Support Kevin Johnson

Send Kevin Birthday Wishes

On March 27, Kevin turns 28 years old. Sadly, he’ll be spending it in prison. This case has always had a pathetic irony to it—that people accused of freeing innocent lives could wind up spending a significant amount of their own years behind bars. But the backwardness and injustice becomes especially apparent when our friend spends another holiday or birthday locked up.

Please help raise Kevin’s spirits by sending him books from his wish list, donations to the commissary fund, or just a simple letter of support. (Birthday cards are also allowed and encouraged!) Letter-writing events, benefit concerts or dinners, and solidarity demos are also great ways to show Kevin, Tyler, and the rest of the activist community that you stand with them and the animals. (If you do an event or demo, please send Kevin a photo. He loves them, and his fellow inmates are always impressed with how “famous” he must be on the outside.)

Thanks for doing everything you’ve done already. Please keep up your support and activism—it does have a huge impact.

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Please send Kevin a letter of support:
(Note: Kevin Johnson is his legal name.)

KEVIN JOHNSON 47353-424
MCC Chicago
Metropolitan Correctional Center
71 West Van Buren Street
Chicago, IL 60605

Tyler Lang was released from state custody in November 2013. He is currently out on bond awaiting trial on the federal charges.

American Mink

Judge denies motion to dismiss AETA charges, statement from Kevin

Unfortunate news.

This week, the judge in Tyler Lang and Kevin Olliff’s case issued her ruling, declining to strike down the Animal Enterprise Act on Constitutional grounds. The case will continue on it’s present course, with Tyler and Kevin charged under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act for allegedly freeing mink.

Kevin’s statement on this development is below.

Because case law occurs at the appellate level, the opportunity for long-lasting change—and a complete overturning of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act—is unaffected.

Regrettably, the short-term victory of throwing out the current charges against Tyler & Kevin was not won this week.

One important interpretation was expressed by the judge, that the AETA should only be applied to damage of actual property, not the general loss of profits. This has powerful implications for some of the most extreme concerns about possible applications of the AETA.

Kevin statement on the ruling is posted here, in full:

Though nobody is happy about this decision, Tyler and I will be okay. The most important thing to remember is that we will finally have a chance to test the law in the appellate courts, which is where these things are decided anyway. I personally will accept no resolution to this case that limits our right to appeal on this matter.

Additionally, I haven’t even had a chance yet to read Judge St. Eve’s decision, but to my knowledge, her interpretation limits the AETA so that it cannot be applied to loss of profits, only to tangible property. Thus, everyone out there claiming that you can get federal charges for organizing a protest or chalking the sidewalk no longer has any basis for that claim. And everyone else no longer has any excuse not to get in the streets and get busy for the animals.

This is left in the hands of the courts. Meanwhile, what remains in our hands is the ability to take action for the things we believe in, and no legislation or indictment must be permitted to divert us from that task.

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Please send Kevin a letter of support:
(Note: Kevin Johnson is his legal name.)

KEVIN JOHNSON 47353-424
MCC Chicago
Metropolitan Correctional Center
71 West Van Buren Street
Chicago, IL 60605

Tyler Lang was released from state custody in November 2013. He is currently out on bond awaiting trial on the federal charges.

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Wrap up: Thursday’s court hearing on the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act

After the Thursday’s landmark hearing in which the court heard arguments on the Constitutionality of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, Kevin wrote this summary of the day:

“It has been incredibly inspiring in the past week to see so many people standing up and demonstrating their refusal to be silenced – in this way, we show that laws like AETA will have an effect directly opposite to their intent.

As for court, I have been asked to offer a brief summary of my perspective. Rachel Meeropol, of the Center for Constitutional Rights, argued on our behalf against the AETA. Rachel owned the courtroom, coming across as scholarly, appealing, painfully intelligent, and as knowing the cases and issues seemingly by memory. AUSA Biesenthal, despite a bizarrely and inappropriately competitive style of elocution (“they lose”), was also very prepared. The Honorable Judge Amy St. Eve appears to be considering the matter in a genuinely balanced and thorough manner. It seems that she does not find terrorism to be an operative concept to describe the actions in this case. However, that is no indication that she will determine that AETA is unconstitutional. Statutes are rarely stricken down as unconstitutional at this district level within the federal court system.

