September 11, 2012. Source: National Lawyers Guild
This was brought to the attention of National Lawyer’s Guild at Willamette School of Law by one of our members.
Currently, Jenny Anne Durkan, United States Attorney for the Western District of Washington (which includes Seattle), intends to hold a grand jury on Thursday September 13, 2012 in the hopes of having Leah-Lynn Plante say something that will lead to an indictment (a felony charge). If you aren’t familiar with what an grand jury is, it is a closed hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to charge someone with a felony.
Defense attorneys hate grand juries, as they are not allowed to be there to represent their client. There is a movement right now to persuade Durkan to dismiss this grand jury hearing. If Durkin does not and Plante stays quiet, then there will be a contempt hearing where Plante could be found in contempt of court and detained.
On July 25, the FBI raided Plante’s home which was one of several raids in Seattle, Olympia, and Portland in the last few months. Plante said that FBI agents smashed through her front door with a battering ram with assault rifles drawn, “looking paramilitary.” According to a copy of the warrant, agents were looking for black clothing, paint, sticks, flags, computers and cell phones, and anti-government or anarchist literature.
During the raid at her home, Plante said, some of the agents were initially hyperaggressive, but seemed “confused” by finding nothing more sinister than five sleepy young people. “It seemed like what they expected was some armed stronghold,” she said. “But it’s just a normal house, with normal stuff in the pantry, lots of cute animals, and everyone here was docile and polite.”
Anarchism is a belief that society should have no government, laws, police, or any other authority. Having that belief is perfectly legal, and the majority of anarchists in the U.S. advocate change through non-violent, non-criminal means. A small minority, however, believe change can only be accomplished through violence and criminal acts which are obviously against the law.
Journalist Will Potter, author of Green Is the New Red, has written extensively about US law enforcement and its relationships with political dissidents said, “There’s a huge disconnect between what the FBI and local police are being told and trained for, and what the reality is. There are presentations about ominous, nihilistic, black-clad, bomb-throwing, turn-of-the-century caricatures—the reality is that many anarchists are just organizing gathering spaces, free libraries, free neighborhood kitchens.”
Plante was called to a grand jury on August 2, 2012 that was formed to investigate Northwest anarchists. At the grand jury she read a statement that detailed her non-cooperation and then proceeded to go inside the court house and refused to answer the state’s questions. She has been called to grand jury again on September 13, 2012.
Plante said, “It is likely that the government will put me in jail for [refusing]. I hate the very idea of prison. But I know, if I am sent there, I will not be alone. I can only speak for myself, but I have every faith that the others subpoenaed to these hearings will likewise refuse. And I know that hundreds of people have called the US Attorney demanding that they end this tribunal. Hundreds of organizations, representing thousands of people, signed onto a statement expressing solidarity with those of us under attack and demanding an end to this sort of repression.”
Those who condemn the grand jury of Ms. Plante are encouraged to go up to Seattle on Thursday and makes themselves shown. Plante’s grand jury hearing is at the Federal Courthouse at 700 Stwart St. in Seattle. We encourage you to arrive early to make a point. click here for a map If you are not able to go to Seattle and you believe in Plante’s cause – please click here and you will see a link to fax your letter to United States Attorney Durkin.