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Published: Wednesday, 5/23/2007

Peace protesters sentenced for Toledo sit-in

Three members of the Northwest Ohio Peace Coalition who refused to leave the lobby of the Ohio Building in downtown Toledo during a sit-in in February were sentenced yesterday for disorderly conduct.

Chester Chambers, 78, of 2524 Parkwood Ave.; Marilyn Bernstein, 62, of 4640 282nd St., and Anne Abowd, 64, of 3912 Brookside Rd., Ottawa Hills, received the same sentence from Toledo Municipal Court Judge C. Allen McConnell on the misdemeanor.

Each received a suspended sentence of a $250 fine and 30 days in the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio, Stryker. Each was ordered to pay $79 in costs, according to court records.

On May 2, each withdrew prior pleas of not guilty and entered pleas of no contest before being found guilty by the judge. Charges of criminal trespass were dismissed, the records indicate.

In mid-February, the coalition presented letters to representatives of U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) and U.S. Sen. George Voinovich (R., Ohio), asking them to vote against supplemental federal funding for the war in Iraq.

Neither elected official signed the letter, prompting a sit-in Feb. 21 at Miss Kaptur's office in One Maritime Plaza and another Feb. 28 in the lobby of the building where Mr. Voinovich has his Toledo office.

Mr. Chambers, Ms. Bernstein, and Ms. Abowd were arrested when they refused to leave the lobby, where about a dozen coalition members staged a brief sit-in. Police removed them after building management complained they were blocking access to a lobby elevator.

Four coalition members arrested after they refused to leave Miss Kaptur's office were convicted in April on an amended charge of disorderly conduct. They were sentenced to pay $79 in costs, which were suspended for all but one person who paid his costs in full.

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