Michigan Attorney General Slaps Reporter With Bogus Subpoenas For Doing Her Job
from the abuse-of-power dept
Why is it always the state Attorneys General? Time and time again we see examples of state AGs who seem to think they’re above the law and can abuse their position to attack those they dislike. The latest? Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette. Apparently, he was none too happy that Huffington Post reporter Dana Liebelson was investigating juvenile prison conditions in the state, and had a representative from his office follow her for two hours across the state to slap her with two separate, but equally questionable, subpoenas, demanding all of her notes:
And she wasn’t the only one. Another report notes that Schuette also sent a subpoena to Michigan Radio, demanding its recording of a prisoner/attorney interview.
Of course, after Liebelson’s story started getting social media and press attention, Schuette’s office quickly backed down, and promised to rescind the subpoenas. The excuse given by his office, to MLive, is absolutely ridiculous:
A spokesperson for Schuette, responding to a request for comment, issued a statement indicating a civil service attorney had been “doing the department’s job of defending the state” from lawsuits.
The attorney “followed a common legal procedure” of subpoenaing information from individuals “entering Michigan prisons to speak to prisoners who are suing state taxpayers,” said spokesperson Andrea Bitely.
That makes no sense at all. Defending the state from lawsuits should never involve sending reporters subpoenas demanding all of their notes. It’s a clear intimidation technique that violates all basic concepts of a free and open press.