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First Published Saturday, 5th April, 2008.

WITHOUT JUST CAUSE


When Kathleen Seidel, owner of the Neurodiversity website and blog, was served with a subpoena a week ago, understandably, it didn’t take long for a mammoth rush of support to follow. Words of outrage over the injustice and intimidatory nature of the action, brought condemnation from members of the neurodiverse community far and wide, as well as Doctors and Lawyers themselves. I say understandably, since Kathleen has long set the standard in regard autistic advocacy, and has provided us with a stunning array of online resources and the latest on disability issues. Her character is second to none. She has always conducted herself in the most courteous manner and presents in a highly intelligent and logical manner.


So, how did it come to this? Throughout history, those whose knowledge and positive influence shine brightest, tend to inevitably ruffle a few feathers. Blogging in regard the activities of the Rev. Lisa Sykes and her husband Seth Sykes, who continue to claim, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that their son’s autism was caused by mercury poisoning via vaccines, has done just that, it would appear.


Reporting and sharing opinions on matters highly relevant to the community is no crime. Indeed, there is no indication that Kathleen is being accused of having done anything or written anything illegal. She has been asked to hand over all correspondence between herself and all “religious groups(Moslems or otherwise), or individuals with religious affiliations”, as well as most of those who are on her blogroll.


Notably, the subpoena is excessively intrusive in its terms. Plaintiffs and their counsel seek not only to rummage through records that they suspect pertain to themselves, but also through Kathleen’s family’s bank records, tax returns, autism-related medical and educational records, and every communication concerning all of the issues to which she has devoted her attention and energy in recent years. Mr. Shoemaker has actually engaged in a sanctionable abuse of his authority as an officer of the court through invoking the judicial subpoena power.


Kathleen’s outstanding reply to quash the subpoena, should settle the matter briskly one would hope. Persecution without just cause will inevitably reflect badly upon Sykes and Shoemaker. Let common sense prevail. Kathleen’s work speaks for itself – long may it continue.


With you, beside you, as always Kathleen.


Julie



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