Two others refuse, opt for jury trial
Without the imposition of jail time, the men could receive up to five years of probation and be ordered to perform up to 100 hours of community service.
Even though prosecutors took the no-whaling-while-on-probation issue off the table, Andy Noel and whaling captain Wayne Johnson declared that they would stand trial as a matter of principle.
"It's principle and mistrust," said Johnson, who is fed up with what he sees as government interference with Makah whaling--a right reserved by the tribe in 1855 in a treaty with the United States.
Attorney Jack Fiander, who represents Noel, said a key to defending the two men will be an argument that the government's glacial pace in permitting a whale hunt violates their religious liberty. Whale hunting is an integral part of Makah culture and spirituality. Not allowing the men to whale since 1999 is "like someone telling you that you can't go to church for 10 years," Fiander said.
What about the spiritual preparations required before one hunts a whale? There's been no evidence that the Makah 5 did anything to embrace their culture other than killing.
So the crime of ceticide is only a misdemeanor? That seems insufficient to me. What would you have to do to get charged with a felony: exterminate the species?
No wonder the men went whaling. They knew the worst they'd get was a slap on the wrist. In exchange they garnered worldwide publicity for their cause.
For more on the subject, see The Makah Whale-Hunt Controversy.