despite the impact it
will have on her family and her future, she has decided to accept this
offer.

In the spirit of full transparency, the plea bargain will be made public
shortly.

Clarifation of Maries Plea 10.Sep.2008 13:57

Free Marie

1) In initial email from GYB, it said MM signed the plea agreement
agreeing to 15 to 20 yrs in prison. That is not stipulated by the
agreement itself, rather it is the US Atty's (prosecutor)
recommendation, which the judge generally gives substantial weight
to, but the judge has discretion, within federal sentencing guidelines.

2) MM did not *name* Frank in the plea agreement so much as sign the
agreement language that the government had included Frank's name in.
It is important, I believe, to clarify that MM did not put that
language in there, but was unable to take it out.

a question 11.Sep.2008 11:10

xp

Thanks for this information provided. I am wishing her the best and am deeply sad for the outrageously long sentence recommendation.
I am wondering if anyone can clarify what the "debriefs" mentioned above are. MM does not have to do debriefs like the other non-cooperators had to do. What did that entail for the other non-cooperators?