Environment Magazine

Update from Grand Jury Fishing Expeditions on the West Coast

Posted on the 25 January 2013 by Earth First! Newswire @efjournal
Photo from anti-Grand Jury rally, September 13th, 2012 by Alex Milan Tracy

Photo from anti-Grand Jury rally, September 13th, 2012 photo by Alex Milan Tracy

Earlier this month, a resident of Portland, Oregon, Priyesh Patel, was served a subpoena and is scheduled to appear at the San Francisco federal courthouse on January 29th. Patel now joins Brittany Kenville as the latest activists subpoenaed to a grand jury which appears to be investigating a 2008 fire at the home of an animal experimenter at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

According to Will Potter, author of Green is the New Red, “Patel, Kenville, and other activists subpoenaed are not charged with any crime. Grand jury proceedings are used to determine if there is sufficient evidence to bring a criminal indictment against someone else. Ostensibly, this may act as a safeguard against overzealous prosecutions. However, grand juries have historically been used as a tool to harass, disrupt, and spy upon social movements.

“Grand juries are secret, but there is some information about the scope of this one. The 2008 fire was also at issue in the prosecution of the “AETA 4″ on animal enterprise terrorism charges (which were all dismissed). And the prosecutor in that case, Assistant U.S. Attorney Elise Becker, is also involved in this grand jury.”

 In other grand jury news,Portland anarchist Kerry Cunneen, the latest subpoenaed (served Dec 14) in a grand jury investigation of the May Day attack on the Nakamura federal courthouse during an anti-capitalist march in Seattle last year, declined to enter the court room January 3, stating that they will never under any circumstance cooperate with the state’s investigation. Cunneen may await a similar fate as other grand jury resistors.

For instance, Maddy Pfeiffer, another grand jury resistor in the same investigation, is still currently incarcerated for refusing to testify. Prior to being imprisoner, Maddy offered the following statement: “[T]he day before my 23rd birthday, two FBI agents wearing ill-fitting khakis and too much gel in their hair served me a subpoena for 9am on November 7th. I knew my fate right away: 18 months in SeaTac Federal Detention Center. Matt, Kteeo and Leah have all been imprisoned for their refusal and I will be the next. Despite the urgings of lawyers, agents and judges, I only have one option: non-cooperation. Any other option is unthinkable… The vultures of the state will try to imprison my comrades and I until we give in. We will never give in.”

Updates on some of these cases can be found at nopoliticalrepression.wordpress.com

Letters of support can be sent to Grand Jury resistors (they must be in separate envelopes)

Matthew “Maddy” Pfeiffer #42421-086

Matthew Kyle Duran #42565-086

Katherine Olejnik #42592-086

FDC SeaTac,
P.O. Box 13900
Seattle, WA 98198

A reminder from Maddy Pfeiffer for those facing grand juries: “I am exercising my state and federal constitutional rights including the 1st, 4th and 5th amendments.”  This was the reported response to over 25 grand jury questions asked of Maddy on Dec. 14, 2012.


News compiled by EF! Journal Collective

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