By Jane Stoever
Think back. On Memorial Day 2021, five men crossed the purple property line at the KC National Security Campus, our nuke-parts plant. Among them: Henry Stoever, a now-retired lawyer who has counselled nuclear weapon resisters since 1984. In Municipal Court, in February 2022, the prosecutor said Henry should be “bifurcated” from the other four. Done. The four had Judge Ardie Bland, who found them guilty of the line-crossing and then asked them to keep doing what they felt called to do. No probation, no fees. Scot free.
But Judge Katherine Emke, after finding Henry guilty, gave him two years’ probation, with court fees and probation costs. Henry appealed his case and will have a jury trial Sept. 6 in Jackson County Courthouse, 415 E. 12th St., KC MO, at 9:30 am. Check our website and e-mails for the courtroom after Sept. 1.
Why does Henry keep coming to court? “To further the cause,” he says. “To send this to another body of citizens. It may lead to another appeal if I do not prevail.” He sees our line-crossings as “an act of intervention in this time of crisis” with new nukes being made, with tax dollars backing the weapons build-up. “We have a right to cross the property line based on our First Amendment freedom of speech and religion,” Henry insists.
He recalls that in 1985, Vermont carpenter Martin Holladay did a Plowshare action at a silo of a Minuteman nuclear missile buried in Missouri. To be exact, Holladay carved a cross in the concrete covering the missile silo. Holladay was found guilty. He appealed and lost his case. But former Attorney General Ramsey Clark advised Henry to appeal the conviction to the US Supreme Court. “They will refuse to consider it, but make them read it,” said Ramsey. Henry complied, and the Supreme Court did reject the case, but they had to read it to reject it.
Now, on a local level, Henry is taking our nuke resistance to a higher level, to a jury. Y’all come!
—By Jane Stoever, wife of Henry, both PeaceWorks activists