Target: Anne Marie Schubert, Sacramento County District Attorney
Goal: Applaud the release of environmental activist following discovery of FBI’s concealment of evidence
A California man was just released after spending nine years in prison, as a part of his 20-year sentence for plotting to destroy property by fire or explosion. After it was discovered that the FBI withheld documents from the defense which show that it used an informant to entrap Eric McDavid, his case was reviewed and he was released. McDavid spent too long in prison, and while he will not get that time back, it is good news that he is finally free. Please join us in applauding his release and demand that attention is paid to the way the legal system handles environmental activists.
McDavid was convicted of eco-terrorism in 2007 for allegedly plotting with two other co-defendants to blow up Nimbus Dam in Sacramento County, California. An FBI informant who worked on infiltrating the group since 2004 allegedly encouraged McDavid and his co-defendants to engage in these acts, paid for their supplies, housed them, provided money and transportation, and urged them to plan an attack. Documents related to this informant and her activity were withheld from McDavid’s defense attorneys and therefore his original trial was not fair.
Judge Morrison C. England ordered McDavid’s release after he plead guilty to a different charge: conspiring to destroy a U.S. Forest Service lab. This charge carries a maximum sentence of five years, so McDavid was released since he already served nine years. England said “I know he’s not necessarily a choirboy, but he doesn’t deserve to go through this either. It’s not fair.” This case exemplifies the problematic use of FBI informants, who often initiate, lead, and facilitate illegal activities in order to entrap suspects, instead of just documenting their activity. It also brings up the extremely harsh sentencing of activists and their classification as terrorists. Please join us in celebrating McDavid’s release by signing the petition below.
Dear Ms. Schubert,
I am writing to applaud the recent release of Eric McDavid. McDavid spent nine years in prison for allegedly conspiring to blow up a dam. McDavid was sentenced to 20 years in prison for “eco-terrorism,” but it was recently discovered that the FBI withheld information and documents from the defense attorneys regarding the informant they used to entrap McDavid.
McDavid’s case raises questions about how environmental activists are investigated and tried in the US. The informant in this case didn’t simply record what McDavid and his co-defendants were doing, but was initiating, facilitating, and encouraging the illegal activities that led to their arrest and harsh sentencing. I ask that you use this case to ensure that this doesn’t happen to any more activists and that there are no other people serving time unjustly. Please work to guarantee that FBI informants do not initiate criminal activity and then entrap the people they convinced to join them.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Joshua Davis via Flickr