FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 25, 2010
Contact: Earth Warriors are OK! (EWOK!) hotline (Natalia Shulkin)
Carrie Feldman, Imprisoned Grand Jury Resister, Denied Release on Appeal
Supporters Decry the Secret Evidence that was Filed to Justify Her Continued Incarceration
Davenport, IA — On Friday, January 22nd, an appellate panel in Davenport, Iowa denied an appeal for the release of imprisoned grand jury resister Carrie Feldman. The decision means that Feldman may remain in custody through the remainder of the grand jury’s service, another nine months. Feldman was jailed on November 17th of last year for civil contempt after
refusing to testify before the grand jury as a matter of principle. Judge John Jarvey had denied the original motion for her release on December 8th in federal district court.
The appellate ruling was marked by highly suspect processes. The judges allowed prosecutor Cliff Cronk to file secret evidence to substantiate the claim that Feldman’s testimony is still relevant to the investigation of the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) action at the University of Iowa in 2004, in which research equipment was damaged and hundreds of animals were set free. Feldman’s lawyers are not permitted to view this evidence. Additionally, the judges asked Cronk to file a rare second reply to Feldman’s appeal.
“The lack of transparency in the appeal process is another demonstration of the federal government’s commitment to punishing people for their political beliefs and principles,” said Thomas Addo of Earth Warriors are OK! “Using secret evidence to justify Carrie’s unwarranted incarceration is a blatant violation of due process and justice.”
The appellate decision comes on the heels of a court appearance by Leana Stormont, who was recently subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury in Davenport. Stormont was a law student and outspoken animal rights activist at the University of Iowa in 2004. After the ALF action at the university, she experienced overt intimidation and harassment by the Federal Bureau of
Investigation. Stormont’s attorneys are fighting the subpoena. Stormont, currently of Virginia, was the third person subpoenaed to the Davenport grand jury, following Feldman and Scott DeMuth, both of Minneapolis. DeMuth was indicted November 18th for conspiracy to “commit animal enterprise terrorism and cause economic damage to the animal enterprise in an amount exceeding $10,000” under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA).
Feldman and DeMuth both call the Davenport grand jury politically motivated and point to the federal government’s historical use of grand juries to repress social movements. Other high-profile examples include the San Francisco 8 case, involving former Black Panthers, and subpoenas targeting the Puerto Rican independence movement following the FBI assassination of movement leader Filiberto Ojeda Rios in 2005.