Description: Criminal case against against climate activists charged with criminal trespass in connection with their protest that involved laying dirt and straw over railroad tracks used by an energy company.
State v. Butler
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 02/27/2020 Order Mistrial declared. Mistrial Declared for Climate Change Activists on Trial in Oregon. The Oregonian/OregonLive reported that an Oregon state court declared a mistrial in a criminal case against five climate change activists who blocked train tracks used by an energy company by building a garden on the tracks. The six-person jury reported that it was split, with five people voting to acquit the defendants and one voting to convict. The defendants, who were accused of criminal trespass, presented a “choice of evils” or necessity defense. Three of the defendants submitted a notice, offer of proof, and memorandum in support of the defense in January. They contended that “[f]acing the indisputable crisis of global warming and the failure of government at all levels, as well as private industry, to take any appropriate action in response to the crisis, defendants had no reasonable alternative to their acts of non-violent resistance” and that it was reasonable for the defendants to believe that the “imminent harms” of global warming were greater than the potential injury of the “mere transient ‘harm’ to objects and property” caused by trespass. 01/15/2020 Notice Download Defendants filed notice, offer of proof and memorandum in support of presentation of "choice of evils" defense.