Josh Wolf to Become Longest Jailed Journalist in United States History

SAN FRANCISCO – Unless released from 'coercive confinement' by Tuesday, February 6th, Josh Wolf will become the longest incarcerated journalist for contempt in United States History. Wolf was found in contempt of a federal grand jury on August 1st, 2006 for refusing to provide testimony and unpublished video footage of a 2005 political protest in San Francisco's Mission District. He was sent to federal prison in Dublin, California.

The 24-year-old independent journalist has shown no signs of wavering in his refusal to comply with the federal grand jury that subpoenaed him one year ago. On January 22nd attorneys for Wolf filed a Grumbles Motion to the effect that his continued imprisonment amounts to punishment not coercion since Wolf has proved to be incoercible. The motion for release from non-coercive confinement was denied by U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup.

Martin Garbus, attorney for Wolf, has said that Wolf's "commitment to principle should be rewarded and not punished. He is a fine young man; a journalist in the best tradition. His continued imprisonment is a violation of both the first amendment and Josh's constitutional rights."

Representatives of the Free Josh Wolf Coalition have been in Washington D.C. for the past week lobbying members of Congress to call for Wolf's release. Their plea follows on the heels of recent requests by Speaker Pelosi, Senators Boxer and Feinstein, and Representatives Conyers and Davis that Attorney General Gonzales rescind subpoenas of San Francisco Chronicle writers Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada.

A press conference is scheduled at noon on Tuesday, February 6th on the front steps of San Francisco City Hall. Representatives of the independent and mainstream media as well as free press advocates and government officials will continue the call for Wolf's release.

WHAT: Free Josh Wolf Coalition Press Conference

WHEN: Tuesday, February 6th, Noon

WHERE: 1 Carlton B. Goodlett Place, San Francisco

WHO:

  • Pueng Vongs, Society of Professional Journalists
  • Bruce Brugmann, San Francisco Bay Guardian
  • David Greene, First Amendment Project
  • Michael Cabanatuan, Northern California Media Workers Guild
  • Ross Mirkarimi, San Francisco Supervisor
  • Carlos Villarreal, National Lawyers Guild
  • Kevin Epps, Filmmaker
  • Sarah Olson, Journalist and Radio Producer
  • Andy Blue, Free Josh Wolf Coalition
  • Statement from Assemblyman Mark Leno