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Supreme Court Split On Lowell Six: Upholds Lower Court Verdict On Wind Turbine Trespassers

November 24, 2013

Lowell protesters at a status conference in Orleans Superior Court. Left to right are Ryan Gillard, Robert Holland, David Rodgers, and Suzanna Jones. Missing from the photo are Ann Morse, and Eric Wallace Senft. (File photo by Laura Carpenter)

LOWELL – In a split decision the Vermont Supreme Court upheld a decision by an Orleans County jury on the Lowell Six. The courts put more weight on legal possession rather than true ownership. However, one justice, John Dooley, the lone dissenter, said that true possession was not actually proved in this case.
The self-proclaimed Lowell Six were arrested December 5, 2011 when they refused to leave an area at the Lowell wind turbine site, which was under construction at the time. The activists, Ryan Gillard, Robert Holland, Suzanna Jones,
Ann Morse, David Rodgers and Eric Wallace- Senft stayed on a section of land that was under dispute. The dispute is between Shirley and Don Nelson, who say they own a piece of land that adjacent landowner Trip Wileman is leasing Green Mountain (GMP) for the wind facility. Wileman says he owns it. Both the Nelsons and Wileman have surveyors that confirm their stories. The Nelsons maintain that the line was drawn incorrectly.
On December 5, 2011 protesters, including the Lowell Six, had blocked construction vehicles from advancing up the mountain to the turbine site. The group was arrested for unlawful trespass. That same day Chris Braithwaite, owner and publisher of the Barton Chronicle, was arrested while covering the protest. Charges against Braithwaite were dropped.
An Orleans County judge had already issued a preliminary injunction because the protesters were near the site on previous occasions.
But the Lowell six went on trial; they had said they wanted their day in court to bring awareness to the various issues with the wind facility. The jury found them guilty.

Please see the Newport Daily Express Monday for the complete story.

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