[Ppnews] Grand Jury resister Jeff Hogg Denied Release

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Aug 16 13:49:12 EDT 2006


From: grandjury at lists.riseup.net


Jeff Hogg Denied Release

Today, in Eugene, Ore. Jeff Hogg appeared in federal court in front of
Judge Michael Hogan to present arguments for his release from jail.
Hogg has been jailed since May 18 for civil contempt, for refusing to
cooperate with a federal grand jury. This Grand Jury was empanelled to
investigate acts of eco-sabotage in the Northwest.

Hogg's attorney, Paul Loney, set out criteria which should be examined
by the judge when ruling whether continued jailing is coercive or has
become punitive in nature. The judge must consider factors such as the
amount of time the detainee has been jailed, the time remaining before
the grand jury expires, and alternative means for gaining the
information in question. If, upon considering such criteria, the judge
is convinced that a jailing is punitive and there is no reasonable
expectation that testimony can be coerced, the detainee must be
released. Loney argued that Hogg refuses to testify before a grand
jury due to strongly held principles and beliefs, and that Hogg sees
the current grand jury system as vulnerable to abuse.

Assistant US Attorney Stephen Peifer argued that the court has to
consider all circumstances and changes that have occurred during
Hogg's incarceration. He stated that although the grand jury was
scheduled to expire next month, there would be a MOTION NEXT WEEK TO
EXTEND THIS GRAND JURY TILL MARCH '07 (thereby implying that perhaps
more threatened time would change Jeff's mind.). Peifer stated that
six defendants are cooperating and have agreed to aid and assist
government prosecutions. Peifer also alleged that the grand jury is
not being used illegally as preparation for trial. Over the objections
of Paul Loney, who argued that there was no evidence for such
statements, Peifer made allegations against Hogg, and then offered
Hogg an "immunity bath" through grand jury testimony. To discredit the
many letters that Jeff's friends and family wrote on his behalf,
Peifer alleged that Hogg's supporters are actively trying to prevent
"snitches," and that the supporters' purpose is to interfere with the
"lawful job of the Grand Jury." Peifer even argued that to release
Hogg would somehow be to "reward" him.

Jeff Hogg took the stand and answered questions from Loney. Hogg
stated that he couldn't go against his beliefs by testifying before
the grand jury. He criticized the secret nature of grand juries, and
also that such proceedings do not allow a lawyer to be present. Hogg
outlined the harm that he had suffered through his incarceration?his
studies have suffered and he is in danger of being kicked out of
nursing school, his career may be jeopardized, and he was unable to
attend the funeral of his grandfather who died while he was in jail.
Hogg said that he had read all the letters sent on his behalf to the
court, and stated that some of the people he had known for ten or even
twenty years; the person who he had known for the shortest amount of
time was a co-worker who he had known for three. Hogg mentioned that
both Assistant US Attorney Engdall and Paul Caldwell of the FBI had
told him that they wanted him to testify at trial. Hogg stated that he
knew he wasn't protecting anybody by refusing to testify to the grand
jury.

In cross-examining Hogg, Peifer asked of Hogg's knowledge of the grand
jury system, mentioning that it is written into the constitution.
Peifer then asked Hogg whether he would testify before a grand jury if
he were the victim of a bank robbery. Hogg noted the hypothetical
nature of the question and that it was totally different from his own,
before stating that he might proceed differently in that circumstance.
Peifer attempted to use Hogg's response to his advantage, suggesting
that Hogg was not making an informed and principled stand at all.
Peifer then asked about the "solicitation" of letters in support of
Hogg from old friends, insinuating that there was something sinister
about this.

Following Hogg's testimony, Judge Hogan had an in camera (private, in
the judge's chamber) hearing with Peifer. Loney's motion to attend
this hearing was denied.

After the in camera hearing, Loney called Cecilia Story to testify.
Story has been Hogg's partner for five years, and the two have known
each other as friends for over a decade. On cross-examination, Story
was asked if attorney Lauren Regan solicited the letters of support
for Hogg. Cecelia testified that she herself had put out an appeal for
those who have known Hogg for years to write such letters, and that
her appeal was amplified by a support network for political prisoners
via the internet. She also stated that since Lauren Regan is the
executive director of the Civil Liberties Defense Center, and that her
partners' civil liberties were being threatened , that it would make
sense for Lauren to be concerned with helping Jeff. Story was asked
whether the support network considered Nathan Block and Joyanna Zacher
("Green Scare" defendants whose case is ongoing) to be political
prisoners, to which Cecilia replied her concern was with her partner's
freedom, and that political prisoner designation for others would
probably be determined after a trial had taken place. Peifer then
asked Cecelia if she knew Gumby Cascadia, asking whether Gumby
belonged to a "prisoner support network" soliciting help for
defendants. It appears the US attorney is trying to equate prisoner
support with "impeding an investigation".

Loney made his final arguments, stating that the legal matters
involved were quite clear. Any future motion to extend the grand jury
should be excluded from deliberation, as it has not happened yet.
Loney asked how Hogg could possibly be seen as being "rewarded" for
not testifying before the grand jury?his three months in jail are
simply not a reward of any type. Loney criticized government efforts
to "besmirch" his client. Loney stated that Hogg is not being used as
a tool of anybody. He argued that the grand jury is being used
improperly, and if there were new evidence, the proper procedure would
be to empanel a new grand jury. Loney argued that there are
alternative means the government could use to obtain the information
they require?there are six cooperating defendants and three
cooperating witnesses. Hogg has suffered from his incarceration, but
he has remained steadfast to his beliefs and there is no realistic
possibility that he will testify.

Peifer countered that the government was looking way beyond the Dibee
(et. al.) case and was not using the grand jury improperly. He also
stated that both Caldwell and Engdall were unavailable to respond to
Jeff Hogg's assertions about them.

Judge Hogan, noting that the situation was "melancholy," nevertheless
ruled for the government and for Hogg's continuing incarceration.
Hogan noted the changes in the Dibee case, including the pleas of six
defendants, as part of his rationalization. He dismissed arguments
that the grand jury was being used to preview trial testimony, and
instead sided with the government in its investigation beyond the
Dibee case. Hogan finally remarked that at some stage Hogg was
convinced of the need to not cooperate with the grand jury, but Hogan
didn't consider Hogg's case for relief to be sufficiently
demonstrated, and therefore Hogg's motion was denied.

PLEASE SEND URGENT LETTERS OF SUPPORT TO:

Jeff Hogg #1065518
101 W. 5th Ave.
Eugene, OR 97401

JEFF'S BIRTHDAY IS FRIDAY! LET'S FLOOD HIM WITH BIRTHDAY WISHES AND SUPPORT!!!

The Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 863-9977
www.freedomarchives.org 
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