Tuesday, December 8, 2015

An old fashioned book burning?



 I recently ordered the book "In the Spirit of Crazy Horse" from an online book reseller. I was surprised to receive the 1st edition of the book (1983-1992) instead of the latter edition (1999 - present). I used to own a copy of the 1st edition which I had purchased in 1991.I lost my copy when  I left California in 1992 to move to the East Coast. I went on a search to buy the book again but could not find it anywhere...I later found out that the book had essentially been taken off the shelves due to legal actions brought upon by agents of the FBI against the author and Viking Press citing "slander".

 The book was out of circulation for almost a decade before anew edition,with additional material,was re-issued  Viking/Penguin Press. Originally,Viking had destroyed all warehouse copies that had not gone to retail outlets. For almost a decade, the book was held up in legal red tape as the courts sorted out the accusation brought forward by the FBI:

> After publication of the book, two plaintiffs filed libel suits against Viking Press. Bill Janklow, the former Republican governor of South Dakota, filed a $24 million lawsuit in South Dakota. He also sued three booksellers in South Dakota who had sold hardcover copies of the book. This case was watched because of its repressive aspects related to bookselling.

Janklow's suit was based upon one paragraph in the book which has statements by AIM leader Dennis Banks referring to rape allegations made against Janklow by Jacinta Eagle Deer, a young Brulé Lakota on the Rosebud Indian Reservation. Banks also noted Janklow's arrest for driving drunk and nude on the Crow Creek Reservation in South Dakota in 1973.[1]

Janklow filed a separate lawsuit against Newsweek magazine (Janklow v. Newsweek, 788 F2d 1300) for an article that contained the disputed passage.[1] In his complaint, referring to the statement by Banks about rape, Janklow "cited a 1975 letter from Philip W. Buchen, head of the Office of Counsel to the President of the United States, to the Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare, saying that three Federal investigations found the allegations against him 'simply unfounded'. The Senate committee was considering Mr. Janklow's nomination as a director of the Legal Services Corporation..."[1]

Viking Press filed a countersuit against Janklow in the Southern District of New York, which in part alleged that Janklow had interfered with the company's constitutional rights to publish and distribute the book.[1] A South Dakota circuit court ruled that the book was not defamatory and terminated Janklow's lawsuit in 1984. Upon Janklow's appeal of the ruling, the South Dakota State Supreme Court reinstated the case in 1985.

David Price, an FBI agent who was at the Wounded Knee incident, filed two identical lawsuits against Viking: one in South Dakota state court (Price v. Viking Press, Inc., Civ. No. 84-448) and an identical suit (Price v. Viking Press, Inc., 625 F. Supp. 641) in federal court, seeking $25 million in United States District Court for the District of South Dakota. The case was transferred to a federal court in Minnesota.

The lawyers representing both Matthiessen and Viking Press in the federal suit in Minnesota were noted First Amendment lawyer Martin Garbus of Frankfurt, Garbus, Klein & Selz, New York City, with Barbara F.L. Penn, St. Paul, Minnesota.

In the Minnesota case, Federal District Court Judge Diana E. Murphy dismissed the Price suit. Her 33-page ruling noted: "Viking recognized that responsible publishing companies owe some duty to the public to undertake difficult but important works." Janklow's case in South Dakota was similarly dismissed. In both cases both the author and publisher were deemed to have been protected by the free speech clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. It was noted that Matthiessen's book was clearly one with an opinion.[2] <  From Wikipedia

 I am not entirely disappointed that I received a 1st edition of this book, I suppose it's a collector's item of sorts. I still am going to get the newest edition,as it contains additional material that I have great interest in.

 Class dismissed.

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