Wednesday, February 11, 2004

U.S. Attorney in Iowa Folds

The AP is reporting that all the subpoenas against Drake University, against the Catholic Peace Ministry, and against four anti-Iraq war peace activists have been withdrawn without explanation -- nor apology.

Drake University lawyers had been preparing a response to the subpoena which had demanded that it turn over the names of members of the Drake chapter of the National Lawyers Guild as well as names of those attending an anti-war forum on campus. "We would have argued that it chilled the First Amendment rights of free speech and free association of our students," said Steve Serck, a lawyer representing the school.

"Civil liberties advocates welcomed the withdrawal [of the subpoenas], but said troubling questions remain. The Iowa Civil Liberties Union pledged to file legal motions and 'use other avenues' to find out why the subpoenas were served in the first place."

"If it was just a trespassing investigation, why seek the membership records of the National Lawyers Guild?" asked Ben Stone, executive director of the ICLU. "If this was an attempt to chill protests through the aggressive policing of a run-of-the-mill crime, we've got a serious problem in America."

Indeed, we DO.

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