Eric was arrested (along with Zachary Jenson and Lauren Weiner) on January 13, 2006, as part of the government’s ongoing Green Scare campaign. All three were charged with “Conspiracy to damage and destroy property by fire and an explosive.” The conspiracy charge is, quite literally, a thought-crime – no actions were ever carried out by Eric or any of his alleged co-conspirators.
- Eric McDavid Zine
Eric’s arrest was the direct result of a government informant known only as “Anna.” Anna, who was paid over $65,000 for her work with the FBI, spent a year and a half drawing him in, fabricating a crime and implicating Eric in it. At the time of his arrest, Anna (or, rather, the FBI) was paying for the house he was staying in, the car he traveled in, the food he ate and the computer he used. Anna
brought the group together in California, paid for their existence, and harassed them endlessly about sticking to a “plan” and setting “a damned goal.” When it seemed clear that none of this was working for her, the FBI swooped in and arrested Eric, Zach and Lauren. After his arrest, Eric was denied bail twice – despite having no prior criminal record and no history of violence – and spent
almost 2 years pre-trial in Sacramento County Main Jail in “Total Separation” (solitary confinement). This meant that he had little to no contact with other prisoners or the outside world and was only allowed to leave his cell for a few hours each week. During that time he endured two separate hunger strikes to gain access to vegan food. He also endured two separate bouts of pericarditis – a
heart condition which Eric had never experienced before his time
at Sac County.
Both of Eric’s co-defendants caved under the threat of being imprisoned for 20 years and plead guilty to a lesser charge. In doing so, they agreed to testify against Eric and cooperate in every way possible, including testifying in front of secret grand jury proceedings. At their sentencing hearings in 2008, they were both sentenced to time served. For Lauren, that amounted to about 2
weeks and for Zachary, 6 months. Eric’s case is a clear-cut example of entrapment, and he fought the charges against him on those grounds at trial in September of 2007.
After a trial riddled with errors, lies and blunders on the part of the government, a jury found Eric guilty. Many of those same jurors later made damning statements about the FBI’s handling of the case, and two of them submitted declarations to the court stating that they believed Eric deserved a new trial.
None of this can change the fact that Eric has been convicted of a crime that was never committed.
Eric’s Disproportionately Long Sentence
In May of 2008 Eric was sentenced to an outrageous 19 years and 7 months in prison. At the time, it was the longest standing sentence of any environmental prisoner in the US. Unfortunately, Eric’s case and sentencing seem to have set a precedent for such injustice, and others have since been sentenced to similarly outrageous time in prison. Eric appealed his conviction and his sentence immediately following his trial. The 9th Circuit Court rejected his appeal in September 2010. The supreme court refused to hear his case.
Eric Set Free After Wrongful Conviction
On January 8th, 2015, Eric was released from prison after it became known that the FBI had withheld key crucial documents during the trial, revealing that the FBI informant “Anna” had pressured Eric into making plans in order to prove his love for her.
The fight continues now for the release of all documents outlining the ways in which Anna entrapped Eric.