ITHACA, N.Y. — A woman, known as Ithaca’s anti-drone protesting grandma, will have her case heard in front of an appellate court after she was sentenced to serve six-months in jail for violating a controversial order of protection.
Mary Anne Grady Flores was convicted in February of violating the order, issued against her and other protesters in 2012, by Col. Earl Evans, the mission support group commander at the 174th Attack Wing of the New York Air National Guard.
Evans has stated that the order was issued against the protesters because he feared for his safety, though protesters claim they’ve never even met the man and do not even know what he looks likes.
Her attorney Lance Salisbury said that the major issue at hand during the appellate court hearing will likely revolve around first amendment rights and whether the order of protection was legal. Orders of protection are often filed in domestic violence situations or in cases where there have previously been physical disputes, neither of which pertain to Grady Flores ‘ case.
Salisbury argued that the order was issued to keep protesters away from the Hancock Air Base, which is co-located with Syracuse Hancock International Airport, something orders of protection are not legally intended to do — they’re meant to protect people.
He said less than two percent of cases are accepted by the court, which usually opts to hear cases regarding important legal questions and the application of laws.
The case is expected to be heard in late winter or early spring.
Grady Flores was was arrested on Feb. 13, 2013 while taking photos of an anti-drone protest at the Hancock Air Base, which is co-located with Syracuse Hancock International Airport. Military Drones are flown from the site.
While taking photos of the protest, Grady Flores crossed a street briefly so a person could show her how to take photos with an iPhone — per the order of protection, a space she was not authorized to be.
She was arrested later, about half a mile away at a coffee shop, after being confused for her sister who’d been blocking the driveway of the base. That’s when officials allegedly became aware of the previous order of protection against her.
Charges against eight other protesters who were taken into custody the same day were later dropped after a judge determined that there was no intent by them to break the law.
Grady Flores has been in and out of jail over the past few years while awaiting news from the appellate court to hear her case. She’s spent 49 days in jail and has 65 left in her sentence. She was most recently released from jail in March.