Friday, July 13, 2007

Cedar Rapids Protester Fined, Refuses to Pay

Cedar Rapids Protester Fined, But Refuses to Pay

The one person jailed in last week's sit-in at U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley's Cedar Rapids office pleaded guilty in Linn County Court today.

David Goodner, a University of Iowa senior, was fined the minumum amount on both counts -- $65 for criminal trespassing and $250 for interference with official acts.  He told the judge he would not pay the fines.  "I consider my refusal to pay my fines an extension of my civil disobedience," he said.
Goodner was arrested at the Cedar Rapids Federal Courthouse on July 6 during the Occupation Project's action at Grassley's office, when he attempted to enter the building from a restricted side door.

At the time of his 2:05 p.m. arrest, federal marshals were blocking the public entrance, telling protesters that only one person at a time would be allowed in the Republican senator's office.  Minutes after Goodner's arrest, marshals allowed additional protesters and the press to enter the building.  (See my earlier coverage of events at the Federal Courthouse on July 6.)

"I would have never entered the restricted area if I wasn't denied my legal rights at the public entrance first," Goodner said in court.

Though Goodner was the only person jailed, 19 other people were arrested, cited and released after 5 p.m. July 6 for the sit-ins at Grassley's office and at Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin's office in the Wells Fargo Bank building.

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