Saturday, November 29, 2008

Fight Over Pardoned Turkeys Proceeds to Court

The two turkeys pardoned by President Bush in the traditional holiday ritual remain caught in a legal limbo 6 days after the White House ceremony announcing that they were being spared their Thanksgiving fate. Lawyers for the turkeys, named May and Flower, have filed a writ with the D.C. District court seeking a prompt release of their clients. The Justice Department, however, continues to claim the right to detain the turkeys indefinitely as unlawful enemy combatants. “The pardon applies solely to the capital charges associated with being a turkey. It was never intended to override the U.S. rights of preventive detention for unlawful combatants.” Lawyers for the turkeys have for months been seeking a habeus corpus hearing to challenge those charges, noting they are based solely of the testimony of the rival barnyard factions who turned the turkeys over to authorities. Said one lawyer, "The leader of the rival clan Henny Penny has a well-documented history of wild claims" (see “Panic Ensues after Report of Falling Sky”, NY Times, May 1989). Further complicating negotiations has been difficulty finding anyone willing to accept the released turkeys. The home farm for the turkeys has refused to take them back for fear they may foment unrest among the remaining turkeys. “No turkey has ever returned from the “Truck to the Promised Land” that arrives every November, said Red Barnston, owner of the farm. “It could cause complete havoc.”

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