Elderly Woman Gets Prison Sentence For Pro-Life Protest

(RightWing.org) – The wheels of justice turn slowly for most defendants not named Donald J. Trump, as evidenced by the recent sentencing of an elderly woman for her 2020 role in a “rescue mission” carried out at a Washington, DC, abortion clinic. However, to enhance her possible prison time, prosecutors used a similar legal maneuver to the one Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg used on the former president.

On May 31, the Justice Department issued a press release announcing that US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly sentenced 75-year-old Paulette Harlow to two years imprisonment. On November 16, 2023, the judge issued a finding of fact and conclusion of law ruling that Harlow was guilty of conspiracy against civil rights and obstructing access to a reproductive health clinic “in connection with the blockade” of a reproductive health clinic (aka an abortion clinic) in late October 2020.

The court’s findings of fact, supported by video evidence and witness testimony, appeared to warrant the guilty verdict at the end of the four-day bench trial. However, the defendant’s age, current medical status, and the prosecution’s charging decisions raise serious concerns about the sentence imposed by Kollar-Kotelly.

Harlow’s defense attorney emphasized her client’s declining health during her sentencing hearing. She told the judge Harlow could not “continue to exist without support, [particularly] that of her husband.” Her husband, John Harlow, pleaded for mercy from the court. He said he thought his wife was “dying… having a hard time staying alive.”

Court watchers claimed prosecutors pulled a fast one when they added the conspiracy count to the one for obstructing public access, a violation of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act.

Martin Cannon, a lawyer representing one of the other defendants, told the Denver Gazette that it was unusual for prosecutors to couple charges under the FACE Act with a conspiracy charge. Violations under that statute are misdemeanors and only carry a one-year sentence. However, the conspiracy charge is a felony that carries up to 10 years imprisonment. He predicted the defendants would prevail on appeal.

Manhattan prosecutors employed a similar technique to convict Trump of 34 counts of falsifying business records — misdemeanors they enhanced by coupling them with other crimes the jury wasn’t required to specify when the panel handed down their guilty verdict.

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