Description: Prosecution of protester who obstructed entry to a power plant construction site.
People v. Cromwell
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 06/13/2019 Order Convictions affirmed. New York Appellate Court Rejected Necessity Defense for Power Plant Protesters. A New York appellate court affirmed a defendant’s convictions for disorderly conduct in connection with his obstructing vehicles from entering a power plant construction site. The appellate court agreed with the trial court that the defendant failed to meet the requirements to establish the justification by necessity defense. In particular, the appellate court agreed that the defendant’s actions, “planned in advance with the stated intention of drawing attention to the issue of global warming, cannot be considered to have been reasonably calculated to actually prevent any harm presented merely by the construction of the power plant.” The court also rejected the defendant’s definition of “imminent” as extending beyond immediacy to refer to harms that are certain to occur. The court said caselaw did not support such a definition. The appellate court noted that it did not reach the issue of whether “the threat of global warming was of such gravity that the desirability and urgency of avoiding this threat outweighed the injury sought to be prevented by the disorderly conduct statute.” The court also affirmed the disorderly conduct convictions of five other defendants.