FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — On October 19, 2010, Jordan Halliday, a Utah animal rights activist, will be sentenced for refusing to testify before a grand jury. Because the prosecutor is asking for 15-21 months, Jordan faces as much prison time as those he was brought to testify against. We are calling for solidarity actions from October 16th to 19th to show support for Jordan and all grand resistors.
In March 2009, Jordan was subpoenaed to federal grand jury investigating a series of mink liberations in Utah. He asserted his 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination. The court jailed Jordan for nearly 4 months under civil contempt of court. in an effort to compel him to testify. The day after Jordan refused to testify, the grand jury indicted Alex Hall and William James Viehl under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act.
The week following his first grand jury appearance Jordan (still in jail) received a second subpoena, which he again refused. While in jail, Jordan also received thousands of letters of support from all over the world, made friends, and confidently reflected on his decision not to snitch.
Upon release the court charged Jordan with federal criminal contempt of court, to which he pleaded guilty in August of this year.
There are no sentencing guidelines for criminal contempt. However, the prosecution is trying to follow the guidelines of “obstruction of justice” and pursuing an enhancement. These guidelines have a maximum of 2 years and allow the prosecutor to ask for an egregious sentence of between 15 and 21 months. Comparatively, William and Alex were sentenced to 24 months and 21 months respectively.
Jordan is the first dissident in more than two decades to be charged with criminal contempt of court after already serving time for civil contempt for the same act of recalcitrance.
Over the past 20 years many animal rights and otherwise rad kids have suffered subpoenas and coercive incarceration, but rarely for more than a few weeks. But at present we are experiencing an increase of pressure. Shortly after Jordan’s incarceration an Iowa grand jury subpoenaed Carrie Feldman and Scott Demuth, and held them in civil contempt for four months. Fortunately, neither Carrie nor Scott has been charged with criminal contempt.
Jordan’s sentencing is set for October 19th, 2010 at 2 p.m. at the Frank E. Moss Federal Courthouse at 350 South Main Street in Salt Lake City, Utah. We encourage any one in Salt Lake to attend this hearing (in conservative dress).
Lastly, Jordan’s hearing presents only moment for convergence, and we call out for an eruption of many more moments, for acts of recalcitrance anywhere and everywhere, for actions that show solidarity with grand jury resistance from October 16-19, 2010.
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