Subpoena for Church Petitions, Commonwealth v. Dietz 

Rudolph Dean is charged with malicious wounding in connection with a road rage incident.  Based on the testimony of the alleged victim at the preliminary hearing, many believe that it is apparent that he acted in self-defense.  Parishioners at The River Church in Harrisonburg circulated petitions asking that the charges against Dean be dropped.  They intended to submit the petitions only if and when it became clear before trial that the charges would not be dropped and there would be no favorable plea bargain.  The commonwealth’s attorney subpoenaed the church’s pastor for the signed petitions.  On October 4, 2012, we filed a motion to quash on behalf of the pastor, arguing that the subpoenaed materials were not relevant to the case and that requiring the disclosure of the signatures would chill First Amendment rights.   A hearing was held on December 13, 2012. On January 2, 2013, the court found that the petitions were not protected by the First Amendment.

Court Documents (click link to view .pdf)
Motion to Quash - Rockingham County Circuit Court


Rebecca Glenberg, ACLU of Virginia

Pro Bono Law Firm(s)

Grant Penrod, Harrisonburg, Virginia

Date filed

November 4, 2012


Rockingham County Circuit Court