‘Necessity’ defense

It’s official: Protest is a legal ‘necessity’!

Judge Mary Ann Driscoll presided over the trial of 13 defendants on March 27, 2018 at WR Courthouse in Forest Hills. Their charges were reduced from criminal to civil infractions, and Judge Driscoll acquitted all of them on the basis of “climate necessity.” See video on the Climate Disobedience website. For background on the case, see this description of the 2016 Mass Grave Pipeline Action, which Tim DeChristopher called a “new challenge of combining grief with resistance.”

WBUR described it by saying that “a Boston judge made a potentially landmark ruling on using climate change for what’s known as a ‘legal necessity defense,’ in the case of the protesters of the West Roxbury gas pipeline.” Listen to the March 29, 2018 Radio Boston interview by Meghna Chakrabarti and Jamie Bologna with guests Nancy Gertner and Tim DeChristopher.

For over a year, the defendants’ day in court had been delayed repeatedly as they tried to get Spectra to cooperate in providing material for their defense. Spectra dug in its heels in every way possible and refused to produce its own emergency safety plan for the M&R or pipeline at the request of the mayor and police and fire commissioners.