Grand Jury Resister Jerry Koch is Free

On Tuesday, January 28th, anarchist grand jury resister Gerald “Jerry” Koch was released from the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan. Koch’s release comes over eight months after his imprisonment for refusing to testify before a grand jury convened under the auspices of investigating the so-called bicycle bomber case.

Imprisonment for civil contempt in order to coerce someone to testify is, according to the state, not supposed to be punitive. When it becomes punitive and loses any coercive power, the individual must be released (or so goes the argument). The content of the motion filed by Jerry’s legal support argues that the function of Jerry’s imprisonment—to coerce him to testify before the grand jury, was failing and in fact had become merely punitive. Based on the above quote, judge Keenan agreed. And this is the basis of the judge’s decision to release Jerry.

Judge Keenan’s decision also reveals the importance of outside support. Articles written about Jerry, letters written on his behalf, and even an online petition cumulatively added to the strength of the motion filed on his behalf. Strong solidarity from family and friends positively contributed to Jerry’s release.

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