Susan Crane was convicted of damaging a nuclear missile at Lockheed Corporation in Sunnyvale, California. The trial took place in San Jose in late November,1995. Her son, Chet Collins, testified at the trial, as did many other friends.
Susan and her friend, Steve Kelley, a Jesuit priest who also hammered on the Trident, never denied their actions. They insisted, however, that what they did was not a crime, but rather a determined effort to prevent the far greater crime of creating nuclear weapons.
The jury deliberated only 15 minutes and found both defendants guilty as charged.
Many good friends and supporters were there, and no doubt there will be many present at her sentencing on March 13, just as we go to press.
Judge Ware would not allow any defense that mentioned the Nuremburg Principles, the international treaty signed by the U.S. which makes it illegal to plan "inhumane acts committed against any civilized population."
Susan insisted on reading the Nuremburg Principles, anyway, was threatened with contempt of court and eventually removed from the courtroom. She was allowed to return later. Other friends of Susan's stood up and continued to read from the Nuremburg Principles and several were ejected from the courtroom.
Sue has always been an advocate for the underdog. She puts her heart into everything she does. There is no doubt that she walks her talk.
Sue firmly believes that it is absolutely necessary to take a stand against nuclear weapons, which she calls "the ovens, whose only purpose is to incinerate human flesh."
She refuses any compromise. She will not accept any form of probation or community service because she has committed no crime.
Our common sense is confronted with a contradiction. The person accused of "destruction of government property" cannot be faulted as to sincerity and depth of conviction. And the more we talk about the reasons for her "crime" the more uncomfortable we get.
So, dear reader, what would you do if your were on the jury?
Before you make up your mind why don't you read this letter from Louis Korn. . .
Late breaking news: 10 months sentence
Judge Ware was indeed influenced by the quantity of letters he received about Susan and Steve. On March 13, at the sentencing, well over 100 supporters were at the courtroom. When the two defendants were ushered in, applause and cheers arose from the crowd. Susan and Steve expected a sentence of 1 to 2 years, but in spite of the DA's protests, the Judge made every possible reduction in their sentences, ignoring the courtroom disruptions, the supposed $400,000 damage to the Trident missile and Susan's long list of previous political arrests. The sentence for Susan and Steve was 10 months. With 7 months time already served the two peaceful warriors should be out by early summer! To take up their hammers again.
Susan Crane has continued her protest against nuclear weapons. In the winter of 1997 she, Dan Berrigan and several others friends attacked with household tools - a nuclear equipped warship located at a ship building facility in Maine. She is now serving time in Federal Prison in Dublin, California.
See a picture of Susan with family at Dublin Federal Prison
Copyright Mendocino College Eagle 1995 Permission granted to use articles if source is cited