Tag Archives: Emily Nesbitt Johnston

Washington Supreme Court Establishes ‘Very Important Precedent’ for Climate Necessity Defense in Case of Valve-Turner Ken Ward

The court’s decision, explained one attorney, “creates a strong legal basis for climate protesters to justify their actions in a court of law.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-6-2019

As part of a multi-state action in 2016, valve-turner Ken Ward temporarily shut down the Kinder Morgan TransMountain pipeline. (Photo: shutitdown.today)

In a decision that could profoundly impact future litigation involving climate activists, the Washington Supreme Court this week refused to review a lower court’s ruling to allow valve-
turner Ken Ward to present a “necessity defense” for charges related to a 2016 multi-state action that temporarily shut down tar sands pipelines.

On Wednesday, a three judge panel from the state’s highest court unanimously denied (pdf) a petition from the State of Washington to review a state appeals court ruling (pdf) in April that overturned Ward’s conviction for disabling the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline as part of the “Shut It Down” action on Oct. 11, 2016. The pipeline transports Canadian tar sands oil to refineries in Washington’s Skagit County. Continue reading

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“Stunning”: State Court Silences Climate Experts Set to Testify in Valve Turners’ Necessity Defense Trial

“Four days before trial, for no apparent reason, the court eviscerated our defense, and essentially overruled itself.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-8-2018

The trial for valve turners Annette Klapstein and Emily Nesbitt Johnston, along with their support person, Benjamin Joldersma, began in Minnesota court on Monday. (Photo: Climate Direct Action Facebook)

In an eleventh hour decision, a Minnesota court “eviscerated” the defense of three activists—whose landmark trial began Monday for their 2016 multi-state #ShutItDown action that temporarily disabled tar sands pipelines crossing the U.S.-Canada border—by barring experts from testifying that their civil disobedience was necessary because fossil fuels are driving the global climate crisis.

“The court barred testimony from defense experts on the barriers to effective political action for addressing climate change, the efficacy of civil disobedience historically, and the imminence of climate change,” according to the group Climate Direct Action. Continue reading

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