Dear Supporters of Jessica Reznicek,
As we told you in our last update on November 4th Jessica’s legal team filed their brief appealing her sentence and the governments application of the terrorism enhancement.
In the week following the filing of Jessica’s the following exciting developments occurred:
- 4 Amicus (Friend of the court) Briefs were filed in support of Jessica each one elaborating additional legal arguments as to why the use of the terrorism enhancement is Jessica’s case was inappropriate. The groups that filed the briefs included the Climate Defense Project, the Center for Protest Law & Litigation, Honor the Earth, Climate Disobedience Center, CodePink, The National Lawyers Guild, Water Protector Legal Collective, Catholic Social Action, and The Center for Constitutional Rights. If you are interested in reading a summary of each brief or the brief itself please look at the bottom of this email.
- The Economist Published this article about Jessica titled “Two Environmentalists sabotaged an oil pipeline in America. Are they Terrorists or Heroes?
- The last interview with Jessica before she turned herself into federal prison 3 months ago has been published.
Below are some ways you can support Jessica and our campaign to free her:
Here is a summary of the 4 amicus briefs that were filed in support of Jessica, click the hyperlink to read the full brief:
On November 10, the Climate Defense Project, the Center for Protest Law & Litigation, Honor the Earth, Climate Disobedience Center, and Code Pink filed an amicus brief which argues that Jessica’s Reznicek’s actions do not in any way meet the legal definition of terrorism. The brief explains why the federal terrorism enhancement is doctrinally inappropriate, why the District Court’s reliance on Ms. Reznicek’s public statements violated her First Amendment rights, and why the sentence was overly harsh when considered in context of the larger movement for community self-determination and resistance to fossil fuel projects that has swept the country over the last decade. You can read the brief here.
On November, 12, The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) and Water Protector Legal Collective (WPLC) filed an amicus brief which argues that the sentence imposed on Jessica is unduly harsh and unjust and harms not only her but many others as well, especially Indigenous communities. In this brief they write, “A large portion of the world’s remaining natural resources—including minerals, water, and potential energy sources—are located on Indigenous lands, which means natural resource extraction increasingly occurs in or near traditional Indigenous areas. Because extractive industry and the climate crisis have a disproportionate effect on Indigenous Peoples and lands, the sentence applied in Ms. Reznicek’s case could have a disproportionate impact on Indigenous frontline defenders struggling to protect the water, Earth, and cultural survival of their communities, traditional lands, and sacred sites.” The brief writes, “Sentencing Reznicek under a federal terrorism enhancement for acts of civil disobedience targeting private property, sets an alarming and dangerous precedent for climate justice movements and endangers Indigenous and front-line defenders most impacted by worsening climate conditions.”
On November, 12, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed an amicus brief in which renowned international law scholar Professor and Dean Sudha Setty, set out in detail why Jessica’s actions are not terrorism. Looking to core international definitions of terrorism by the United Nations and others, the authors explain “Jessica Reznicek’s criminal acts are unequivocally not terrorism, as there is no evidence that she had any intent to cause death or serious bodily injury; rather the evidence suggests that she took pains to ensure her actions would not cause physical harm to any individuals.” The brief notes that “The broad United States definition of terrorism allows for problematic results.” and concludes, “If Jessica Reznicek’s acts can be punished as terrorism, the United States will have moved so far past the international consensus as to be operating in a completely different realm.”
On November 10, Catholic Social Action, a campaign for Catholic social teaching,filed an amicus brief which argued that Jessica’s actions were not terrorism. They encouraged the court to look at her actions in the context of a long line of Catholic social teaching which condemns environmental exploitation and the storied history of faith-based actions by the Catholic Worker movement.
These briefs all asks the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse Ms. Reznicek’s sentence, which used a federal terrorism enhancement to arrive at an eight-year prison term and over three million dollars in restitution in response to protests by Ms. Reznicek against the Dakota Access Pipeline in 2016 and 2017. The same week Reznicek reported to prison, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change released their Climate Report signaling “Code Red” for Humanity.These amicus briefs were filed as the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) wrapped up in Glasgow, Scotland, and perceived widely as a failure to address the urgency and severity of climate change.
As always thank you so much for your support.
Love and Solidarity,
The Jessica Reznicek Support Team