Grand Jury Reflections with Lindsay Parme
from No Compromise Issue 22
 

 

When subpoenaed to a Grand Jury, there are different options an activist may take. You can refuse to appear and risk arrest, or you can appear and follow the instructions for dealing with a grand jury (on page_).
Two FBI agents came to my work in January and served me with a subpoena to testify before a grand jury later that month. I knew that I would never testify, but the decision to go or not was a little bit harder to make. I was not sure if I wanted to risk going to jail for simply not showing up. But for me personally, I simply could not bring myself to go out of my way to comply with the subpoena when the process of the Grand Jury is so unjust.
On June 12, I was finally arrested for refusing to appear before a Federal Grand Jury. The U.S. Marshals brought me before a Judge, who ordered that I be extradited back to New Jersey. There was a possibility at that time that I could have been released on bail, but I decided not to pursue it. Doing so would have put a burden on my friends and family to put up the bail, instead of leaving the burden with the government by forcing them to bear the cost of holding me prisoner and transporting me across the country.
While in federal custody I was denied vegan food, flown all over the country on “Con Air” in shackles and held in six different county jail and federal facilities in three weeks, before I was finally brought before a Federal Magistrate in New Jersey. During the week-long process of my transport, I was held in solitary confinement without the ability to make phone calls, even to my lawyer.
During my time in custody I received support from people around the world. I was especially excited to hear about ALF actions against Legacy in Oklahoma! Demonstrations also happened in front of the jail and courthouse, protesting my incarceration. Other protests targeted HLS executives and Whole Foods for selling Grimaud duck meat. A nationwide protest was scheduled to happen July 3 to coincide with my appearance in front of the Grand Jury.
On July 2, I was brought before the Grand Jury. Immediately I was told that I had a flight scheduled for 4pm, and that I would be leaving as soon as possible. They seemed extremely eager to get me out of there before the protests could happen. The US Attorney asked me around twenty questions-I pleaded the fifth to all of them. I was then promptly released and given a plane ticket home.
Even though being in jail messed up my plans for the summer, I have no regrets. In similar circumstances I would fight it just as hard. There is no excuse for ever testifying in front of a Grand Jury. Nothing they can ever do to us can come close to matching what’s done to the animals every day.