Balko on the the government’s pursuit of Siobhan Reynolds

Of course, the government doesn’t like a rabble rouser. It becomes especially wary of rabble rousers who begin to have some success. And so as Reynolds’ advocacy began to move the ball and get real results, the government bit back. When Reynolds began a campaign on behalf of Kansas physician Stephen Schneider, who had been indicted for overprescribing painkillers, Assistant U.S. Attorney Tonya Treadway launched a shameless and blatantly vindictive attack on free speech. Treadway opened a criminal investigation into Reynolds and her organization, likening Reynolds’ advocacy to obstruction of justice. Treadway then issued a sweeping subpoena for all email correspondence, phone records, and other documents that, had Reynolds complied, would have been the end of her organization. Treadway wanted records of Reynolds’ private conversations with attorneys, doctors, and pain patients and their families. It was unconscionable Here’s an activist advocating on behalf of suffering people, and the government comes along and demands she turn over accounts of her private conversations with those same people. (Some of whom undoubtedly sought out extra-legal ways to relieve their pain, since the government had made it impossible for them to legally find relief.)

So Reynolds fought the subpoena, all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. And she lost. Not only did she lose, but the government, with compliance from the federal courts, kept the entire fight secret. The briefs for the case are secret. The judges’ rulings are secret. Reynolds was barred from sharing the briefs she filed with the press. Perversely, Treadway had used the very grand jury secrecy intended to protect the accused to not only take down Reynolds and her organization, but to protect herself from any public scrutiny for doing so.

http://www.theagitator.com/2011/12/26/siobhan-reynolds-rip/

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  • Tom Cuddy

    pain patients are treated worse than anyone else in the US. What did they do to deserve it?

  • Ian MacLeod

    We need the opiate class of drugs to survive; the DEA and other government agencies MUST see them as “EVIL” because its use and their pursuit of users provide their LIVING. Going after REAL drug dealers and real addicts is DANGEROUS! Pain patients and pain docs, though, didn’t know they were doing anything illegal. Well, they WEREN’T. They don’t shoot DEA agents, the patients just die. Or just lie on the bed or couch because they CAN’T move. Fight back? With what?

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Henry C Alphin Jr
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