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NEWS
June 12, 1990 | By Jim Smith, Daily News Staff Writer
A former Philadelphia lawyer must testify before a federal grand jury investigating the whereabouts of a suspected revolutionary who skipped bail - or go to jail for contempt of court, a federal appeals court ruled yesterday. The lawyer, Linda Backiel, 45, now living in Puerto Rico, contended that there is no need for her testimony and that prosecutors want to punish her for her efforts on behalf of those seeking independence for Puerto Rico. A unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that this and other contentions raised by Backiel were "meritless.
NEWS
December 27, 1990 | By Emilie Lounsberry, Inquirer Staff Writer
An attorney for imprisoned lawyer Linda Backiel, turned down by the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a bid to win her client's freedom, said yesterday that she would again ask U.S. District Judge Charles R. Weiner to release her. Attorney Patricia V. Pierce said the Third Circuit refused last week to release Backiel from jail pending the outcome of the appeal, which Pierce said she was withdrawing. Weiner sent Backiel to jail Dec. 10 for contempt of court after she refused to give information to a federal grand jury about self-described revolutionary Elizabeth Ann Duke, who skipped bail in October 1985 while awaiting trial on charges of possession of explosives and illegal firearms.
NEWS
December 11, 1990 | By Jim Smith, Daily News Staff Writer
An attorney who once worked as a city public defender was jailed yesterday for up to six months for contempt for refusing to testify before a federal grand jury investigating a reputed radical bomber who jumped bail. "I will go to jail with my conscience, and I will be able to live with myself," attorney Linda Backiel, 45, told U.S. District Judge Charles R. Weiner, as more than two dozen sympathizers quietly watched. "I could not live with myself. I could not hold myself out as an attorney," had she been forced to testify against radical fugitive Elizabeth Ann Duke, who once sought her advice, Backiel added.
NEWS
June 8, 1991 | by Jim Smith, Daily News Staff Writer
A happy anniversary of sorts will soon dawn for Linda Backiel, a lawyer who has spent nearly six months in jail for refusing to testify before a federal grand jury. U.S. District Court Judge Charles R. Weiner yesterday said Backiel will be released June 10, "the six-month anniversary of her confinement. " The grand jury is trying to locate Elizabeth Ann Duke, a reputed radical bomber who jumped bail in Philadelphia several years ago. Backiel, who gave Duke free legal advice, claims it would be unethical for her to answer the grand jury's questions.
NEWS
June 8, 1991 | By Emilie Lounsberry, Inquirer Staff Writer
After spending six months behind bars for contempt of court, defense attorney Linda Backiel will be released from jail on Monday, a federal judge has ruled. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Charles R. Weiner was hailed by Backiel's attorney, Patricia V. Pierce, who said there will probably be a big celebration after Backiel walks out of Bucks County Prison at 9 a.m. "Obviously, I'm ecstatic that she's getting out," Pierce said in a telephone interview. "She never should have been locked up in the first place.
NEWS
December 11, 1990 | By Emilie Lounsberry, Inquirer Staff Writer
Former Philadelphia defense lawyer Linda Backiel yesterday was imprisoned indefinitely for civil contempt after she refused to testify before a federal grand jury in a bail-jumping investigation of self-described revolutionary Elizabeth Ann Duke. During a hearing before U.S. District Judge Charles R. Weiner, Backiel said she was refusing to testify as a matter of principle. "I will go to jail with my conscience," she said. As she was led away by federal marshals, Backiel received a standing ovation from a group of about 25 supporters, and she blew them all a kiss on her way out of the courtroom.
NEWS
March 28, 1991 | By Emilie Lounsberry, Inquirer Staff Writer
After nearly four months in the Bucks County Correctional Facility, lawyer Linda Backiel still insists that, while prison life is no picnic, not even more time behind bars will persuade her to testify before a federal grand jury. Time will tell, a federal judge has decided. In a ruling released yesterday, U.S. District Judge Charles R. Weiner concluded that Backiel "has not at this time" demonstrated that more time in prison will not cause her to change her mind. The incarceration of Backiel, a former public defender in Philadelphia, has aroused national interest and sparked considerable debate about the issuance of grand jury subpoenas to lawyers.
