A written motion filed by the government last week asked the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals to reject the amicus curiae briefs because they present â€œno new argumentsâ€ that had not been covered in the appeal filed by Sholom Mordechaiâ€™s attorneys.
The move stunned legal experts. ACLUâ€™s Wilson said he never encountered a case where the government refused to agree to the filing of an amicus curiae from the ACLU. Other experts consulted by this writer say they can find no precedent for the Department of Justice opposing a friend-of-the-court brief from any respected legal organization.
â€œAssuming for the sake of argument that the briefs present nothing new, they surely canâ€™t do any harm in that case. So why go to these unusual lengths to resist them?â€ asked the ACLU director.
He noted that something more serious is obviously at play. â€œThis is an effort to keep at bay issues that might discredit the government. They are trying to put the genie back in the bottle. But weâ€™re hoping to do just the oppositeâ€”we know there is more to discover and we need to bring that information out.â€
Advocacy Groups Tear Aside Veneer Of Legality
Joining the ACLU, two prominent legal and advocacy groups, WLF (Washington Legal Foundation) and NACDL (National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers) threw their support behind the appeal.
The WLF tore apart the veneer of legality masking Judge Readeâ€™s legal opinions, sacked her sentencing calculations, and accused her of violating the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Representing 18 prominent law professors, former federal judges and former prosecutors, the WLF urged that the case be remanded to a different judge for re-sentencing.
The ACLU highlighted Judge Readeâ€™s active participation with prosecutors before the raid on Agriprocessors, which included e-mails in which Reade asked for a â€œfinal game planâ€ for the raid and a â€œbriefingâ€ on the operation. The brief accused her of violating the Constitution by acting as an arm of the prosecution.
The NACDL brief harshly criticized this charade. It called attention to Readeâ€™s clear violation of ethical and legal guidelines in her repeated denials of wrongdoing and in insisting her behavior was above reproach.