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Indybay Feature
Sat May 23 2009 (Updated 07/14/09)
Motion Filed to Dismiss Indictment of the AETA 4
Rights Attorneys File Motion Saying AETA Indictment in Violation of First Amendment
On May 21st, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the Civil Liberties Defense Center (CLDC) joined in a defense attorneys’ motion in the U.S. District Court in San Jose to dismiss U.S.A. v. Buddenberg, a federal prosecution of four animal rights activists in California—known as the AETA 4—for alleged conspiracy to commit animal enterprise terrorism. The four have been charged with conduct that includes First Amendment protected activities such as protesting, chalking the sidewalk, chanting and leafleting. The motion asks the Court to strike down the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) as unconstitutional.

“To characterize protest and speech as terrorist activities is ludicrous,” said CCR cooperating attorney Matthew Strugar. “And it is not just animal rights activists who are in danger here. The AETA is so broad and unclear it could be used to suppress lawful protests and boycotts by any activists across the spectrum, no matter what the issue. The law must be struck down.”

Passed by Congress in November, 2006, the AETA is aimed at suppressing speech and advocacy by criminalizing First Amendment-protected activities such as protests, boycotts, picketing and whistleblowing. It targets animal rights activists, but includes language so broad and vague it could be used to prosecute labor activists who organize a successful boycott of Wal-Mart, or union folks who picket a university cafeteria. Pushed through Congress by a powerful lobby of corporations and research institutions, the AETA is an unconstitutional law, because it criminalizes a broad swath of protected First Amendment activities and is so unclear as to fail to give people notice of whether or not their conduct is lawful. imc_pdf.gif Read more

The Center for Constitutional Rights created an online petition for people to write their senator and representative to demand that they repeal the AETA.

see also: Obama administration targets environmental and animal rights activists as eco-terrorists | Government files responses to AETA4 motion to dismiss

Previous coverage: Activists Arrested for Chalking Sidewalks, Protesting with Bandanas, and Leaflet Distribution
06/10/19 Protesters Raise Awareness of Gun Violence with Walk Across Golden Gate Bridge Front Page | Health, Housing & Public Services | Anti-War | San Francisco | North Bay / Marin | U.S.05/10/19 Anti-Fur Activists Stage Bloody Fashion Show Outside Palo Alto Neiman Marcus Front Page | Peninsula | California | Animal Liberation05/10/19 Environmentalists, Fishermen, and Tribes Continue to Oppose Single Tunnel Plan Front Page | Environment & Forest Defense | Central Valley | California05/09/19 ILWU Longshore Workers & Truckers Challenge Oakland A's Billionaire Owner Front Page | Racial Justice | Labor & Workers | East Bay05/06/19 Let Us Live Coalition Pushes to Restrict Police Use of Deadly Force Statewide Front Page | Police State & Prisons | Racial Justice | East Bay | California | Government & Elections05/05/19 Dwindling Orcas Starving for Lack of Salmon, Being Hurt by Boats and Water Pollution Front Page | Environment & Forest Defense | San Francisco | Peninsula | North Coast | California | U.S. | Animal Liberation | Santa Cruz Indymedia05/04/19 Oakland Police Will No Longer Be Able Search Parolees & Probationers Without Cause Front Page | Police State & Prisons | Racial Justice | East Bay | Government & Elections05/04/19 Multiple California Businesses Flouting Law Forbidding Force-Feeding of Birds Central Valley | San Francisco | North Bay / Marin | California | Animal Liberation05/04/19 Authorities Fail to Enforce Animal Cruelty Laws Yet Prosecute Activists North Bay / Marin | Animal Liberation04/28/19 For Extinction Rebellion, Every Day is Earth Day Front Page | Environment & Forest Defense | Central Valley | San Francisco | Peninsula | California | Santa Cruz Indymedia04/12/19 Two-Week Celebration of Resistance Marks 50th Anniversary of People's Park Front Page | Police State & Prisons | Environment & Forest Defense | Health, Housing & Public Services | Education & Student Activism | East Bay

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