My name is Brittany Kenville. I have been subpoenaed as a witness to the grand jury convened in San Francisco in relation to events that took place in Santa Cruz, California in 2008. Grand juries exist to determine whether there is enough evidence for a person or persons to be indicted. Subpoenas are used to force the appearance at grand juries by anyone the prosecution feels may provide evidence in support of their case.
Grand juries operate in secrecy, and witnesses who choose to testify are not allowed to have a lawyer present when doing so. In cases like this, grand juries are used as a tool to strike fear in and intimidate activists, and also to neutralize them from action. They spread seeds of mistrust throughout activist movements, and they operate under the assumption that people in activist communities are inherently guilty by association. I am adamantly opposed to these proceedings. I believe that they are unjust and an appalling misuse of prosecutorial power. Using grand juries to harass activist communities does not serve justice, it is simply a means of political repression.
I have been working with an attorney, and I plan on exercising every right that I have in response to my subpoena. I have the complete, unfaltering support of my family, my friends and my fellow activists. I encourage anyone else who is subpoenaed to reach out, seek counsel, do research, and learn your rights in these proceedings. I hope everyone reading this will learn more about the grand jury system and join me in standing up against its use as a tool of harassment.
In solidarity, Brittany Kenville
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