For those seeking further detail as to the legal issues at hand, I refer them to the briefs available on the CCR website. Thanks to the talent and genius of our attorneys, argumentation on this law is touching on and testing long-established legal concepts in new and interesting ways. Highlights Thursday included Government assertions that throwing a rock at a Whole Foods is reasonably deemed terrorism; that liberating mink is “dangerous to human life” (some very vicious mink, indeed); and that “Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act” is not technically the title of the statute – the statute merely states that it shall be referred to in this way – and so the Government is not calling us terrorists. A friend summarized the Government’s substantive due process argument as such: “We won’t call them terrorists, but the BOP will, but just for the record they kind of seem like terrorists anyway.” Most personally distressing was hearing my name deliberately blurred with those internet revolutionaries who propagate ill-advised fantasies of violence in our movement, a position that I stringently oppose.

Many people showed up to hear the arguments – it was so packed that some were forced to wait outside. I cannot tell you how much this means to someone in my position. Thank you all.

Never let them scare you.

Kevin”

The judge stated she would reach a decision by March 25th.

***

Please send Kevin a letter of support:
(Note: Kevin Johnson is his legal name.)

KEVIN JOHNSON 47353-424
MCC Chicago
Metropolitan Correctional Center
71 West Van Buren Street
Chicago, IL 60605

Tyler Lang was released from state custody in November 2013. He is currently out on bond awaiting trial on the federal charges.

Sept2014-2

Legal Arguments & the Movement #AgainstTheAETA

A massive show of support in the courtroom & beyond

Yesterday in Chicago, the defense team presented their much-anticipated arguments to dismiss federal charges against Kevin and Tyler. (For background, read The Guardian’s excellent article prefacing the proceedings.) This post is simply meant to highlight how much support was shown in that courtroom yesterday, in the weeks running up to these arguments, and in the last year and a half of this legal ordeal.

Simply put, we successfully packed the court. Activists from New York, Indiana, Missouri, Southern Illinois, and Wisconsin were there along with more supporters from Chicago—some of these people know Kevin and Tyler, and others only know of them through this case. During the Global Week of Action Against the AETA, photos of protest against this law and support of Kevin and Tyler came in from around the world: France, Turkey, Canada, and U.S. cities coast to coast. And since Kevin and Tyler were first arrested in Illinois two summers ago, animal activists from nearly every continent have written letters, made donations, sent books, shared stories on social media, and made this case their own. The take-away? People are galvanizing around these two young men and everything their case represents. Most importantly, people are coming together to show the animal exploitation industry and repressive governments that they have a committed global movement to deal with…

More than anything, Kevin and Tyler have tried to emphasize that, as much as they love and appreciate everything all of you have done for them, they always want the focus to remain on the countless animals who get so little attention from the rest of the world. Remember, liberation is love.

In Kevin’s own words

It’s been incredibly uplifting in the past week to see so many people inspired to stand up and demonstrate their refusal to be silenced. In this way, we show that laws like AETA will have an effect directly opposite to their intent.

Many people showed up to hear the arguments—it was so packed that some were forced to wait outside. I cannot tell you how much this means to someone in my position. Thank you all.

Never let them scare you.

What’s next in the case

Judge St. Eve has set another status hearing for March 24. She plans to deliver a written decision on the motion to dismiss Kevin and Tyler’s case on that day. We’ll have further updates as we learn more.

***

Please send Kevin a letter of support:
(Note: Kevin Johnson is his legal name.)

KEVIN JOHNSON 47353-424
MCC Chicago
Metropolitan Correctional Center
71 West Van Buren Street
Chicago, IL 60605

Tyler Lang was released from state custody in November 2013. He is currently out on bond awaiting trial on the federal charges.

IATF Benefit

Benefit for Kevin & Tyler in NYC: ‘If a Tree Falls’ Screening

Friends and supporters at NYC ABC are hosting a benefit for Kevin and Tyler, screening the appropriate and important If a Tree Falls. Whether you’ve already seen this documentary or not, if you’re in New York, please be sure to attend.

Here’s info from the Facebook event page:

If a Tree Falls Screening & Benefit
Friday, February 13 | 8–11 PM
The Base | 1302 Myrtle Ave., Brooklyn 11221

NYC Anarchist Black Cross (NYC ABC) presents:

A benefit for AETA defendants Kevin Olliff & Tyler Lang.
Film screening of ‘If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front’

Entrance is free but we will be requesting donations for Kevin and Tyler’s legal defense fund.

Tyler Lang and Kevin Olliff are two animal rights activists who, in 2013, were arrested in Illinois for “possession of burglary tools.” After a traffic stop, cops allegedly found bolt cutters, muriatic acid, ski masks, and camouflage clothing in the car. Tyler pleaded to 3 months time served while Kevin received a 30 month sentence in state prison. In July 2014, both were indicted under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) and are accused of liberating animals from fur farms in 3 different states. They face up to 10 years in prison.