NEWS
July 10, 1991 | By Emilie Lounsberry, Inquirer Staff Writer
Self-described revolutionary Elizabeth Ann Duke - a longtime fugitive who has been the focus of a criminal investigation that led to the jailing of a lawyer - was indicted yesterday by a federal grand jury for jumping bail. Now all the feds have to do is find her. Duke, 50, has been on the lam since October 1985, when she fled after being released on bail - over the government's objection - to await trial on federal weapons charges. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald H. Levine said yesterday that the government remained intent on finding Duke but declined to say what efforts were under way to find her. "The FBI is pursuing a fugitive investigation," said Levine.
NEWS
February 19, 1987 | By JIM SMITH, Daily News Staff Writer
A New York medical doctor told a jury here yesterday that he had served as physician to members of an underground revolutionary movement, but he denied charges that he had conspired to possess explosives, guns and false identification. Dr. Alan Berkman, 41, in an opening speech to the jury in U.S. District Court, also admitted having "debated" revolutionary plans, including "violence," with his "comrades. " But he insisted that his only role was that of a doctor, and he contended that prosecutors would try to take his statements out of context to "maximize the shock value" in an effort to convict him. Berkman, who is acting as his own co-counsel, is charged with conspiring to possess more than 100 pounds of explosives, two illegal guns and a silencer, dozens of false identification documents and equipment to make phony identifications.
NEWS
February 1, 1990 | By Michael E. Ruane, Inquirer Staff Writer
"Good lawyer," friends say of Linda Backiel, a former Philadelphian. "A very principled person. " Once a city public defender, Backiel has spent a career lobbying against the "inquisition" of the secret grand jury system, as well as defending those who were opponents of U.S. government policy. But now her principles threaten to land Linda Backiel in jail, she says. She has rebuffed a subpoena to testify before a federal grand jury in the case of a suspected revolutionary who jumped bail in Elkins Park four years ago. And yesterday, after a federal court hearing on the matter, Backiel said she still will not testify and was prepared to go to jail, if she must.
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NEWS
July 10, 1991 | By Emilie Lounsberry, Inquirer Staff Writer
Self-described revolutionary Elizabeth Ann Duke - a longtime fugitive who has been the focus of a criminal investigation that led to the jailing of a lawyer - was indicted yesterday by a federal grand jury for jumping bail. Now all the feds have to do is find her. Duke, 50, has been on the lam since October 1985, when she fled after being released on bail - over the government's objection - to await trial on federal weapons charges. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald H. Levine said yesterday that the government remained intent on finding Duke but declined to say what efforts were under way to find her. "The FBI is pursuing a fugitive investigation," said Levine.
NEWS
June 11, 1991 | By Emilie Lounsberry, Inquirer Staff Writer
When defense lawyer Linda Backiel stepped across the threshold into freedom yesterday after six months behind bars for contempt of court, she embraced her parents, accepted a bouquet of red roses and then faced the cameras. "It feels wonderful," said a beaming Backiel, 46, just before stepping out into the sunshine at the Bucks County Correctional Facility outside Doylestown. "But I'll tell you, it's hard to leave. I left a lot of beautiful people. " If that sounds like an unexpected endorsement of prison life, it was. Backiel actually enjoyed the experience.
NEWS
June 8, 1991 | By Emilie Lounsberry, Inquirer Staff Writer
After spending six months behind bars for contempt of court, defense attorney Linda Backiel will be released from jail on Monday, a federal judge has ruled. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Charles R. Weiner was hailed by Backiel's attorney, Patricia V. Pierce, who said there will probably be a big celebration after Backiel walks out of Bucks County Prison at 9 a.m. "Obviously, I'm ecstatic that she's getting out," Pierce said in a telephone interview. "She never should have been locked up in the first place.
