Alex Hall released from prison

From Voice of the Voiceless:

Mink liberation prisoner Alex Hall released

After serving a 21-month sentence for the A.L.F. liberation of 650 mink from a Utah fur farm, Alex Hall has also been released from prison.

View the Bureau of Prison’s notice of Hall’s release here.

 

 

Utah: Grand Jury resister facing one year in prison

Jordan HallidayOn March 4, 2009, Jordan Halliday refused to testify before a federal grand jury investigating a series of Utah mink liberations. On March 5, William Viehl and Alex Hall (“AETA 2”) were charged and arrested for one of these actions under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act and one conspiracy. For declining to answer questions about the animal rights community of Utah, the judge held Jordan in jail for four months under civil contempt of court. Upon release the prosecutor charged him with criminal contempt.

Jordan is the first dissident in decades to face incarceration under both civil and criminal contempt for a single act of recalcitrance. Over the past twenty years many animal rights and otherwise anarchist militants have suffered grand jury 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 was jailed, the state incarcerated Carrie Feldman and Scott Demuth for four months for resisting an Iowa grand jury.

While in jail, Jordan received thousands of letters of support from all over the world, made friends, and reflected confidently on his decision not to snitch.

Jordan now faces possibly one additional year in prison for criminal contempt.

Support Jordan at his Change of Plea Hearing on Tuesday, July 27th at 10:00 AM with a preceding rally at 9:00 AM. Grand jury resistance and Jordan’s circumstance in particular present yet another moment for solidarity to make a stronghold and, simply, for all of us to feel less alone. As we take the Fifth with a smile at grand jury inquisitions, as we rally with our friends, as we raise bail & get creative, as we communicate, as we all feel this heat, in doing so we diffuse it.

If you won’t be in Salt Lake City on July 27th, please send any letters or financial assistance to cover legal costs to Karen Halliday, address available at http://supportjordan.com.

Alex Hall sentenced to 21 months in prison

AlexSALT LAKE CITY (AP) – An Ogden man who pleaded guilty in the release of hundreds of animals from a mink farm has been sentenced to 21 months in prison.

Alex Jason Hall pleaded guilty to damaging or interfering with an animal enterprise in the August 2008 raid on the South Jordan mink farm.

The 22-year-old apologized at his sentencing in U.S. District Court Wednesday. Hall was accused of letting about 650 mink loose and destroying breeding records at the McMullin mink farm.

The farm recovered most of the mammals but several mink died after being hit by cars or from stress after they returned to the farm.

Another man, 23-year-old William James Viehl, was sentenced two years in federal prison for the break-in.

Utah 2: Judge to deviate from plea agreement and impose harsher sentence on William James Viehl

From the Salt Lake Tribune:

U.S. District Judge Dee Benson on Thursday rejected a plea bargain that called for a Layton man to serve six months in prison for releasing hundreds of mink last year in support of animal rights.

Instead, Benson said he plans to sentence William James Viehl to at least two years behind bars and could go even higher. The law allows a maximum of five years imprisonment.

The judge said he generally deals leniently with offenders who have no criminal record. But he said Viehl’s actions — letting more than 600 mink out of their pens at the McMullin Fur Farm in South Jordan and spray-painting a barn with the words ALF (for Animal Liberation Front) and “We are watching” — went beyond property damage.

“People who are engaged in a lawful enterprise are being terrorized by the actions of Mister Viehl,” Benson said. “There’s got to be some deterrent message sent.”

Lindsey McMullin, who operates his family’s farm, applauded Benson’s decision. He said the attack had frightened his family and the fur industry.

“Domestic terrorism can’t happen in our country,” he said.

But Peter Young, who attended court Thursday along with other animal-rights activists, said Viehl’s actions were an effort to save animals. Benson’s proposed sentence “is in no way commensurate with the offense,” said Young, who added that he served two years in prison in Wisconsin for carrying out mink releases at six farms in that state.

Prosecutors say Viehl and co-defendant Alex Hall released about 425 female mink and 225 male mink on Aug. 19, 2008, at the McMullin farm.

Lindsey McMullin said seven were killed by vehicles, seven died from stress and about 20 were never recovered. He said the two men also took the animals’ pedigree tags, forcing the sale of the females for their pelts because they no longer could be bred and costing the farm $66,753.

Viehl and Hall were indicted last year on the felony interference count and a misdemeanor charge of attempting to damage the operations of the mink farm.

Viehl, 23, pleaded guilty to one count of damaging and interfering with animal enterprises. In a plea deal, the U.S. Attorney’s Office agreed to recommend that he be given a term on the low end of the sentencing range for the crime. The range is determined after a guilty plea is entered and depends on a defendant’s background and other factors.

Viehl said he now realizes he can support animal rights without breaking the law and apologized to the McMullin family on Thursday. He is being held in a jail until his case is resolved.

Charges are pending against Hall, 20, of Ogden, who has pleaded not guilty and is slated to go to trial Dec. 7