Protesters choose jail over fines

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BANGOR – Six anti-war activists got their wish Tuesday when a district court judge sentenced them to 24 hours in the Penobscot County Jail rather than ordering them to pay a $200 fine as prosecutors originally recommended.

Judge David B. Griffiths also ordered the six to reimburse the county $80 toward the more than $90 per day cost of housing them at the jail.

The jailed protesters, along with five others, were arrested on Sept. 21 at U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe’s Bangor office. Four of the 11 agreed to pay the $200 fine, while one woman served her 24-hour jail sentence in December.

The group was arrested and charged with criminal trespass for refusing to leave Snowe’s third-floor offices and hallway when asked to do so by the building’s owner and the police.

On Tuesday, the date set for their trials, six of the protesters told Griffiths they would rather go to jail than pay the fines.

Those who chose jail over paying the fine were: Douglas Allen, 65, Orono; Jeanne Olivett, 59, Brooklin; Suzanne Fitzgerald, 74, Bar Harbor; Christopher Stark, 52, Winterport; Constance Jenkins, 58, Orono; and Ilze Petersons, 63, Orono. Nancy Hill, 53, of Stonington served her sentence in December.

Those who paid the fine were: Ron Greenberg, 58, Bar Harbor; John Miller, 59, Blue Hill; Richard Paget, 63, Stonington; and Daniel Lourie, 69, Bar Harbor.

The addition of six inmates at the Penobscot County Jail brought the population up to 181, Penobscot County Sheriff Glenn Ross said late Tuesday afternoon. When the population reaches 182, inmates must be boarded at other facilities.

He said that because the six would only be in the jail for 24 hours, he did not expect other inmates would be displaced unless an unusually large number of people were arrested overnight.

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