Wind developers and their lawyers are brutal to anyone who consistently stands in their way. Annette Smith of Vermont is one who has fought with everything she has, and helped others have the courage to do the same. She doesn’t give up. Apparently she’s so good at helping that the wind developers and their lawyersneed to ‘get rid of her’, and the only way they can think of is to drag out some ancient law that hasn’t been used in Vermont since the ’60’s for “practicing law without a license”. And it carries potentially severe penalties. “It is punished as criminal contempt of the Vermont Supreme Court, and is potentially punishable by fine or imprisonment or both, in the court’s discretion,” John Treadwell, Chief of the Criminal Division at the AG’s office says.
This is such a long stretch of an accusation that these lawyers have schemed up, yet Annette has to fight it, she doesn’t have a choice and it is going to cost her a pile just to defend herself. Think about any person in this wind fight that has given you guidance, direction, hope, skills, intelligent thought, and experience (I can think of more than a handful!). That’s the kind of person Annette is. Now imagine that person is getting prosecuted just because she helped you find your way around the messy world of tribunal hearings etc, that were created by legislators and lawyers to be as incomprehensible to the average person as possible.
There are broader implications of this sort of action that wind company lawyers hunger for too. It has the same effect on free speech and protest as a SLAPP suit. Those who need to fight for their homes will have nobody to turn for for help, unless they can afford lawyers that cost at least tens of thousands of dollars, usually hundreds of thousands. These people will not have a voice, and the wind companies can have smooth sailing. On top of this, those who have the experience and knowledge
will feel threatened to lend a hand to those who are desperate for some direction but can’t afford a lawyer – yes they are silenced too.The only people left to speak are the LAWYERS! Alarm bells! Does that sound a tad frightening to you too?!