Balko has more; it’s yet another tale of goofball prosecutorial tomfoolery and law-enforcement vendettas against pain management people.
In this particular case, a Bush-appointed US Attorney is actively persecuting a third party for questioning her prosecution of a pain specialist.
Yeah, you read that right. She’s brought charges against someone for criticizing her, and has further managed to get the court to rule the whole thing is too sensitive to be public. How chilling is that?
The whole imbroglio started under Bush, but — as I noted when he was making those power grabs — the Executive branch almost never lets go of power, so the abuse has continued under Obama’s watch.
The case is now in front of SCOTUS. Balko quotes Jacob Sullum:
This level of secrecy, which the Associated Press says “has alarmed First Amendment supporters” who see it as “highly unusual” and “patently wrong,” is clearly not justified by the need to protect the confidentiality of grand jury proceedings. The 10th Circuit decided to seal even the Reason/I.J. amicus brief, which is based entirely on publicly available information. More generally, the gist of the case could have been discussed without revealing grand jury material, as Reynolds’ Supreme Court petition shows. Although the court-ordered redactions make the 10th Circuit’s reasoning as described in the petition hard to follow at times, the details generally can be filled in with information that has been reported in the press (which shows how silly the pretense of secrecy is). Furthermore, one of the main justifications for grand jury secrecy — that it protects innocent people who are investigated but never charged — does not apply in a case like this, where the target of the investigation wants more openness and it’s the government that is trying to hide information. As Corn-Revere argues, such secrecy turns the intended role of the grand jury on its head, making it an instrument of oppression instead of a bulwark against it…
I’d like to show you the Reason/I.J. brief defending Reynolds’ First Amendment rights, but I’m not allowed to!