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Mon Jul 12 2010 (Updated 07/18/10)
AETA 4 Case Dismissed, But Re-Indictment Possible
Mon Jul 12 2010 (Updated 07/18/10)
Case of the AETA 4 Dismissed "Without Prejudice"
The U.S. District Court in San Jose, CA, has thrown out the indictment of four animal rights activists who were charged with violating the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, because the government did not clearly explain what, exactly, the protesters did.

When Joseph Buddenberg, Maryam Khajavi, Nathan Pope and Adriana Stumpo were arrested in 2009, prosecutors said little other than that the group allegedly chalked slogans on the sidewalk, distributed fliers and attended protests. Later, when they were officially indicted, the government was still tight-lipped about how their non-violent, above-ground protests amounted to “terrorism.”

In response, the Center for Constitutional Rights and attorney Matthew Strugar led an effort to have the indictments dismissed. In short, they argued that the charges should be dropped because they seem to involve only protected First Amendment speech, but that in order to make that argument the defendants’ speech must be clearly identified.

A court hearing scheduled for July 19th has been cancelled. However, the case is not over. The government can still re-indict the defendants with an amended bill of particulars that clearly outlines their alleged actions.

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