Shafer’s attorney appeals revocation of his pretrial release
Attorneys for Justin Shafer have appealed the revocation of his pretrial release.
As regular readers of this site likely know already, Shafer has been in jail since April on charges of cyberstalking an FBI agent and the agent’s family. Those cyberstalking charges have nothing to do with three FBI raids conducted on Shafer prior to his tweets complaining about the FBI agent. Yes, you read that correctly: the FBI had conducted THREE raids on Shafer and had not charged him criminally with anything. The only thing he has been charged with is unkind words after he and his family were repeatedly harassed. Well, that’s how I’d describe it. Here’s how his lawyers described it:
The government accuses Justin Mark Shafer of putting an FBI agent and his wife in substantial emotional distress and publishing restricted information about that FBI agent with the intent to incite violence against him. But nowhere in the record, or in the discovery in this case, is there any true threat of violence against anyone. There is no explicit language articulating any kind of threat. The “restricted” information in question was a prior home address for the FBI agent, publicly available on the internet. This entire case is built on innuendo and speculation that withstands neither constitutional nor statutory scrutiny. It is a chilling example of federal law enforcement overreach, and has serious ramifications for constitutional free speech and due process in relation to the internet and computer law. If the government’s accusations in this case are a crime, then millions of social media using Americans are subject to the prosecutorial whim of the Department of Justice.
You can read the entire motion here (pdf). As you read the motion, note not only the constitutional issues raised by counsel, but how Shafer’s wife and children were treated – and traumatized by these experiences.
DataBreaches.net spoke with Shafer’s wife several days ago. She informed this blogger that she and their three children have all been seriously impacted psychologically by the FBI’s raids. “We’re okay,” she said, but “any time the doorbell rings, I point my finger and the kids run to the back of the house. My heart starts racing any time the doorbell rings. I can’t handle it… I am having panic attacks.”
According to Mrs. Shafer, their daughter is only first beginning to sleep in her own bed again since being traumatized by the May, 2016 raid.
“These were full-blown raids,” Shafer’s wife told me. “You would have thought someone murdered someone.”
The motion notes that at least one of the raids was totally unnecessary and the FBI could have simply called Shafer’s lawyer and asked him to have his client turn himself in. Had the FBI done that, Shafer’s young children would not have been exposed to yet more stress and trauma. Why didn’t the FBI do that?
Update: I have uploaded Jennifer Shafer’s declaration, here (pdf).