Monday Jan 29th, 2007 10:52 AM
January 29, 2007
Contact: Kelah Bott at 415-577-6150
Victory for Civil Rights As Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Reverses Civil Contempt Order Imposed on San Francisco Animal Activist
*Nadia Winstead Stays Out of Jail Because Federal Government Failed to Make Adequate Response to Her Claim of Unlawful Electronic Surveillance; Government Will Not Seek Rehearing *
SAN FRANCISCOŚLocal animal activist Nadia Winstead will remain free after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a contempt order that would have put her behind bars. Winstead's attorney has just learned that the federal government has decided not to seek a rehearing on the Ninth Circuit order and will no longer seek her testimony before a federal grand jury investigating Bay Area activists.
U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston imposed the contempt order on Winstead in November for her refusal to testify before the grand jury. But the Ninth Circuit has overturned Judge Illston's order, finding that the government had not made an adequate response to Winstead's claim of being the subject of unlawful electronic surveillance. Winstead believes she was targeted by this grand jury as part of the larger "Green Scare" that has rounded up animal and eco-liberation activists across the country.
"The Ninth Circuit's ruling was a positive step towards taking government-sponsored harassment of activists seriously," Winstead said. "I will continue to use my constitutional rights to speak out against oppression and on behalf of animals suffering in cruel and unnecessary product testing."
In May of 2005, Winstead and at least 10 other Bay Area activists were subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury claiming to be investigating the 2003 disappearance of Daniel Andreas Sandiego. Winstead and others filed a motion for disclosure of illegal electronic surveillance. The motion was denied by Illston. Winstead originally appeared before the grand jury in January '06 and again in August '06, each time asserting that the questions being asked were derived from unlawful electronic surveillance.
In September 2006, Winstead's attorney, Mark Goldrosen, filed a second electronic surveillance motion in an attempt to force the U.S. government to disclose any illegal electronic surveillance that may have influenced their decision to subpoena Winstead to the grand jury. The government claimed that its denial of the existence of electronic surveillance was adequate. Judge Illston again denied the motion.
Three weeks later, Judge Illston found Winstead in contempt because she believed there was no longer a just cause for her to remain silent. Winstead's attorney then appealed the decision with the Ninth Circuit Court of appeals. Winstead was notified that the contempt had been reversed on December 22, 2006.
For more information, please contact Kelah Bott at 415-577-6150.
Related websites: http://www.FBIWitchHunt.com or http://www.GreenIsTheNewRed.com