Charges against postal protesters dismissed

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Press release:

Portland Communities & Postal Workers United                   

POSTAL PROTESTERS CHARGES DISMISSED: More actions planned to stop the delay of mail

The “postal defenders” won a reprieve today.  County Judge Karin Immergut dismissed criminal charges in a civil disobedience protest case which was over two years old, saying the defendants’ constitutional right to a speedy trial had been violated.

The protesters immediately turned from celebrating their victory to organizing for a Veteran’s Day, November 11th action, calling on the Postmaster General to halt the scheduled closure of half the nation’s remaining mail processing plants and to retain existing delivery standards, rather than delay America’s mail.  The rally, which will also honor veterans’ involvement with the postal service, is slated for noon at Portland’s Waterfront Park.

Ten protestors – including  Rev. John Schwiebert, Jamie Partridge, Jack Herbert, Trudy Cooper, Rev. Michael Colvin, Tim Flanagan, and Ann Huntwork — were arrested on criminal trespass charges inside the now-closed University Station post office on May 24, 2012.  While peacefully holding banners which called for “No Closures, No Cuts” and “Occupy the Post Office”, the ten – members of labor unions, faith groups, neighborhood organizations,  small business owners, a disabled vet, retirees and the Occupy movement – refused to leave until postal management agreed to keep postal facilities open and full service.

Over two years later, after a legal fight that went to the Oregon Supreme Court, the occupiers had hoped to get their day in court before a jury.  The activists would have argued that they had tried every other means available – letter writing, phone calls, Congressional visits, rallies, marches, petitions, community hearings, City Council resolutions – but had been unable to stop the dismantling of the postal service by the Postmaster General (PMG). 

The protestors planned to argue that, in refusing to leave, they were attempting to stop the closure of one-half the nation’s mail processing plants, the gutting of service at half the country’s post offices and the delay of mail. 

The defendants will continue to argue that the real criminal is the PMG, who violates the Constitution (Article 1, sec. 8), Title 39 and Title 18, sec. 1701 & 1708 of the US Code by willfully obstructing & delaying the mail.

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