Wednesday, February 11, 2004
SUBPOENAS QUASHED IN IOWA UNIVERSITY CASE
"Federal prosecutors withdrew a subpoena Tuesday ordering Drake University to turn over a list of people involved in an anti-war forum in November, as well as subpoenas ordering four activists to testify before grand jury.."
"The US attorney's office had no immediate comment on why the subpoenas were withdrawn just one day after federal prosecutor Stephen O'Meara issued a statement acknowledging an investigation was under way."
"O'Meara said the focus of the probe was alleged trespassing at Iowa National Guard headquarters in Johnston that happened while a protest against the war in Iraq was taking place nearby on Nov. 16. He said the protest, in which 12 were arrested, was not the problem."
"As part of the probe, prosecutors had served a subpoena last week asking the university to turn over the names of participants in the forum."
"Drake [University] was preparing legal motions to fight the subpoena when Steve Serck, a lawyer representing the school, received word that it had been dropped."
"If it was just a trespassing investigation, why seek the membership records of the National Lawyer's Guild? asked Ben Stone, executive director of the ICLU. "If this was an attempt to chill protests through the aggressive policing of a run-of-the-mill crime, weve got a serious problem in America."
TalkLeft posted a victory announcement made by Michael Avery, President of the National Lawyer's Guild:
"The government was forced to back down in this case and it shows that people can and should stand up to the government when it is abusing its powers. The Lawyer's Guild is grateful to our many friends and allies who supported us in the face of the attack by government. This experience demonstrates that the American people cherish their right to free expression and the right of political groups to dissent"...
"The Guild is calling for congressional hearings to determine the extent to which the FBI and the Justice Department are gathering information on student political groups", according to Executive Director of the Guild, Heidi Boghosian.
Sources via Pacific Views.