No jury trial in Beale protest
April 5, 2014
Once again, a federal judge in Sacramento has denied a jury trial to a defendant who is a regular among anti-drone protesters at Beale Air Force Base.
U.S. District Judge Dale A. Drozd cited U.S. Supreme Court precedent holding that there is no right to a jury trial if the penalty is capped at six months in prison.
And he said it is unclear whether he has the discretion to grant a jury trial, but, even if the law allows him that latitude, he would not do so in this instance.
Grass Valley resident Shirley Osgood, 66, is charged by the U.S. Attorney's Office with "entering a military installation for a purpose prohibited by law or lawful regulation," a misdemeanor.
Osgood was one of four protesters arrested in November after they deliberately stepped over the Yuba County base's border, marked by a line of white paint.
They were arrested, cited for trespassing and released, but Osgood was the only one charged by prosecutors with the misdemeanor.
She is scheduled to be tried before Drozd on April 16.
Drozd repeatedly referred to the charge as "petty," the language found in case law, although he acknowledged that it is obvious Osgood doesn't see it that way.
He also cited the prosecutors' assurance they will not seek a prison term if the judge finds her guilty.
"There are simply no circumstances that would take this case out of the realm of petty offense," Drozd said.
Osgood will be the 10th Beale protest defendant to go on trial. U.S. Magistrate Judge Carolyn K. Delaney found five protesters, including Osgood, guilty of stepping over the white line in October 2012.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Allison Claire found four guilty of committing the same crime in April 2013.