Feb. 1, 2011 Earth First! Newswire
On January 26, 2011, Briana Waters was re-indicted in a 9 count indictment which also served as a superseding indictment for Joseph Dibee, Josephine Overaker, and Justin Solondz. Briana is accused of: conspiracy to commit offense or defraud the US, possessing an unregistered firearm, arson of a building used in interstate commerce or in activity affecting interstate commerce, using a destructive device during a crime of violence, and arson of a building belonging to an institution receiving federal financial assistance. The use of a destructive device charge alone carries a 30 year minimum sentence. Trial is currently set for June 27, 2011 although this date will almost certainly be pushed back. For more information on Briana and how you can help, please visit: http://supportbriana.org/.
On Wednesday, September 15, 2010 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Briana's conviction and remanded for a new trial. The opinion of the three-judge panel was unanimous.
Excerpted from the Panel's opinion: "Having reviewed the record of the proceedings below, we conclude that Waters’ trial suffered from a number of errors. Because the government has not convinced us that Waters’ verdict was unaffected by those errors, we reverse her conviction and remand for a new trial."
Briana's Appeals Attorney, Dennis Riordan, of San Francisco, petitioned the Court for Briana's immediate release, and the prosecution responded, opposing the petition. For more details of the Court's decision: http://blogs.eugeneweekly.com/content/new-trial-ecoactivist-briana-waters
On Wednesday, October 13th, 2010 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals granted Briana's petition for Bail ("Bail" means release upon condition. Briana's condition is that she appear in Court when required to do so. No bail money was set for her release). Thanks to the fast-working staff at Dennis Riordan's office (Briana's appeals attorney) the paperwork for her release was processed by the BOP with surprising speed. By 11:30 AM on Thursday, October 14th, Briana was released from the Danbury prison! To make this wonderful day even better, the stars aligned... the visit of Briana's family coincided with the day of her release, so they were there to pick her and reunite with her. It was an amazing stroke of timing, because their visit has been planned back in August, before she had even won her appeal. Information about winning the appeal is below.
Briana Waters is a devoted and loving mother of her four-year-old daughter. She is a professional musician and violin teacher based in Oakland, California. On March 15, 2006, she was falsely accused of participating in a politically motivated arson which took place at the University of Washington in May 2001.
Briana steadfastly maintains her innocence. She is a peaceful woman who believes in non-violence. In 2001, she directed a documentary, entitled Watch, which tells the moving true story of a peaceful campaign that built a coalition between environmentalists, loggers, and the residents of Randle, Washington to save the old-growth forest on Watch Mountain.
Briana's family, friends, and supporters were heartbroken and left in disbelief when a federal jury found her guilty of two counts of arson on March 6, 2008. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied Briana's request for release on bail pending appeal in early July, 2008. In August of 2008, Briana was transferred from SeaTac in Washington State to the Danbury, Connecticut Federal Correctional Institution where she was designated to serve a six year sentence.