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Appeals court oveturns Wash. ecoterror conviction

•  National News     updated  2010/09/16 02:48


An appeals court overturned the conviction of a woman found guilty of helping with a notorious 2001 ecoterror attack that destroyed a university research center, concluding the judge made mistakes that cast doubt on the fairness of her trial.

Briana Waters, 34, was convicted of serving as a lookout during the Earth Liberation Front attack on the University of Washington's Center for Urban Horticulture in Seattle and was sentenced to six years in prison plus $6 million in restitution.

A unanimous three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that the late U.S. District Judge Franklin Burgess made several errors that raised questions about the fairness of her trial.

Waters' lawyer, Dennis Riordan, of San Francisco, said he was delighted and would move quickly to have her released pending another trial, if prosecutors decide to pursue one. Being imprisoned in Danbury, Conn., far from her young daughter, has been difficult, he said.


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