Environmentalists’ $100,000 Bail for Civil Disobedience

by Will Potter on May 21, 2010

in Terrorism Court Cases

There is a bail reduction hearing this morning for two environmental activists who protested mountain-top removal coal mining and had their bail set at $100,000.

EmmaKate Martin and Benjamin Bryant took part in non-violent civil disobedience to blockade Massey Energy’s regional headquarters in Boone County, W.Va. They were charged with four non-violent misdemeanor charges of trespassing, obstructing an officer, conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor, and littering.

As Climate Ground Zero notes, violent criminals have had their bail set much lower:

This type of disproportionate response to non-violent activism isn’t an isolated instance. For example, when activists were arrested in their non-violent campaign against the I-69 highway project, the government argued for a high bond by saying that one of the defendants, Hugh Farrell, “advocated literature and materials which advocate anarchy.”

And as we have seen time and again on this site, environmental activists are hit with significantly higher sentences than apolitical, violent offenders. (See: “Environmentalist Sentenced to 21 Years as a “Terrorist”; Violent Racists Receive Half That.“)

I’ll keep you posted later today on the outcome of the hearing.


Today after Magistrate Snodgrass reduced the bail to a still exorbitant $50,000 with a $25,000 property option, an emergency hearing in Circuit Court was scheduled for 4pm. Judge Willie Thompson reduced the bail to $2500 each. In addition, Martin and Bryant received a deal of 5 days time-served and 55 days community service, along with the condition that they remain on house arrest for the 55 days, leaving only for community service hours. Bryant took the deal and will be getting out of jail Monday. EmmaKate did not immediately take the deal but has until Wednesday to decide.

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