Justice For Dan

May 2007:  Arrested by the Secret Service on trumped up threat charges.
 
October 2007:  Convicted by a federal jury in Fargo, North Dakota.
 
October 2008:  Released from federal prison.
 
February 2009:  Direct appeal denied.
 
June 2009:  Motion for new trial based on newly discovered evidence denied.
 
July 2011:  2255 motion based on Brady violation granted.  Conviction vacated.
 
2008-present:  Direct contact with the Secret Service every three to four months.
 
 
My name is Daniel Cvijanovich. In the summer of 2001, when I was 20 years old, I vandalized the federal building in Fargo, ND on 3 separate occasions, leaving behind notes addressed to the FBI. Among the motives accessible to me was a desire to draw attention to due process violations in the case of the imprisoned American Indian activist Leonard Peltier. In the Fall I returned to college in Buffalo, NY and completed my senior year. After graduating, I intended to either rob banks or produce an independent film. I thought I would travel a lot and possibly settle on a pretty wooded property in the Pacific Northwest.  Instead, I returned to Fargo and settled into a low-rent but mostly stable lifestyle of menial work and recreational drinking. I wrote a feature length screenplay, sat on it, rewrote it, and continued to work and drink. The Iraq War outraged me. So did liberalism. I had a need for political, artistic, and intellectual fearlessness, which I found only in White Nationalist circles, only online.

 

In January of 2005 my brother Matt died of complications caused by a gallstone. He was 14 months younger than me, just beginning graduate studies. His death was a shock. It seemed to me that he was less deserving of death than anyone I knew or knew of. One month after his death, George Bush visited Fargo. Two months after that, in April of 2005, I concluded I was an alcoholic and tried to stop drinking. It didn’t take. I was on a stop-and-start merry-go-round until the morning of March 22, 2006. My parents arrived at my apartment frantic with worry that I had killed myself, because of an incoherent email I sent my mother the night before. It was the first time my life’s compartments failed to maintain the separation I thought they needed. It became almost a mystical experience. I renounced self-sufficiency, violence and anger, and I welcomed help and love.

 

One week later, my past caught up with me. I was in continuous custody from March 30, 2006 until May 30, 2007. Most of that time was in service of a 12 month federal sentence for my 2001 misbehavior. There were several instances of injustice and bad process wrapped up in this experience, some of which inspired my recently published novel Prodrome, but the bottom line legally was this: I committed a crime, I was found out, I pled guilty, and I did my time. On May 30, I was ready to re-enter the free world and rebuild my life. Instead, the United States Secret Service arrested me before I left the prison, on new and fabricated charges alleging that I had uttered threatening statements about President Bush to three county jail inmates more than six months earlier. Despite the frivolous nature of the allegations, I remained in custody. Federal courts rarely grant bail to criminal defendants. I fought the charges every step of the way and fully expected a North Dakota jury to acquit me. I was shocked when, on October 17 2007, the jury delivered a guilty verdict on one of 3 counts. I remained incarcerated until October 15, 2008. I feared I would be rearrested again, but this time the Secret Service was unable to scrounge up a convincing liar with whom it could manufacture new charges.

 

I spent 3 months in a halfway house. After that I wore an ankle bracelet for over a year, with a GPS tracking device monitored by the Secret Service. I married my vibrant idea girl during this time, and soon after we were blessed with a son and a daughter. I embraced with all of my heart a "one day at a time" solution to my drinking obsession and my worst mental habits. My life got better and better, and I continued to challenge my wrongful conviction in every possible way. Finally I succeeded in having it overturned, on July 8, 2011, shortly after our daughter was born. The only legal remedy remaining at that point was the removal of that felony conviction from my official record.  I had long ago completed my prison sentence, and I had remained on supervised release past the time my parole officer thought I should, in order to save my appeal from being dismissed as moot. There was no hope of monetary compensation and no apology or admission of wrongdoing by the U.S. Attorney or anyone in the Secret Service (I did not expect one).

 

This site was originally put up by my parents, Michael and Sheryl Cvijanovich, while I was still in prison on false charges. It is intended now as a public record of all the legal battles related to my wrongful conviction and imprisonment, as well as my interactions with the United States Secret Service. The legal battles have ended, but, as promised, The Secret Service has remained interested in my life. I continue to meet face to face with agents approximately four times per year. By agreeing to meet them in public and answer their questions, I avoid deeper invasions into my life. I find that the Secret Service has a reputation which is both more fearsome and more respectable than it deserves. It lives up to its name, preferring to operate almost entirely in the shadows, with no attention paid to how it deals with those citizens whom it regards as a threat. As an American in the best sense of the word, I am committed to honesty and transparency in my personal life as well as in governance and law enforcement. I hope the light cast by this site will comfort and strengthen others who are struggling either with the Secret Service's manipulations or to overcome fabricated charges of any nature.