Since this post (about grand jury refusers who've been held without charges in federal detention for five months and solitary confinement since December) went up last Friday, people have been asking me variations on the question above: Who's in control of this situation and what can I do about it?
Answer to the first question: Judge Richard Jones sent Olejnik, Duran, and Pfeiffer to federal detention (and Leah-Lynn Plante, who's since been released) at the request of federal prosecutors and has the authority to end it. Warden Jack Fox is the boss over at SeaTac Federal Detention Center.
Answer to the second: I asked Jenn Kaplan and Kimberly Gordon, attorneys for Duran and Olejnik, what they thought people should do. They suggested writing letters to Judge Jones and Warden Fox.
"But (and this is important)," Gordon wrote, "we would ask that people not send their letters directly to the warden or the judge."
Instead, write letters to the warden and the judge, but send them to the attorneys. Their addresses—snail mail and email—are below the jump.
But first, Kaplan wrote an email describing what her client, Katherine Olejnik, is reporting from solitary:
Kim and I were just chatting with a Seattle Human Rights Commissioner about our clients being in the SHU ["special housing unit'], and it occurred to us that you and your readers might be interested in what conditions in the SHU are like.
It's pretty grim. My client reports being in a small cell constantly. She has a bed, a desk, and a chair. She is trying her best to exercise, but doesn't have enough space...
... and she bruised her back working out on the floor without a mat. She is offered exercise time once a week for an hour, but it's at 6 am, and she hasn't been given a jacket to wear in the yard, so it's too cold for her to be able to do it.
Besides that, she gets three showers a week. She is escorted to the shower in handcuffs with a two-person hold. She does not get to change her clothes between showers, so if she manages to exercise, she is stuck in sweaty clothes. She gets one ten-minute phone call per month. She has limited access to commissary items, and is only allowed to have two books in her cell at a time. She spends a lot of time pacing her cell because she runs out of reading material and doesn't have anything to do. It is a lonely, isolated, and frightening experience.
As for the letters, Gordon wrote: "We will be gathering the letters and when we approach the court and/or the warden, we will then be able to present them together."
Again, write letters to Judge Jones and Warden Fox but mail them to:
Counsel for Katherine Olejnik: Jennifer Kaplan 2003 Western Avenue, Suite 330 Seattle, WA 98121
I've emailed Pfeiffer's attorney, but haven't heard back yet.
One thing to remember if you write a letter—King County, with its relatively paltry resources (compared to the FBI) has managed to identify and indict five people for May Day-related vandalism.
What's taking the feds so long? And why do they need to grant immunity to Olejnik, Duran, and Pfeiffer, then throw them in prison, to finish an investigation that the county was able to pull off without this circus?
And why can't SeaTac FDC give the attorneys a satisfying explanation for why their clients are in solitary?