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Decision in "Creech 14" Drone Protest Case Delayed

September 16, 2010

LAS VEGAS, Nev. - A Las Vegas judge says he's going to take his time deciding on a trespassing case that could have international ramifications. That's the word from Clark County Judge William Jansen after he heard testimony from some big names, including former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, in the case of the "Creech 14."

The 14 were arrested in 2009 at Creech Air Force Base while protesting the use of drones in Afghanistan and Pakistan that are controlled at the base. One of the defendants, Kathy Kelly, explains they pleaded not guilty, arguing they were trespassing out of necessity and assembling peacefully under the First Amendment for a redress of grievances.

"Our grievance was this deep concern about the usage of drone warfare to target and assassinate people who've had no due process whatsoever."

Judge Clark said he would take three to four months to study the issues and testimony involved before making a decision.

Kelly says they were pleased that the judge allowed expert testimony from people familiar with similar protests from the past and with his announcement that he will take his time deliberating.

"If he finds us guilty, I'd rather be found guilty by somebody who really studied the issues for four months, than be acquitted by somebody who just wasn't paying much attention at all and maybe wanted to get to lunch on time."

Drones can be a popular idea in an election year, Kelly says, when candidates want to talk about keeping troops out of harm's way, but she says there are other consequences.

"The anger, the antagonism that these attacks are creating when they get the wrong person or when they hit somebody on their list, but also kill their family members, is quite high, and it's lessening the security of people in the United States."

Eric Mack, Public News Service - NV