NEWS
June 8, 1991 | by Jim Smith, Daily News Staff Writer
A happy anniversary of sorts will soon dawn for Linda Backiel, a lawyer who has spent nearly six months in jail for refusing to testify before a federal grand jury. U.S. District Court Judge Charles R. Weiner yesterday said Backiel will be released June 10, "the six-month anniversary of her confinement. " The grand jury is trying to locate Elizabeth Ann Duke, a reputed radical bomber who jumped bail in Philadelphia several years ago. Backiel, who gave Duke free legal advice, claims it would be unethical for her to answer the grand jury's questions.
NEWS
March 28, 1991 | By Emilie Lounsberry, Inquirer Staff Writer
After nearly four months in the Bucks County Correctional Facility, lawyer Linda Backiel still insists that, while prison life is no picnic, not even more time behind bars will persuade her to testify before a federal grand jury. Time will tell, a federal judge has decided. In a ruling released yesterday, U.S. District Judge Charles R. Weiner concluded that Backiel "has not at this time" demonstrated that more time in prison will not cause her to change her mind. The incarceration of Backiel, a former public defender in Philadelphia, has aroused national interest and sparked considerable debate about the issuance of grand jury subpoenas to lawyers.
NEWS
December 27, 1990 | By Emilie Lounsberry, Inquirer Staff Writer
An attorney for imprisoned lawyer Linda Backiel, turned down by the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a bid to win her client's freedom, said yesterday that she would again ask U.S. District Judge Charles R. Weiner to release her. Attorney Patricia V. Pierce said the Third Circuit refused last week to release Backiel from jail pending the outcome of the appeal, which Pierce said she was withdrawing. Weiner sent Backiel to jail Dec. 10 for contempt of court after she refused to give information to a federal grand jury about self-described revolutionary Elizabeth Ann Duke, who skipped bail in October 1985 while awaiting trial on charges of possession of explosives and illegal firearms.
NEWS
December 19, 1990 | By Emilie Lounsberry, Inquirer Staff Writer
As a law student at Rutgers University, Linda Backiel was known as the "Story Lady," the woman who showed up at the day-care center every day to read stories to the children while their mothers were at class. To the adults, she was more of a "hell-raiser," an activist who worked hard for the creation of that child-care center and was so adamant in her beliefs that she once risked a failing grade by refusing an assignment that would have forced her to defend capital punishment. Time has not changed Linda Backiel's ways.
NEWS
December 11, 1990 | By Jim Smith, Daily News Staff Writer
An attorney who once worked as a city public defender was jailed yesterday for up to six months for contempt for refusing to testify before a federal grand jury investigating a reputed radical bomber who jumped bail. "I will go to jail with my conscience, and I will be able to live with myself," attorney Linda Backiel, 45, told U.S. District Judge Charles R. Weiner, as more than two dozen sympathizers quietly watched. "I could not live with myself. I could not hold myself out as an attorney," had she been forced to testify against radical fugitive Elizabeth Ann Duke, who once sought her advice, Backiel added.
NEWS
December 11, 1990 | By Emilie Lounsberry, Inquirer Staff Writer
Former Philadelphia defense lawyer Linda Backiel yesterday was imprisoned indefinitely for civil contempt after she refused to testify before a federal grand jury in a bail-jumping investigation of self-described revolutionary Elizabeth Ann Duke. During a hearing before U.S. District Judge Charles R. Weiner, Backiel said she was refusing to testify as a matter of principle. "I will go to jail with my conscience," she said. As she was led away by federal marshals, Backiel received a standing ovation from a group of about 25 supporters, and she blew them all a kiss on her way out of the courtroom.
NEWS
June 19, 1990 | By Emilie Lounsberry, Inquirer Staff Writer
Former Philadelphia defense lawyer Linda Backiel doesn't want to go to jail, but that's where she may be headed unless she has a change of heart and agrees to provide information to a federal grand jury about a client who is now a fugitive. Backiel, however, isn't likely to cooperate. After a partial court victory last week, she has vowed to pursue her fight on a topic of hot debate among lawyers across the nation: whether defense lawyers should be forced to testify before grand juries about clients.
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