Last summer, service of process in a major case was effected via Twitter. In Twitter Service Hits the Bigtime, I commented that such service was okay under FRCP 4(f)(3) because the more traditional means were foreclosed to the plaintiffs. Wikileaks was on the hook, in the eyes of the S.D.N.Y.
Yesterday, Wikileaks’ founder, Julian Assange, was arrested in London following Ecuador’s backtrack fro granting him asylum.
So, does the DNC now have to try regular service in order to keep Wikileaks in the case? Well, no– service was already effected in August. But even if it hadn’t already been done, the plaintiffs still can’t identify an address for Monsieur Assange. He’s in a jail cell in England, but that’s merely temporary, and it’s doubtful that he’s even going to remain in the UK for long. The U.S. is actively pursuing extradition. Sweden may follow suit, and maybe even other countries will seek to do likewise. Hard to say at this point.
But it’s awfully clear that the Hague Service Convention isn’t in play here. It’s not applicable if the defendant’s address is unknown.
Side note… a hat tip to Ted Folkman for some compelling thoughts in this morning’s Letters Blogatory post on Assange. Charging Assange for publishing classified material– and having the charges stick– would put American journalists at risk of prosecution for doing their jobs. Rather, says Ted, “I am happy that the grand jury has not charged Assange with espionage, but instead with conspiring with (Chelsea) Manning to steal secrets from the government.” I couldn’t agree more.