We will be screening If A Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front, a film that focuses on our friend and New Yorker, Daniel McGowan. He was arrested in 2005 by federal agents in a nationwide sweep of radical environmentalists involved with the Earth Liberation Front– a group the FBI has called America’s “number one domestic terrorism threat.” The ELF operates in separate anonymous cells without any central leadership and launched spectacular actions against dozens of environmentally destructive businesses: timber companies, SUV dealerships, wild horse slaughterhouses, and a $12 million ski lodge in Vail, Colorado.

After the film, there will be time for questions and answers with special guests, including Rachel Meeropol (CCR attorney on Kevin and Tyler’s legal team) and Jenny Synan. NYC ABC will have a table with information and merchandise on political prisoners.

For more information:
http://supportkevinandtyler.com
nycabc.wordpress.com

Directions to The Base:
From the M Train:
Central Avenue Stop: Walk east on Myrtle Avenue (away from Hart Street, toward Cedar Street). We’re about two blocks down on the south side of the street.

Knickerbocker Avenue Stop: Walk west on Myrtle Avenue (away from Harman Street, toward Himrod Street). We’re about three blocks down on the south side of the street.

From the L Train:
DeKalb Avenue Stop: Walk south on Stockholm Street (away from Wyckoff Avenue, toward Irving Avenue). We’re about four blocks down, at the intersection of Stockholm Street and Myrtle Avenue.

From the J Train:
Myrtle Avenue Stop: Transfer to the M train and follow the above directions.

 

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Please send Kevin a letter of support:
(Note: Kevin Johnson is his legal name.)

KEVIN JOHNSON 47353-424
MCC Chicago
Metropolitan Correctional Center
71 West Van Buren Street
Chicago, IL 60605

Tyler Lang was released from state custody in November 2013. He is currently out on bond awaiting trial on the federal charges.

courtroom_la_20140529102126302[1]

Court date set for AETA arguments

After months of motions, a court date has finally been set to hear arguments on Motion to Dismiss based on the Constitutionality of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. This will be a landmark court battle for both activists and the US Constitution.

This hearing is especially historic because it is the first time a judge will be ruling on the portion of the AETA that makes it a crime to cause a loss of property/profit.

Arguments will be heard at 10am on February 19th, 2015 at 219 South Dearborn Street, Chicago Illinois.

All supporters wearing court-appropriate attire are encouraged to attend.

 

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Please send Kevin a letter of support:
(Note: Kevin Johnson is his legal name.)

KEVIN JOHNSON 47353-424
MCC Chicago
Metropolitan Correctional Center
71 West Van Buren Street
Chicago, IL 60605

Tyler Lang was released from state custody in November 2013. He is currently out on bond awaiting trial on the federal charges.

mailtoInmate[1]

Kevin now has email access

With Kevin’s move to a federal facility in downtown Chicago, there is one major perk: He has email access.

To correspond with Kevin via email, please send him a letter with your email address. He can then add you to his account and correspond over email.

So please take a minute and send Kevin your email address:

KEVIN JOHNSON 47353-424
MCC Chicago
Metropolitan Correctional Center
71 West Van Buren Street
Chicago, IL 60605

And please check out Kevin’s updated book wish list with new books and magazines.

***

Please send Kevin a letter of support:
(Note: Kevin Johnson is his legal name.)

KEVIN JOHNSON 47353-424
MCC Chicago
Metropolitan Correctional Center
71 West Van Buren Street
Chicago, IL 60605

Tyler Lang was released from state custody in November 2013. He is currently out on bond awaiting trial on the federal charges.

MCC Chicago

Kevin Moved to MCC Chicago

Kevin was transferred this weekend to Metropolitan Correctional Center, a federal facility in Chicago. This move is actually bound to be better overall for Kevin, as he’ll have cheaper commissary, better quality vegan meals, much more generous visitation rules, and access to a variety of reading materials (e.g., magazines).

Kevin and Tyler’s case is, of course, still being fought. Because the prosecution won their motion to deny Kevin bail on the AETA indictment, we don’t know how much longer he’ll be in custody. Being kept in this limbo has been hard on him, but in true Kevin fashion, he’s managed to keep a good perspective on the situation and an optimistic spirit.

What’s helped Kevin through this long and uncertain period has been your support. So please take a moment to send him a book, a letter, or a donation. And spread the word about his and Tyler’s case—this is an historic moment for the animal rights movement and for activists all over the country.

