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Pain Activist Facing Fines in Free Speech Case

The government's war against pain doctors hit a new low last spring, when federal prosecutor Tanya Treadway, busy prosecuting Kansans Steve and Linda Schneider, subpoenaed pain control advocate Siobhan Reynolds for information on the Pain Relief Network's (PRN) public advocacy in support of the Schneiders. Despite ACLU efforts to quash the subpoena as an attempt to shut down free speech, judge US District Judge Julie Robinson allowed it. Friday, according an update from Jacob Sullum on Reason, Robinson imposed a $200/day civil contempt fine on both Reynolds and PRN, to begin in 10 days if she does not comply with the subpoena. An appeal is planned -- stay tuned. Earlier in the week, Boston-based civil liberties attorney Harvey Silverglate criticized Treadway in a column in Forbes magazine. We reprint a few paragraphs, also via Sullum:
When Reynolds wrote op-eds in local newspapers and granted interviews to other media outlets, Assistant U.S. Attorney Tanya Treadway attempted to impose a gag order on her public advocacy. The district judge correctly denied this extraordinary request. Undeterred, Treadway filed on March 27 a subpoena demanding a broad range of documents and records, obviously hoping to deter the peripatetic pain relief advocate, or even target her for a criminal trial of her own. Just what was Reynolds' suspected criminal activity? "Obstruction of justice" is the subpoena's listed offense being investigated, but some of the requested records could, in no possible way, prove such a crime. The prosecutor has demanded copies of an ominous-sounding "movie," which, in reality, is a PRN-produced documentary showing the plight of pain physicians. Also requested were records relating to a billboard Reynolds paid to have erected over a busy Wichita highway. It read: "Dr. Schneider never killed anyone." Suddenly, a rather ordinary exercise in free speech and political activism became evidence of an obstruction of justice.
Wichita, KS
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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free speech

This case is being handled by the ACLU, so maybe we will see justice served. People in chronic pain need a forum to speak out against the injustice brought upon us by do-gooders who would throw the baby out with the bathwater. They do not know that studies have shown that true chronic pain patients rarely become addicted to their medication. The bad people are the drug abusers and addicts that come in and lie to the doctors to get the drugs. Then when the doctor is persecuted (prosecuted), the people seeing him for valid reasons lose their care. All too often, we have people against the treatment, who are so inclined, because they have lost a loved one from drug abuse and addiction. They want to blame the doctors and the medication. But, that just seems like typical behavior for the population of our country!. Full of people that want to blame every one else and not assume self responsibility!

It just looks like the government is going to shut us up, one way or the other. I understand both side of the problem. I was once a pain management doctor and also suffer from chronic pain, as does my father, sister, mother, and brother!

I, for one, hope Siobhan can keep up the good work. But, the government has probably figured out a way to bankrupt her and her good cause! I hope and pray the ACLU can win this victory! It is not justice that seeks to deny comfort to those who suffer from chronic intractable pain, 24/7! The deniers are our torturers!

Good write. Another darkside of MMJ vs. Recreational Use?

This story is, in my opinion, another good example of why the tax & regulate approach to marijuana reform is going to fail and have adverse effects long term! Trying to acheive de facto decrim., or legalization, for rec users by trying to make medical marijuana a panacea (right or wrong) sullies and corrupts a medical system mired by politics & culture. The system of forcing rec. users to get mmj cards to stay out of jail implies there is something wrong with being a normal responsible citizen exercising their rights... to choose a SAFER alternative.

I have a teenage nephew in CA that has his mmj card... for anxiety? Imagine a teenager w/anxiety! Now imagine that 6 of his normal teenage friends also have the same anxiety... then visit the same doctor... and naturally get the same prescription.. for just $200 a year? So now you have 7 normal teenagers going to a mmj dispensory, w/ smiles on their anxious faces, to buy overpriced recreational drugs! But, at least they have a doctors note... and a stay out of jail law? What could possibly go wrong with this system?

Like the poster above I fear this type of fraud will cont. to have serious repercussions for medical providers & the legitimate patients seeking to improve the quality of their lives.

Bottomline: By trying to force the 99% of the smokers that do it recreationally into the mmj system to avoid punishment is a failed strategy that may do more harm then good long term!

Choose Legality, Not Expediency,
Thomas Piane IVXX

B.S. I hope the ACLU prevails... the prosecutor(s) get punished... and the pain managers can go about their job... w/o the burden of discerning fraud and abuse!


This is one of the most egregious cases of Drug War thuggery I've seen in a while. Why isn't this thing getting more attention? Oh, I know all about how the media is controlled but this one isn't getting the attention it deserves here on the Web.

This brave woman needs our support! If we don't shine some light on this thing Treadway is going to get away with this. Unbelievable!

Thanks to Dave Borden for this exposure!

Agreed, but we shouldn't be too surprised...

Agreed, but we shouldn't be too surprised... by the tactics of these types of punishers.

We should all be screaming for Senator Webb to appoint 'special prosecutors' to the Justice Dept. to punish perjurors and investigate the legality & ethics of all those acting outside of the rule of law!


Tanya Treadwell is Harassing Siobhan Reynolds Because She Can

The feds never pick their fights fairly.  It’s part of their strategy.  Treadwell is a typical narcissistic grandstander with an agenda.  She thinks she runs the entire show.

No one prosecuted  John Lennon when he wrote and performed a song that freed John Sinclair from a 10-year prison term for handing a narc two joints.  If some twit of a federal prosecutor had charged Lennon and dozens of other musicians with obstruction of justice for their activism on behalf of Sinclair there would have been riots in the streets.  Or maybe I should say additional riots.  It was 1971.

Anyway, focusing public attention upon a public injustice is what free speech is all about.  We know what Tanya Treadwell fears most because she has demonstrated that fear to everyone by harassing Reynolds for her activism on behalf of pain management doctors.  Treadwell’s censorship will die with its exposure, and so will her case, and she knows it. The best strategy for Ms. Reynolds is to up-the-dosage of activism—with a little help from her friends, of course.


Agreed, but John Lennon was prosecuted by the u.s gov't!

JL may not have been persecuted for a particular song or act but the u.s. gov't did try to deport him for his anti-war stance.

There's a great documentary about it called 'The U.S. vs. John Lennon':

"It was when the Lennons moved to New York in the early '70s and took a more active role in the anti-war movement, making friends with radicals like Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, and Black Panther Party founder Bobby Seale, that the government got interested--and paranoid--and men like President Richard Nixon, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, and right-wing Sen. Strom Thurmond began actively looking for ways to silence him (it was Thurmond who came up with the deportation idea)." - Amazon

Of course the criminals in gov't were never prosecuted for this persecution... but that's how uncle scam operates... outside the rule of law... because they can!

You are absolutely right about Treadwell and her pathological criminal behavior... which is a prerequisite for the job me thinks.

The master is as weak as the slave,
Thomas Paine IVXX

B.S. John Sinclairs prosecution for 2 joints had more to do with his co-founding of the 'White Panthers' in 1968 then anything else... me thinks!

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