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Grand Jury Resister Pleads Guilty

Jordan Halliday pleads guilty for his refusal to testify to a grand jury investigating the A.L.F.

Jordan Halliday has been under indictment for “criminal contempt” since last year for refusal to testify at a grand jury investigating mink liberations in Utah. The raids were claimed by the Animal Liberation Front. It is one of the only times in U.s. history anyone has been charged with “criminal contempt” for refusal to testify.

The little-used charge is unique in that the crime carries no maximum sentence. Sentencing rests on the judge’s discretion,and is entirely open-ended. Halliday’s sentencing is scheduled for October 19th.

Prosecutors say Halliday either responded with “no comment” to most questions or involved a Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination to innocuous questions.

Two men, Alex Jason Hall and William James Viehl, pleaded guilty to a mink release at the McMullin Fur Farm. Hall was sentenced earlier this year to 21 months in prison and Viehl to 24 months.

The arbitrary application of the charge has every appearance of an attempt to either coerce testimony from Halliday, or a tool of revenge for his defiance.

Background on Jordan Halliday’s case, from his support group:

“This particular grand jury was allegedly established for the purpose of investigating mink releases in Utah. However, the questions asked of Jordan went far beyond inquests on criminal activity. The prosecution is clearly using the grand jury as a witch hunt to investigate the activities of animal rights activists generally. These tactics are employed to chill free speech activities and intimidate people from standing up for the rights of themselves and animals. Jordan made a commendable principled stand for his refusal to cooperate with this abridgment of rights. He has committed absolutely no acts of violence or property destruction. The government has even expressed that he is NOT considered a suspect in the mink release or any other illegal activity. He was held in contempt simply because he refused to acquiesce to the abridgment of his First and Fifth Amendment rights. The government criminally indicted him now with criminal contempt of court to send a message to political activists that the weight and the authority of the government should not be resisted. This use of criminal law and federal subpoena power is a serious threat to our constitution rights of free association, free speech, and against self-incrimination.”

Jordan Halliday’s sentencing info:

October 19th, 2010 at 2pm
At the Frank E. Moss Federal Court House.
350 South Main St.
SLC, UT 84101

– Peter Young

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