Judge tells pipeline protesters to ‘get a job’ to pay lawyers
A North Dakota judge had a message for pipeline protesters seeking to avoid paying their public defenders: Get a job.
Two protesters convicted Tuesday in the first jury trial related to the long-running Dakota Access pipeline protest asked a judge to waive the $500 both were ordered to pay their public defenders.
State District Court Judge Bruce Romanick was having none of it, informing the two men that $500 is far less than a private lawyer would have charged and noting that protesters have demonstrated ample resources when it comes to posting bond.
“You can get a job and pay these costs back,” Judge Romanick said, according to the Bismarck Tribune.
Benjamin Schapiro, 30, of Ohio and Steven Voliva, 62, of Washington were found guilty of obstructing a highway and disorderly conduct stemming from a Sept. 27 protest involving hundreds of activists near St. Anthony.
The men each received 10-day suspended sentences for the misdemeanor convictions, and were ordered to pay $500 to law enforcement for reimbursement, along with $500 for their public defenders and mandatory court costs.