Tuesday, October 12, 2010

AccountibilityInTheMedia.com Reporter Responds to Subpoena

On Monday evening I submitted a written statement to the Mount Vernon Board of Education regarding the recent subpoena I received from the school board’s attorney Sarah Moore.

In the subpoena, Moore stated that it was for the federal case John Freshwater, et al., v. Mount Vernon City School District Board of Education, et al.

(Click here to view a copy my statement to the school board and a copy of the subpoena. 891 KB PDF.)

Below is a portion of my statement:

“I understand that attorney Moore has a job to do in defending the school district in the federal case. However, there is a difference between being thorough and casting such a wide net, while fishing for information, that one goes overboard. Attorney Moore’s actions appear to be the latter.

“What criteria did attorney Moore use in deciding to whom to send subpoenas? Has she also sent subpoenas to the Mount Vernon News, KnoxPages.com, 13WMVO or the countless television stations and other newspapers who have reported on the story involving Mr. Freshwater? Will she send subpoenas to every person who has ever blogged about the story, written a letter to the editor or spoken at a school board meeting?”

I wasn’t the only one that Moore sent a subpoena to recently. Among those that received a subpoena is Levi Stickle, who maintains the website cfacts.org.

Three people spoke to the school board during the public participation portion of Monday’s school board meeting. Two of the individuals spoke about the recent subpoenas.


(“Levi Stickle to school attorney: Why did you send me a subpoena?”)



(“Community member responds to proposed MVCS levy”)



(“William Pursel: Frivolous subpoenas”)


Moore has been sent a request for comment. If and when she replies this article will be updated with her response.

Also during Monday’s meeting, school board treasurer, Barbara J. Donohue, provided an update to the school board regarding the district’s five-year forecast. She provided information regarding the financial challenges facing the district due to budget cuts at the state level.

UPDATE 10-16-10:


Moore still has not responded to the request for comment.

Mount Vernon News reporter Pamela Schehl did not include any mention of the subpoenas in her coverage of the school board meeting. See her article “McKinley honored by MV school board.”

The managing editor for the News, Samantha Scoles, provided an explanation in an email to AccountabilityInTheMedia.com :

“The reason we have not reported on the public participation portion of the most recent school board meeting is because we were not in attendance. Our education reporter was attending a different school board meeting.

“When we do not attend meetings, we can call on board members, the treasurer or the superintendent for details of the meeting, which we did in this case. I believe we were provided with the statements made in regards to the Behind the Scenes Award.

“Therefore, without being present to hear the public comments, we cannot possibly report on those.”

In an email on Oct 12, Scoles had been provided with links to videos of the public comments and a copy of the written statement given to the school board.

UPDATE 10-20-10:

Dave Daubenmire, through his attorney, has submitted a motion to quash a subpoena sent to him by Moore. Below is a portion of the motion:

“After reviewing the subpoena, it is clear that the only purpose of the subpoena was to harass, embarrass, and incur expenses for a non-party witness, simply because he is a friend of one of the parties. The subpoena should be quashed in its entirety, and attorneys fees awarded to Mr. Daubenmire from the Defendant for the expense of obtaining counsel to respond to this harassing subpoena.”

A copy of the motion is posted on the website of the National Center for Science Education.

Richard Hoppe, who writes for pandasthumb.org, wrote about the recent subpoenas issued by Moore. Below is a portion of Hoppe’s post:

“Essentially the defense is asking for everything Sam [Stickle] has ever written on the web, whether public or in private, about Freshwater, Hamilton, and the Freshwater hearing. That’s a remarkable demand. It has the effect of bringing everything a private citizen has written about this affair into a federal court proceeding for no discernible reason beyond the defense’s hope that something, anything, will turn up. It is a chilling affront to the First Amendment rights of the Stickle brothers and to anyone else (what, who me?) who might have commented somewhere on the web about this specific affair or who might write a blog post or even comment on a discussion board about any legal proceeding.”

3 comments:

anonatheist said...

You're obviously not a reporter but clearly a right wing christian blogger with an agenda. Calling yourself a reporter is an insult to actual unbiased reporters. It's perfectly reasonable to think that because you are local and a supporter of Freshwater that you might have more information than you are letting on. After reading your previous posts I doubt you were honest enough to fully disclose everything. Your cognitive dissonance probably involves the false belief that Christians are persecuted. If you were to open your eyes to the nonsense taught in church you'd understand.

Talon5 said...

I see a lot of denials from Mr. Freshwater. I'm amazed by this. With all of the witnesses stating that he indeed tried to teach Intelligent design, that he did preach Christianity to students in his class, that he indeed burned the cross in the boy's arm...do you think all those people just made that stuff up??? Why would they do that.

I'm not opposed to religion of any sort. I am opposed to forcing it on shool children in direct violation of separation of church and state. It's AGAINST THE LAW - DON'T DO IT.

That's why we have freedom of religion, so people can believe whatever they want without being coerced by the government. The school systems are part of the government, therefore they have no business teaching religion of any kind, except for maybe colleges in a comparative religion course.

Sam Stickle (mountvernon1805) said...

Talon5 said “With all of the witnesses stating that he indeed tried to teach Intelligent design, that he did preach Christianity to students in his class, that he indeed burned the cross in the boy's arm”

Actually, that is not what the witnesses testified.

Check out the following posts:

Freshwater’s Closing Arguments: Allegations Unsubstantiated

Student Testimony—John Freshwater Addresses School Board

Tesla Coil Matter Was Officially Resolved January 2008

Also, see the articles in the archive for more information.

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