ACLU Backs Reynolds’ Motion to Quash

ACLU Backs Reynolds’ Motion to Quash Grand Jury Subpoena for Obstruction of Justice in U.S.A. v Dr. Schneider; Alex DeLuca; Addiction, Pain and Public Health website; 2009-05-09.


See also:
Fed Prosecutor Tries to Silence Drug Policy Activist, Again – Sullum; 2009-04-17
Big Hearing in 10th Circuit on Painkiller Issue – Balko; 2009-05-06
Grand Jury Subpoenas Pain Relief Activist – Drug War Chronicle; 2009-04-17
Abuse of Grand Jury Subpoena – Halderman; 2009-04-20

Siobhan Reynolds’ Amended Motion to Quash Subpoenas
Bonney, Michelman, and Rorty; ACLU attorneys for Reynolds and PRN

I am grateful to Jacob Sullum, Radley Balko, Drug War Chronicle, and Keith Halderman for their coverage of AUSA Tanya Treadway’s outrageous actions against Siobhan Reynolds, president of the Pain Relief Network (see the “See also:” links, above), and am especially grateful to the ACLU for stepping up and getting involved with this case.

This is so important because Treadway’s subpoena named every lawyer in Kansas, in fact almost every lawyer anywhere, that Ms. Reynolds knows, and she found herself effectively unable to retain legal counsel (hence her previously filed, pro se, Motion to Quash Subpoena) (PDF).

The ACLU’s Amended Motion to Quash Subpoenas (PDF) is not terribly long and is very readable. It establishes Siobhan Reynolds’ record of aggressive activism and emphasizes the First Amendment interests at stake. It reviews AUSA Tanya Treadway’s March 2008 effort to have Ms. Reynolds and her Pain Relief Network (PRN) gagged by the court, which motion was denied, leading to Treadway’s attempt to get from a Grand Jury what she could not get from the Judge Belot.

“These subpoenas constitute an abuse of the grand jury process… Because [Treadway’s obstruction of justice] investigation lacks any good faith basis, Ms. Reynolds does not claim a Fifth Amendment privilege with respect to any of the materials sought by the subpoena.(1) Ms. Reynolds maintains that she has committed no crime and that there is nothing in the requested materials that could inculpate her in the obstruction of justice, witness tampering or jury tampering. For all of these reasons, this Court should quash the March 10 subpoenas issued to Siobhan Reynolds and PRN.” (pages 2 and 4)

The brief criticizes the “broad and invasive scope” of Treadway’s subpoena (PDF) of Reynolds, and characterizes it as “a misuse of the grand jury process because it is aimed at invading the defense camp of the Schneiders,” otherwise known as a “fishing expedition.” It also reviews legal precedent regarding the “chilling effect” such prosecutorial misconduct has on Constitutionally protected speech.

ACLU also raises the specific issue of “the appearance of [prosecutorial] impropriety, if not the fact of it,” citing copious prior legal decisions (including USA. v Shaygan):

“It is additionally curious that AUSA Treadway is representing the government in both the Schneider case and the matter of the Reynolds/PRN subpoenas; if these subpoenas were indeed a bona fide use of the grand jury for an independent and legitimate investigation, it would seem the safest course, to avoid at least the appearance of impropriety if not the fact of it, to assign a different prosecutor to the grand jury matter.” (page 17)

The ACLU brief Argues (starting on page 4):

  1. “The Subpoenas Unjustifiably Invade Ms. Reynolds’ and PRN’s Freedoms of Speech and Association;”
  2. “The Subpoenas are Overbroad;”
  3. “The Subpoenas Are a Misuse of the Grand Jury Process To Circumvent Standard Criminal Discovery;”

and finally Concludes:

“On its face, AUSA Treadway’s fishing expedition appears to have the impermissible purpose of obtaining information about the Schneider’s defense. Therefore the subpoenas should be quashed as an abuse of the grand jury process.” (page 18)

Siobhan Reynolds’ Amended Motion to Quash Subpoenas
Bonney, Michelman, and Rorty; ACLU attorneys for Reynolds and PRN