Skretny, William M. is a George H.W. Bush appointee and fellow of the Ford Foundation.
Judge Skretny Committed Constitutional Violations in the Leonard Peltier Case
5 April 2005: Leonard's lawyers fail to persuade a federal judge in Buffalo, NY, to release a key document that could lead to a new trial for Peltier. Citing legal provisions that protect identities of FBI personnel and confidential sources, U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny refuses to provide the full text of a 1975 teletype message from the FBI's Buffalo office to then-FBI Director Clarence M. Kelley. A version with parts blacked out had been released last year. Peltier's attorneys contend the message suggests that a New York FBI informant might have been trying to infiltrate Peltier's defense team. The judge didn't deal with the legal team's arguments about COINTELPRO and the FBI's war on the American Indian Movement. He sidestepped that issue, and it's key because Freedom of Information Act exemptions cannot be used to shield illegal or unauthorized investigative tactics. Skretny deferred a final decision on releasing seven of the 15 requested pages; all had been withheld on national security grounds. Mike Kuzma, Peltier's FOIA lawyer, says he will appeal the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in New York City.
Excerpt: ... On April 5, 2005, citing legal provisions that protect identities of FBI personnel and confidential sources, U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny denied the Legal Team access to the full text of the 1975 Teletype message from the FBI's Buffalo office to then-FBI Director Clarence M. Kelley. Skretny deferred a final decision on releasing seven of the 15 requested pages; all had been withheld on national security grounds. The Legal Team appealed the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York City.
On February 27, 2006, Skretny issued his ruling on the remaining seven documents. The FBI can keep secret a handful of documents, he said, in the interest of national security. Skretny issued the decision after reviewing some of the pages in private. The pages of most interest to the Peltier attorneys revolved around a teletype from Buffalo, a three-page document that seems to indicate that a confidential source was being advised by the FBI not to engage in conduct that would compromise attorney-client privilege.
Peltier attorney Michael Kuzma argued an appeal before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals on December 7, 2006.
In two separate decisions rendered in March 2007, United States District Judge Donovan W. Frank and the three-judge panel for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit refused to order the FBI to release thousands of pages of documents relating to Leonard Peltier, upholding the FBI's claims that release of the sought-after information would, among other things, cause serious damage to the national security of the United States and the war on transnational terrorism. ...