Jurors Tell Judge Occupy Activist Should Not Go To Jail

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A majority of the jurors who this week convicted an Occupy Wall Street activist of assaulting a New York police officer have asked the judge in her case to not send her to prison.

Cecily McMillan was on Monday found guilty of deliberately elbowing officer Grantley Bovell in the face, as he led her out of a protest in March 2012. She was convicted of second-degree assault, a felony, and faces up to seven years in prison. She was denied bail and is being detained at Riker’s Island jail.

However, nine of the 12 jurors who unanimously reached the verdict have since taken the unusual step of writing to Judge Ronald Zweibel to request that he not give her a prison sentence on 19 May.

“We the jury petition the court for leniency in the sentencing of Cecily McMillan,” they wrote in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Guardian. “We would ask the court to consider probation with community service.

“We feel that the felony mark on Cecily’s record is punishment enough for this case and that it serves no purpose to Cecily or to society to incarcerate her for any amount of time.”

The letter, which was signed by juror number two, Charles Woodard, was copied to all other members of the panel and to McMillan’s attorney, Martin Stolar.

Cecily McMillan letter
Nine of the 12 jurors who found Cecily McMillan guilty of deliberately elbowing a police officer have written to the judge in the case. Photograph: /The Guardian

The Guardian reported on Tuesday that several jurors, who were barred from researching the trial while it was happening, were shocked to discover that McMillan could receive a substantial prison term when they searched for details online, minutes after being dismissed.

“They felt bad,” said one juror, who did not wish to be named. “Most just wanted her to do probation, maybe some community service. But now what I’m hearing is seven years in jail? That’s ludicrous. Even a year in jail is ridiculous.”

Stolar said on Thursday: “I think this letter is a significant statement from people who have deep familiarity with the facts of the case.

“It is an expression on their part that she has been punished enough. It also tracks the argument that defence counsel will be making.”

  • ccaffrey

    That’s a wonderful gesture BUT now that they are no longer in service, I suggest that they all sit down with Cecily and her attorney and find out the information and see the pictures they never got to see at the trial. THEN write the letter!

  • Survival Journalism

    Not happening. The jurors were used and tossed just to fill a cell. They got what they needed.

  • Alex Sawyer

    The judge suppressed so much evidence and was so biased against the defense that the jurors were never fully informed. In a system that believes in justice, an appeal would be a no-brainer. In our current system, it’s a toss-up. I wouldn’t be surprised to see her get the maximum seven years, and Cecily will end up just another political prisoner.

  • R. Millis

    This sentence is proof of our corrupt judicial system. Is there a petition launched to express our outrage perpetrated by this judge?
    If not, how does one initiate a petition to demand fair justice?