Just in case the story submission gets canned, I'm posting this here!
Steven Heller, the whistleblower in the California Diebold ballot machine tampering case, is now taking donations to help defend against the chilling felony charges against him. The Steven Heller Legal Defense web page may not survive the Slashdot Effect: scroll down to find out how to contribute the old-fashioned way.
Donating to Steven Heller's defense is a great way to participate in politics beacuse it will send a clear message on two issues of grave importance: supporting whistleblowers against political corruption, and supporting legitimate voting process. If you care about these issues, then you should consider sending them ~$20. You should also hit your friends up and donate together in larger amounts so that it isn't so expensive for them to process the donations if paying by check.
I contacted Steven Heller's attorney a few days ago and requested to be put on the notification list when the legal defense fund is set up. His wife is apparently handling this, and I just received this email:
On Mar 10, 2006, at 1:45 PM, hgunited at earthlink.net wrote:
Hello everyone, Michele here again, Stephen Heller's wife. Some of you have asked us if we've tried to get pro bono counsel, and the answer is yes, of course we have. But we've had no luck. The ACLU was approached, and their board of directors considered it, but they turned us down, claiming a lack of resources.
Several national whistleblower foundations have also been approached. Some have indicated they will donate to a defense fund, and some referred us to attorneys, but they don't provide pro bono counsel. A few other organizations have also been approached, but none of those efforts or referrals resulted in pro bono counsel.
All of the attorneys that have been approached have declined to represent Stephen pro bono. We have learned that criminal defense attorneys rarely take a case pro bono unless 3 conditions are met: 1) the defendant is indigent; 2) the defendant is already in jail or in prison; and 3) the attorney believes the defendant to be factually innocent. We respect that; a person who is indigent and in prison is in much greater need than we are.
Stephen does have a lawyer, a very skilled and experienced criminal defense firm. Stephen's brother David, an attorney from Seattle (he can't handle the case, he is not a member of the Cal. bar and he has his own law firm and family to attend to, he can't live in L.A. for the many months, or even years, that this case may drag on) said Stephen's attorneys are "pretty much top of the heap in criminal defense in L.A." So we are confident about Stephen's representation. It's just paying their very high fees that worries us.
Thank you for your concerns and suggestions. We truly appreciate all your help and good wishes.
From the web site:
Should you wish to donate with a check, please make the check out to "The Stephen Heller Legal Defense Fund" and mail it to:
The Stephen Heller Legal Defense Fund
c/o Michele D. Gregory, Fund Administrator
17216 Saticoy St., Box 234
Van Nuys, CA 91406-2103