I was immensely disheartened to hear the magistrate’s flat-out denial of my lawyer’s request that our witnesses be allowed to testify on my behalf.
During the past few weeks, I had been strengthened and moved by the willingness of so many people to make personal sacrifices to testify in my trial. Some of the witnesses I had wanted were personally affected by living in a mining region, while others had an expert knowledge of years of violations by the coal companies and neglect of the DEP. But the prosecuting attorney objected to bringing these witnesses in on the grounds that it would confuse the jury.
Now, I have the choice of having a trial without witnesses (testifying on my behalf) in magistrate court, or appealing for a possibly fairer trial in circuit court, where other local activists have had cases held over their heads for years. It’s a weighty decision. Back at my status hearing, my lawyer told me that the police were pressuring the court to send me to jail for thirty days–one day for every day I spent in the oak three. But I wasn’t disappointed to hear the magistrate deny my witnesses because I’m afraid to go to jail; I expect to be convicted at this trial whatever I do. I was disappointed because I have a particular ardor for accuracy and for fullness in understanding. I really, really like it we humans feel out truth while groping about in the obscurity of a deceit meant to subdue and oppress us.