From The Oregonian
A federal judge on Monday sentenced eco-saboteur Rebecca Rubin to five years in prison — less than what prosecutors sought for the former fugitive from Canada.
Rubin, voice shaking, apologized to her family, the court, firefighters as well as targets of the Animal Liberation Front and Earth Liberation Front.
“I was so convinced at the righteousness of my beliefs, that I chose to ignore my own wrongdoing,” Rubin said.
“I understand more than you know when you work in a democracy that all things look like they’re black and white when you’re young,” the judge said. “And there are so many shades of gray.”
Federal prosecutors had asked Aiken for a 7 ½-year prison sentence for Rubin. Rubin’s attorney argued for five years.
Rubin pleaded guilty last October before Aiken to arson, attempted arson and conspiracy to commit arson in Oregon, Colorado and California as part of the underground Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front. She participated in four crimes, including planning the eventual $12 million fire that destroyed a ski resort under construction in Vail, Colo., in 1998.
She turned herself in to the FBI at the Washington-Canada border in late 2012, driven to the meeting by her mother.
In a letter to the judge, Rubin apologized for the destruction and fear she wrought.
“Although at the time I believed my only motivation was my deep love for the earth, I now understand that impatience, anger, egotism and self-righteousness were also involved,” she writes. “In retrospect, I recognize how immature my actions were. I am now forty years old and have had much time to reflect on and consider the consequences of my choices, and my thinking has become much more coherent. I know now that my actions were not merely destructive of inanimate objects but were also harmful to other, feeling human beings.”
But prosecutors noted that Rubin has refused to give them the names of other participants in her crimes.
“While repentance and change are important sentencing factors, they cannot erase four years of criminal conduct followed by several years of running from justice and a continuing desire to protect the last remaining fugitives,” prosecutors said in their memo to the judge.
They also argued that a 7 ½-year sentence will “send a strong message to new would-be domestic terrorists and left-over advocates that crimes of violence and years of hiding simply don’t pay.”
Rubin’s lawyer, Richard J. Troberman, said in his memo to the judge that “the defendant, the Government, and the Probation Office all agree that Rebecca was substantially less culpable than the average participant in each of these offenses.”
He noted that Rubin worked with animals from 2001 to 2006 “as a veterinary assistant and in wildlife rehabilitation. She was fully invested in the work she had always wanted to do: healing and releasing (lawfully) healthy and well-equipped animals back into the wild, and had finally found her true calling.”
But she went into hiding when, in 2006, she “learned that she had been charged with these offenses. She was alarmed and terrified to see herself compared to Osama Bin Laden in the news, and she read that she could be facing up to life in prison,” Troberman said.
Living underground took its toll, and Rubin sought help to resolve her case, he said.
“Rebecca has learned a painful, costly, and lasting lesson as a result of her involvement in these offenses,” Troberman said.