NLG Minnesota on Davenport Grand Jury Repression

Friday, December 4, 2009 at 9:57am
Contact Person: Sara Grant sgrant04 [at] hamlineuniversity [dot] edu; 651-230-6513

On Tuesday, November 17, 2009, Carrie Feldman and Scott DeMuth of Minneapolis were subpoenaed before a federal grand jury in Davenport,  Iowa in the most recent use of Green Scare tactics by the United States government. These subpoenas go beyond the prosecution of violations of federal law to broadly seek information about activists, in an attempt to intimidate political and social activists and disrupt radical animal rights and environmental movements.

Carrie and Scott refused to cooperate and testify and were found in civil contempt of court by District Judge John Jarvey, who had them taken into custody immediately. Scott was subsequently charged with conspiracy to commit property damage under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA).

The National Lawyers Guild has a long history of standing beside environmental and animal rights activists, who the government unjustly labels “eco-terrorists” in an effort to push a specific political and corporate agenda. Both Carrie and Scott have made it clear that incarceration will not coerce them into submitting to potentially wide ranging questioning about their political beliefs, their friendships, and their political associations. The Minnesota Chapter of the National  Lawyers Guild supports their refusal to assist in the government’s prosecution of alleged vandalism in the guise of terrorism. The National Lawyers Guild condemns the use of civil contempt and incarceration to conduct wide ranging investigations which threaten to invade liberties protected by the First Amendment and the Constitution. Use of civil contempt under such circumstances is punitive as there is no reasonable likelihood that these committed individuals will be coerced by state power into cooperating with this government investigation. The subsequent indictment of Scott Demuth serves to illustrate that the grand jury process is being used in an attempt to obstruct his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

The Minnesota Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild supports the immediate release of Carrie and Scott and demands that the government abandon its attempts to punish them for their political beliefs. We stand in solidarity with Carrie, Scott, and all those who are imprisoned for their political beliefs. More information about Carrie and Scott is available at their support blog, including the opportunity to donate to their support fund. We call on the legal community and all people of integrity and conscience to support Carrie and Scott in their resistance to the political oppression being perpetrated by the United States government.

In solidarity,
National Lawyers Guild, Minnesota Chapter

For Further Information: Please see and download or purchase a copy of the pamphlet “Operation Backfire: A survival guide for environmental and animal rights activists”.

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