How to Send Kevin a Book
  • IMPORTANT: All books must be sent from the publisher, Amazon, or BarnesandNoble.com.
  • It’s not clear yet whether Kevin can receive hardcover books, so until we find out, please make sure any books sent are paperback only.
  • Magazines are allowed—if you’re a magazine or zine publisher, please feel free to send Kevin copies of your publication.

Address book orders to the following:

KEVIN JOHNSON 47353-424
MCC Chicago
Metropolitan Correctional Center
71 West Van Buren Street
ChicagoIL  60605

How to Send Kevin a Letter
  • The usual general rules for inmate mail apply at MCC Chicago: don’t send anything that could be construed as pornographic, threatening, or otherwise problematic to the people who inspect the mail. And remember your correspondence will be monitored by the prison.
  • Computer print-outs are allowed and are really appreciated by Kevin. He likes to keep up on what’s happening in the news and in the movement.
  • There is no limit on pages that can be sent—but use good sense and remember that your mail can be rejected.

Address letters to the following:

KEVIN JOHNSON 47353-424
MCC Chicago
Metropolitan Correctional Center
71 West Van Buren Street
ChicagoIL  60605

***

Please send Kevin a letter of support:
(Note: Kevin Johnson is his legal name.)

KEVIN JOHNSON 47353-424
MCC Chicago
Metropolitan Correctional Center
71 West Van Buren Street
Chicago, IL 60605

Tyler Lang was released from state custody in November 2013. He is currently out on bond awaiting trial on the federal charges.

pln

Lawsuit filed against jail over illegal mail policy

After an illegal magazine policy, the Prison Legal News files lawsuit against Kevin Olliff’s jail.

Many, many jails have been sued over their refusal to allow magazines to prisoners. However many jails still refuse to allow periodicals, in flagrant violation of constitutional law that has been tested in the courts time and time again. Kankakee County Jail is  the latest jail to be taken to court for

The power of the Prison Legal News

PLN is a long-running publication that reports on the legal issues for prisoners. They also sue a lot of jails for illegal policies. And many jails nationwide are aware that they are not to be messed with.

Kankakee County Jail caught attempt to skirt the law in plain sight

What’s noteworthy about Kankakee County Jail’s magazine policy is that it prohibits all magazines – except Prison Legal News. This is a fairly open attempt to appease an entity they know won’t hesitate to sue any jail. What this jail didn’t consider is that PLN is concerned with the rights of prisoners beyond just their access to the magazine they publish. That this jail allowed a publication from the one magazine they knew would sue them – and no others – is a clear indication that Kankanee County Jail knew their policy was illegal.

Jail responds by immediately allowing magazines

Immediately after the lawsuit was filed, the jail distributed copies of a single magazine that was mailed to over 20 prisoners. It is another indication the jail knows they are not on solid legal footing by barring magazines.

We will post any updates on the lawsuit as they come in.

 

 

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Please send Kevin a letter of support:
(Note: Kevin Johnson is his legal name.)

KEVIN JOHNSON 47353-424
MCC Chicago
Metropolitan Correctional Center
71 West Van Buren Street
Chicago, IL 60605

Tyler Lang was released from state custody in November 2013. He is currently out on bond awaiting trial on the federal charges.

Officer1-1[1]

Warrants sought for cell phone, more

Three brief updates on Kevin & Tyler’s case.

1. Government granted extension to reply to Animal Enterprise Terrorism challenge

This week, prosecutors were granted an extension to reply to a motion filed by Kevin’s attorneys to void the Animal Enterprise Terrorism charges on Constitutional grounds. They now have until December 31st to respond.

2. A terrorism expert and professor from Western New England School of Law was recently granted a request to file an amicus brief on behalf of Kevin & Tyler. Her brief was subsequently rejected by the judge.

3. After the government announced they were looking into activity on two cell phones confiscated from the vehicle at the time of Kevin & Tyler’s arrest, recently the government has announced they are seeking a warrant to identify activity on a third phone they believe belongs to Tyler Lang. This phone was not found in the vehicle, but has recently become an item of interest in the investigation. The government is seeking to learn information on phones called by this third phone. as well as geolocation activity revealing where the phone was during around the time of various mink farm raids. .

 

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Please send Kevin a letter of support:
(Note: Kevin Johnson is his legal name.)

KEVIN JOHNSON 47353-424
MCC Chicago
Metropolitan Correctional Center
71 West Van Buren Street
Chicago, IL 60605

Tyler Lang was released from state custody in November 2013. He is currently out on bond awaiting trial on the federal charges.