04 February, 2007

Josh Wolf: patriot

"We need those who provoke us so that we may be warned of the fate that our prejudices or ignorance or wishful thinking may hold in store for us."
William O. Douglas, former U.S. Supreme Court justice, 1962

At a hearing last week a federal judge refused to release Josh Wolf from prison. His lawyer argued "that imprisonment would never have its intended effect of coercing him into relinquishing the tape and that it had crossed the line into criminal punishment. He also noted that authorities dropped charges this month against the only suspect in the police car vandalism."

The judge, however, denied his release Tuesday, citing a prosecutor's statement that Wolf's lawyer, Martin Garbus, had offered to turn over the tape in exchange for a promise that Wolf would not have to identify anyone who appeared on it.

"This reveals a realistic possibility that Mr. Wolf's confinement may be having its coercive effect," [U.S. District Judge William ] Alsup said.

But Garbus said in a court filing Tuesday that prosecutors misrepresented his proposal, which was only made to gauge their interest in such a deal. Garbus said that Wolf never agreed to it and that Wolf has remained unwilling to testify or release the tape.
This means that on Tuesday, Feb. 6, the 24 year old video journalist/blogger will have been imprisoned longer than any other journalist in US history for his failure to comply with a subpoena. The grand jury doesn't expire until July, and could be extended another 6 months. More details about his case at: free press? why Josh Wolf sitting in prison matters.


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