DENVER – A nun who spent the past 18 months in prison for defacing a missile site in a peace protest is scheduled to be released Friday, but she may face another confrontation with prosecutors for refusing to pay $3,000 in restitution.
Jackie Marie Hudson (search), 70, was convicted in April 2003 of obstructing national defense and damaging government property. She and two other nuns had poured blood on a Minuteman III (search) silo in northern Colorado in October 2002, hit nearby railroad tracks with a hammer and then sat down to await arrest.
In a letter posted on a Web site devoted to nonviolence and religious activism, Hudson wrote that she refuses "to pay money to this morally bereft government which presently spends over one billion dollars a day to slaughter or in planning the slaughter of millions of innocent persons."
Her lawyer, Walter Gerash, said Hudson and her supporters want U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburn to allow them to make alternative restitution in the form of money and time donated to various causes.
"I think he will (accept the alternative)," Gerash said. "She has no money. She's a nun. She's not obligated to raise money to pay."
Dick Weatherbee, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Colorado, said prosecutors would have to re-examine the wording of Blackburn's order before deciding what to do.
Hudson is being held in a federal prison in Victorville, Calif.
The two other nuns, Carol Gilbert and Ardeth Platte, got longer sentences and are scheduled to be released in May and December, respectively.
Appeals of their convictions are pending before the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.