Darkness in America: Lynne Stewart’s Resentencing
10 years imprisonment for doing her job honorably, ethically.
Describing Lynne Stewart, one of this writer’s previous articles said the following:
“She worked selfishly, tirelessly, and heroically for 30 years as a human rights champion, defending America’s poor, underprivileged, and unwanted—people never afforded due process and judicial fairness without an advocate like her. She knew the risks, yet took them courageously until bogusly indicted on April 9, 2002 for:
• conspiring to defraud the United States;
• conspiring to provide and conceal material support to terrorist activity;
• providing and concealing material support to terrorist activity; and
• two counts of making false statements.”1
A brief timeline was as follows:
• indicted on April 9, 2002;
• on February 10, 2005, convicted on all counts;
• on October, 17, 2006, sentenced to 28 months;
• on November 17, 2009, a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit three-judge panel upheld the conviction, shamelessly accusing Lynne of “knowingly and willfully making false statements,” redirecting her case to District Court Judge John Koeltl for resentencing, instructing him to consider enhancements for terrorism, perjury, and abuse of her position as a lawyer—an outrageous mandate intimidating Koeltl to comply;
• on November 19, 2009, Stewart jailed at MCC-NY, 150 Park Row, New York, NY; and
• on July 15, 2010, Stewart resentenced to ten years imprisonment for doing her job honorably, ethically, and admirably with distinction for 30 years.
New York Times writer John Eligon headlined, “Sentence Is Sharply Increased for Lawyer Convicted of Aiding Terror,” saying:
After her sentence, a “collective gasp went up from (her) supporters, who packed the broad, high-ceilinged courtroom—followed by a few shrieks and sobs; some held their hands over their mouths.”
Allowed to speak, Lynne said:
“I’m somewhat stunned, Judge, by the swift change in my outlook. We will continue to struggle on to take all available options to do what we need to do to change this. I feel like I let a lot of my good people down,” after which supporters shouted, “We love you!”
“Over the last eight months, prison has diminished me. Daily, I confront the prospect of death.”
So does her husband, Ralph Poynter, calling it “a death sentence,”—a shocking miscarriage of justice, symbolizing America’s descent to hell, its moral remnants lost, its democracy a convenient illusion, its despotic reality ruthless, corrupted, brutish and merciless, favoring power over populism under a Constitution political philosopher Sheldon Wolin describes as “conscripted to serve as (its) apprentice rather than its conscience.”
On July 16, New York Law Journal’s Mark Hamblett headlined, “Lynne Stewart Gets a New 10-Year Prison Sentence,” saying:
“Koeltl imposed a longer sentence, saying ‘comments by Stewart in 2006, including a statement in a television interview that she would do ‘it’ again and would not ‘do anything differently’ influenced his decision....indicat(ing) the original sentence ‘was not sufficient’ to reflect the goals of sentencing guidelines.”
Forgotten were Koeltl’s October 2006 comments, calling Lynne’s character “extraordinary,” saying she was “a credit to her profession,” and that a long imprisonment would be “an unreasonable result,” citing “the somewhat atypical nature of her case (and) lack of evidence that any victim was harmed....”
Calling terrorism enhancement “dramatically unreasonable (because it grossly) overstate(d) the seriousness of (her) conduct (and would equate her with) repeat felony offenders for the most serious offenses including murder and drug trafficking.”
He did consider Stewart’s age (70), her health (poor), her distinguished career representing society’s disadvantaged and unwanted, and the unlikelihood she’d commit another “crime.”
“But (he) clearly got the message from the 2nd Circuit,” and complied, his own career perhaps on the line otherwise.
The American Bar Association’s Model Code of Judicial Conduct
Updated in February 2007, its preamble calls for:
• “An independent, fair and impartial judiciary,” calling it “indispensable to our system of justice, (composed of) men and women of integrity;
• Judges should....at all times (ensure) the greatest possible public confidence in their independence, impartiality, integrity, and competence;
• The Model Code....establishes standards (of) ethical conduct, (including) overarching principles of judicial ethics (and fairness), consistent with constitutional requirements, statutes, other court rules, and decisional law, and with due regard for all relevant circumstances;” above all, the truth, not a corrupted prosecutorial version of it, the kind sending innocent people to prison, including society’s best, none better than Lynne.
Mark the date—July 15, 2010, a day of infamy, activist/writer Elaine Brower saying “The Veil is Lifted, The Gloves Are off,” Stewart’s lynching showing America’s true face—cruel, unfair, lawless and debauched, a nation no longer fit to live in.
A final note
Jeff Mackler, West Coast Director of the Lynne Stewart Defense Committee, reports she’ll “serve her sentence in Danbury, Connecticut’s minimum security prison....a brilliant and dedicated fighter sacrificed on the altar of an intolerant class-biased system of repression and war.”
A giant among us, she won’t be forgotten, a Supreme Court appeal expected, despite little chance for compassion or judicial fairness, qualities absent in the Roberts court.
Steve Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA, raised in a modest middle income family, attended public schools, received a Harvard BA in 1956 and a Wharton MBA in 1960. After six years as a marketing research analyst, became part of a new small family business in 1967, remaining there until retiring in 1999. Have since devoted my time to progressive causes, extensive reading, and since summer 2005 writing on vital world and national topics, including war and peace, American imperialism, corporate dominance, political persecutions, and a range of other social, economic and political issues. In early 2007, began regular radio hosting, now “The Progressive Radio News Hour” on The Progressive Radio Network.
—sjlendman.blogspot.com, July 16, 2010
1 Detailed information can be gotten from this writer’s previous articles, accessed through the following links:
- Lynne Stewart’s Crime of Courage, Honor and Resisting Tyranny
- Lynne Stewart’s Long Struggle for Justice
- Lynne Stewart: Heroic Human Rights Lawyer Jailed
- Updating Lynne Stewart’s “Love Struggle” Part I
- Updating Lynne Stewart’s “Love Struggle:” Part II