Behind Bars

About the Court Argument on the 29th of February

By Lynne Stewart

After the disaster in July 2010, when Judge Koeltl, following the directives of the Second Circuit increased my sentence from 28 months to ten years, our righteous indignation fueled this appeal. The government’s argument will center on my testimony at trial and the alleged perjury. All of those facts were before the Court at the time of the 28 month sentence and were not the basis then of a double-digit sentence.

Our Brief attacks the increased sentence on two different fronts, one on a doctrine of “substantive unreasonableness,” meaning it’s just too much of an increase, five fold, given the circumstances. Secondly, we argued that the only “new” information before the judge were my statements after my first sentence in October of 2008 and remarks I made on the Courthouse steps before I surrendered to prison. We contend strongly that this is protected speech under the First Amendment of the Constitution, and cannot be used to increase or as a basis for sentencing. (Even if they hate it!)

The same group of three judges that heard and decided the original appeal will also hear the arguments on the 29th. The government is not asking for more time; they are satisfied with their pound of flesh, but it is not likely that this Court will take any action that will help me. The times are askew for prisoners and their lawsuits. (The Brief is available at my web site

The lawyers that argued in July of 2010 will be on board with the addition of Herald Price Fahringer, an eminent attorney in the First Amendment field (the win in the Larry Flynt Hustler case in the U.S. Supreme Court was his. He was also in the line of fire but not injured himself when the shooting of Flynt took place.) He will enthusiastically present our case. I will not be present—not unusual once imprisoned. But my spirit will be there to inspire!

Of course, my case has always been government firing warning shots to lawyers that a vigorous defense of certain clients, if not conforming to government specifications, will be punished severely. This chill effect, in these days that we are confronted with Grand Jury investigations and dismantling of occupations, is not something we should contemplate with anything less than alarm. I have just finished David Gilbert’s book Love Struggle and the intercession of lawyers when there are arrests of designated enemies of the “state” are the only meaningful protection available.

A large outpouring of support in Foley Square and Tom Paine Park and in the Courtroom will signal to these arbiters of “justice” that attention must be paid; the 99 percent are watching them with suspicion and tallying up the roads not taken.

—January 26, 2012

Write to:

Lynne Stewart #53504-054, Unit 2N
Federal Medical Center, Carswell
P.O. Box 27137
Fort Worth, TX 76127

Write to Lynne Stewart Defense Committee at:
1070 Dean Street,
Brooklyn, New York 11216

For further information:
718-789-0558 or 917-853-9759