United States v. Zenon and Saade – Puerto Rico – CCR Docket 1988-1989

In 1974 the U.S. Navy moved its military bomb­ing range in Puerto Rico from the island of Culebra to the island of Vieques, thus severely restricting the activities of many Vieques resi­dents who made their living from the fishing industry. Island residents and others organ­ized protest actions arguing that Navy bombing practice would adversely affect the fishing in­dustry and upset the area’s delicate ecological balance.

Eleven small fishing boats entered the re­stricted target area and prevented the tests in January 1980. Carlos Zenon, president of the Vieques Fishermen’s Association, and Saade, one of its lawyers, were in one boats and were subsequently  arrested.

A U.S. court found the two guilty of trespassing and gave them the maximum sentence of six months in prison. The CCR, along with the Instituto Puertorriqueno de Derechos Civiles appealed the conviction. The case was remanded by the court of appeals for further hearings. A motion to dismiss was denied. Subsequently, after appealing, the district court resentenced the defendants to time served, effectively missing the case.

Michael Ratner, Margaret Ratner , with Jose Antonio Lugo and CCR cooperating attorneys Peter Berkowitz and Pedro Varela, Instituto Puertorriqueno de Derechos Ciuiles; Gregorio Lima