National Lawyers Guild Atlanta, NLG International Committee and NLG National hosted a discussion on Monday, September 25: “Understanding the RICO Indictments Against Stop Cop City Activists.” Panelists and moderators were Stanley Cohen, Devin Franklin, Mo Meltzer-Cohen, Don Samuel and Azadeh Shahshahani, and the webinar was hosted by Suzanne Adely, Susi Durán and Sarina Larson. A Guild note will be forthcoming shortly with a full report on the event!
Watch the video:
We’re sharing a few useful definitions and links that were shared in the chat during the event, but more details and resources will be available in the report:
- Join and get involved with the National Lawyers Guild, at https://nlg.org/join
- To make a donation to the NLG, please visit our website: https://www.nlg.org/donate/
- To find out more about the International Committee, please visit https://nlginternational.org
- If you are a lawyer interested in supporting the Southern Center for Human Rights’ First Amendment Lawyer Bridge, please contact SCHR firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about the Southern Center for Human Rights at https://schr.org
- The defense fund to support lawyer pairing for Stop Cop City activists: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/atllegalfund
- If you want to support with current research efforts, please reach out to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
- You can join Project South as a member or donate to their work at https://projectsouth.org/membership/
- Read the indictment here: https://bit.ly/atlantadocument
- Georgia RICO: https://law.justia.com/codes/georgia/2021/title-16/chapter-14/
Legal and specialized terminology used in the webinar, and resources circulated by attendees:
- Younger abstention means that federal courts should abstain from cases that are pending in state proceedings (can be avoided by doctrine of futility). It refers to Younger v. Harris , 401 U.S. 37 (1971).
- “Gives no notice” means this: a law has to be written in a way that a regular person would know what it makes illegal and the DT statute doesn’t
- “Overt acts” in a RICO indictment do not necessarily have to be criminal. However, “predicate acts” alleged in the RICO count must be criminal.
- FTO is a designated “Foreign Terrorist Organization.” A list of these is at: https://www.state.gov/foreign-terrorist-organizations/
- One major case related to FTOs and “material support” law is Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, 561 U.S. 1 (2010): https://charityandsecurity.org/litigation/hlp/
- The “Brandenburg test” is the standard used to evaluate First Amendment cases. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brandenburg_v._Ohio. It takes its name from Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 us 444 (1969)
- Mojahedin e-Khalq, an organization that was previously FTO listed and then allied with the US government, here: https://theintercept.com/2020/03/22/mek-mojahedin-e-khalq-iran/
- “JTTF” is the Joint Terrorism Task Force
- GILEE (Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange) is housed at Georgia State University! https://georgiastatesignal.com/an-introduction-recent-events-and-student-opposition/ https://georgiastatesignal.com/understanding-gilee/
- “301.4” means you get a sentencing enhancement that makes you have more years in prison
- “Levels” are related to the federal sentencing guidelines that give judges rules about how many years people should get in prison based on their criminal history.
- “Sui generis” means special and unique, i.e., “they’re making it up”
- Upcoming mobilization that many people are participating in: https://blockcopcity.org and had questions about the effect of these indictments.