Crime & Courts
Judge fines Camp Dodge 13 protesters
By JEFF ECKHOFF
Register Staff Writer
Defiant, idealistic and preachy, the “Camp Dodge 13” on Wednesday told a Polk County judge that they would willingly accept jail or a lengthy probation as punishment for trespassing at the Iowa National Guard headquarters in March.
Each walked away with a little more than $200 in fines and associated court costs.
“I think it’s great,” said the Rev. Frank Cordaro, a noted peace activist who was among the 13 people sentenced Wednesday for the March 22 antiwar protest at Camp Dodge. “It’s always better not to go to jail than to go to jail.”
District Judge Robert Hanson, who also presided over the defendants’ eight-day trial last month, listened to more than an hour of testimony Wednesday before he imposed the fines against Cordaro, Gil Dawes, Bill Basinger, Jane Magers, Jim Johnson, Carolyn Uhlenhake Walker, Marian Solomon, Mike Schorsch, Jeanne Firth, Carla Dawson, Fran Fuller, Elton Davis and Brian Terrell.
Assistant Polk County Attorney John Judisch had sought a two-tiered punishment for the group – sentences of 100 hours of community service for the majority, plus 30-day jail terms for Cordaro and Terrell, both of whom had been involved in numerous previous protests.
Such a sentence, Judisch said, “would let the defendants know that this type of behavior is not accepted and there should be a consequence to this type of activity.”
Hanson noted the lack of violence and the lack of property damage on March 22.
The sentence came only after speeches in which each defendant took turns to explain his or her commitment to the antiwar movement. Cordaro, who recently announced plans to resign from the priesthood, told the judge that he hopes to lead a more aggressive protest this fall.
“We will make a serious attempt this time to get on that property,” he said.