Grand Jury Resister Jordan Halliday pleads guilty to contempt

Jordan HallidayFor Immediate Release:

Civil Liberties Defense Center
259 East Fifth Avenue, Suite 300A
Eugene, OR 97401

Jordan Halliday Pleaded Guilty to Contempt

Utah animal rights activist Jordan Halliday pleaded guilty today July 27, 2010 to criminal contempt of court for refusing to testify before a federal grand jury investigating a series of mink releases in Salt Lake and Davis Counties.

In court Tuesday, before the US District Judge Ted Stewart, Halliday admitted that he willfully & knowingly violated an order by US District Judge Tena Campbell. The order demanded that he answer questions put to him by a federal prosecutor within the confines of a federal grand jury inquisition.

The Prosecution asserted that Halliday refused to take oath and responded with “no comment” to essentially every question asked, even to innocuous questions such as where he lived.

Outside the Frank E. Moss Federal Courthouse in Salt Lake City, approximately one dozen protesters expressed their support for Jordan as well as their disagreement with the grand jury process. Protesters displayed signs stating “Resist Grand Juries” and “Support Jordan Halliday.”

Halliday was subpoenaed twice in March 2009 to testify before a federal grand jury investigating the activity of the animal rights community of Utah. After resisting on March 11, 2009, Jordan was held in civil contempt of court and jailed for four months. While in jail, Jordan was re-subpoenaed to the same grand jury. When he was released from jail, he was indicted with criminal contempt of court for the same act of recalcitrance. He is one of the first activists in decades to face criminal contempt for merely asserting his constitutional rights to not answer questions put to him by a secretive grand jury witch hunt.

Criminal contempt of court is neither a felony nor a misdemeanor but rather considered sui generis by the court. Literally meaning in latin: “of it’s own kind”. This being the case it carries no maximum punishment and it is entirely up to the Judge to decide the sentence. Jordan faces possibly one year in federal prison for this charge.

Jordan is currently out on the same pretrial requirements while he awaits sentencing on October 19, 2010. Jordan cannot leave the State of Utah and cannot have contact with known ALF members or members of the Vegan-Straightedge animal group.

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