The U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether to reinstate a man's conviction for protesting outside Vandenberg Air Force Base in Southern California. (File photo: An unarmed Minuteman II intercontinental ballistic missile launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. Photo by USAF/Getty Images)
The Supreme Court will decide whether to reinstate a man's conviction for protesting outside a military base in Southern California.
Federal officials on Monday asked justices to reinstate John Dennis Apel's trespass convictions.
Apel had been banned from Vandenberg Air Force Base for previous protesting activities, so he set up in a designated protest area on a highway that passes through the base. The military owns the highway but grants the state and Santa Barbara County an easement so the public can use it.
Military officials say since Apel had been banned from the base, he also could not use the protest area. Federal appeals judges overturned his conviction, saying since the military does not have exclusive right of possession to the highway, Apel's trespass conviction had to be dismissed.