Today, Jacob Sullum of Reason deals with a case against pain treatment activist Siobhan Reynolds in which she is being attacked by a federal prosecutor and federal judges simply for speaking out against the prosecution of Kansas pain doctor Stephen Schneider and his wife, Linda, both of whom were convicted and sentenced to what effectively were life sentences because the government thinks they wrote too many pain pill prescriptions.
The case by federal prosecutor Tanya Treadway was aimed at draining Reynolds of her money and forcing her to be silent, and it has worked well because, frankly, the First Amendment means nothing to prosecutors and judges. Furthermore, Treadway is working with someone else's money while Reynolds must spend her own, so it is not hard to see who wins the battle of resources.
Discouraging public dissent, of course, is how this case got started. Tanya Treadway, the assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted Stephen and Linda Schneider, was so irked by Reynolds' public defenses of the couple that she unsuccessfully sought a gag order telling Reynolds to shut up. Later Treadway initiated a grand jury investigation that resulted in subpoenas demanding documents related to Reynolds' activism as head if the Pain Relief Network (PRN), including a Wichita billboard defending the Schneiders and a PRN documentary about the conflict between drug control and pain control. Those subpoenas, supposedly aimed at finding evidence of obstruction of justice, are the subject of Reynolds' First Amendment challenge.While the New York Times' reporter Adam Liptak has taken a hard look at this case and found the court's actions wanting, don't look for his employer to take an editorial stand, especially against a Department of Justice (sic) that is part of the Regime of the Messiah Obama. No, the NYT saves its First Amendment appeals only when the paper and its political allies find themselves in a corner.
What Treaday is doing to Reynolds is brutal. Treadway won the case, but she wants to destroy Reynolds because, well, she can do it. And no one, no court will stop her because, after all, they're the government and we're not. Writes Sullum:
Liptak, who has seen part of the secret 10th Circuit order that keeps the amicus brief sealed, says one reason the appeals court gave for its decision is that allowing distribution of the brief would help I.J. (Institute for Justice) and Reason publicly make their case that Reynolds is being persecuted for exercising her First Amendment rights. One of their goals, the Court said, "is clearly to discuss in public amici's agenda." Obviously, we can't have that.No, we certainly cannot have that.