After receiving a subpoena last week to testify before the Seattle federal Grand Jury on Nov. 7 @ 9:00am, Matthew Pfeiffer publicly proclaimed he would *never* cooperate with government authorities while admitting he expected nothing less from them in turn. Three other young Pacific NW Grand Jury resisters have been jailed: Matt Duran, Kteeo (both from Olympia), & Leah-Lynn Plante (from Portland)…each for remaining silent before the Grand Jury panel seeking information relating to their (A)narchist affiliations.
Two resisters (Matt & Kteeo) remain in custody while Leah has been released. Some confusion exists as to why Leah was released when her fellow resisters were not. While Leah has urged her community not to ‘panic’, she has publicly admitted having some emotional/mental issues arising from PTSD which her incarceration exacerbated. No further details surrounding her release are known at this time. Leah was held in an isolation cell during her imprisonment while Kteeo and Matt were eventually released to the general inmate population in the SeaTac federal detention center. This raises questions as to whether the psychological torture inflicted on her was too much to bear and whether she ‘cracked’ or whether the federal judge allowed her to be released (temporarily or otherwise) to receive treatment. The federal criminal justice system isn’t exactly known for its compassion, so it’s likely if Leah continued to resist that this is part of a softening up process targeting who authorities perceive to be the most vulnerable among those listed above. Leah’s photo as a Grand Jury resister has been widely circulated on the internet. She’s an attractive poster child for the cause of civil liberties, widespread criticism of the abuse of the federal Grand Jury system for political repression, and courage in the face of adversity. If she succumbed, it would be an embarrassment to adamant (A)narchists, if not…it would be as equally embarrassing to the federal judge and prosecutor imprisoning our youth, the very progeny not corrupted by self indulgence and ennui.
The public and reporters have been cautioned to allow Leah time to recover from the trauma of imprisonment, to let her reclaim her life. Whether this is possible without a public recounting of the circumstances surrounding her release remains to be seen.
Matthew Pfeiffer released a public statement as to his date with federal authorities/Grand Jury as follows:
“On October 25th, the day before my 23rd birthday, two FBI agents wearing ill-fitting khakis and too much gel in their hair, served me a subpoena for 9am on November 7th. I knew my fate right away: 18 months in SeaTac Federal Detention Center. Matt, Kteeo and Leah have all been imprisoned for their refusal and I will be the next. Despite the urging of lawyers, agents and judges, I only have one option: non-cooperation. Any other option is unthinkable.
I am being asked to testify before a Grand Jury on November 7th and will likely be detained on that date for refusing to cooperate. The vultures of the state will try to imprison my comrades and I until we give in. We will never give in.
No Church In The Wild
From so many different perspectives, for so many reasons, snitching is never an option. I will never betray the people I care about, the ideas which I hold dear, or the commitments I have made. I will never give any information about crimes, should I have any knowledge of them nor will I give information about my personal relationships. I will never cooperate with this or any attempt to stop struggle. I will never cooperate with the systems of control which I loathe. If the federal government chooses to imprison me for my refusal then so be it. I expect no less from them.
The official reason the state gives for imprisoning those who refuse to cooperate is to coerce testimony. If they know anything about me or my friends they know that this will never work. Some have said that this Grand Jury is about trying to repress people’s political opinions and free speech and no doubt this is true. My subpoena states that I am being asked to testify about events that took place on May 1st. The state is trying to use broken windows as a reason to ruin peoples lives. This is absurd and I will oppose it to the fullest. This life ruining system which they call “justice” is organized to defend property and capitalism. This system is against everything I believe in.
My imminent imprisonment is an attempt to disrupt struggle against domination in all its forms. What the vultures cannot understand is that attempts to repress this struggle will only embolden it, whether we are inside the walls of the Federal Detention Center or in the streets. The growing list of solidarity actions, from St. Louis to France, demonstrates an inspiring continuity in this regard.
In silence, we roar!”
-Matthew ‘Maddy’ Pfeiffer-
But wait! While it’s not difficult to recognize the federal Grand Jury system is being abused for the purpose of a fishing expedition and possibly a ‘witch hunt’, the rationale for *never* cooperating is tenuous.
Yes, a Grand Jury’s function should be limited to whether to issue an indictment. It’s not supposed to be a substitute for a Congressional hearing/inquiry. Yet, if someone has material/direct information regarding a crime (not their opinion/speculation as to the political views of their acquaintances), should they be allowed to refuse to testify with impunity? If an indictment actually issued and a criminal trial ensued, should potential material witnesses be allowed to thumb their nose at a process designed (in theory) as a search for the truth?
In fact, this occurs on a regular basis. Defense attorneys as well as prosecutors are all too aware of the difficulties encountered due to intransigent witnesses. This obstinance defeats our justice (just us?) system even when pro se litigants attempt to represent themselves. It is a daunting task attempting to cajole/criticize reluctant witnesses. Should an innocent accused murderer be without a meaningful right to a fair trial replete with the production of eye/material witnesses no matter how reluctant? Far too many innocent defendants have found themselves sent to prison or even death row.
Many laymen assume the justice system will work without them. Too often they resist because of the personal inconvenience. They don’t want to get ‘involved’. Public officials are not immune to this syndrome–far from it. THAT IS WHY SUBPOENAS EXIST. IT IS WHY JUDGES WILL ISSUE ARREST WARRANTS FOR THOSE WHO IGNORE THEM. IT IS WHY DEFIANT WITNESSES WILL BE JAILED FOR CONTEMPT!
If American justice is to be anything other than a dead letter, material/eye witnesses must continue to be compelled (if necessary) to testify. Never say ‘never’! While the Grand Jury resisters may be morally justified in refusing to cooperate with a Grand Jury fishing expedition/witch hunt, every American should recognize they have a duty in common with other citizens to testify in a trial once/should it take(s) place.
UPDATE: Pfeiffer Released, Contempt Hearing Continued to 12-14-12
Posted November 8, 2012
Maddy Pfeiffer was released from the grand jury today on a continuance, after refusing to cooperate – their lawyer argued that the two weeks between subpoena and grand jury date were not enough to prepare. Maddy’s next grand jury appearance will be December 14th.