The Kings Bay Plowshares defendants and their attorneys regularly took issue with the number of their charges during the length of their case in federal district court. Thursday, each of the defendants filed to set aside conviction on one count alleging a violation of their constitutional protection from double jeopardy.
A jury returned verdicts of guilty against the seven in October for breaking into Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in April 2018 and conducting vandalism and general property damage. Two of the charges, destruction of property on a naval installation and depredation of government property, are rather similar. The defendants argue that they’re essentially the same.
“Notably, the government did not present to the jury different evidence to support the conviction on each of these counts,” they argue in their motions. “There was no attempt to indicate that some of the damage was of government property and some of the damage was of property of the naval installation. The government never even argued to the jury that there was different evidence to support convictions on each of these counts. In its closing, the government asked the jury to convict on both counts, saying that depredation was just another way of saying damage.”
Count Two, destruction of property on a naval installation, comes from 18 U.S.C. § 1363.
That law reads, “Whoever, within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States, willfully and maliciously destroys or injures any structure, conveyance, or other real or personal property, or attempts or conspires to do such an act, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both, and if the building be a dwelling, or the life of any person be placed in jeopardy, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.”
Count Three, depredation of government property, is just behind that in the federal code at 18 U.S.C. § 1361.
The law reads, “Whoever willfully injures or commits any depredation against any property of the United States, or of any department or agency thereof, or any property which has been or is being manufactured or constructed for the United States, or any department or agency thereof, or attempts to commit any of the foregoing offenses, shall be punished as follows:
“If the damage or attempted damage to such property exceeds the sum of $1,000, by a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more than 10 years, or both; if the damage or attempted damage to such property does not exceed the sum of $1,000, by a fine under this title or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both.”
The defendants point to a May 2013 action in Tennessee in which a federal judge dismissed the 1363 count because it was duplicative of the 1361 count.
In other local federal court matters, a grand jury issued several indictments Thursday. At least two of them are related — Angela Satterwhite is accused of, on Dec. 18, 2018, taking eight mobile phones and 53 strips of suboxone illegally into the Jesup Federal Correctional Institution to give to inmate Jamohl Swann.
Suboxone is typically given to opioid addicts as part of a treatment program, but it is possible to abuse on its own.
Satterwhite is charged with one count of providing contraband in prison, and Swann is charged with one count of possessing contraband in prison.
Among the other indictments, Andrew Kirksey is charged with illegal possession of a firearm (Ruger Model P95DC 9 mm pistol) on April 24 in Glynn County, and Robert Pinkney is charged with illegal possession of a firearm (Springfield Armory Model XD9 9 mm pistol) on April 17 in Glynn County.