Two trials were held in Santa Barbara Federal Court on Thursday, July 15, with Dennis Apel, MacGregor Eddy, and Steve Kelly, SJ, each convicted of criminal trespass (ban & bar violation) at Vandenberg AFB for attending legal protests without intentionally “crossing the line.”
The first trial included co-defendants Dennis Apel and MacGregor Eddy. A pretrial motion to establish that the designated protest area is a public forum, was denied to the defense. Magistrate Rita Coyne-Federman rejected the argument that free speech is protected in the designated protest area, as defined by Vandenberg officials. Dennis Apel and MacGregor Eddy were convicted of violating a “ban and bar” order, which resulted from a 12/31/09 protest against a National Missile Defense interceptor test and for being present at a peace vigil on March 3, 2010.
The sentence imposed on each defendant was a $125 fine, plus court costs, totaling $320 for each defendant.
Later that afternoon a second trial was held for co-defendants Fr. Steve Kelly, SJ, and Dennis Apel. Again both were convicted with fines imposed as sentence.
What is noteworthy is that this is the first time an arrest for violating a ban and bar has been prosecuted.
Vandenberg Peace Legal Defense Fund is dedicated to the purpose of donations for the legal costs. Donations can be sent to
Vandenberg Peace Legal Defense Fund
Miguel Hernandez administrator
40 Central Ave Salinas CA 93901
Note: donations to this fund do not repeat not qualify under IRS guidelines as a charitable contribution.