Incarceration Nation

Hearing Report and Letter from Lynne Stewart

‘Court Denies Lynne Stewart Re-hearing’

By Jeff Mackler

On Monday, September 24, 2012 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit rejected Lynne’s appeal for a re-hearing before the entire court. Her original conviction was upheld in 2009 by a three-judge panel of the Second Circuit. The Second Circuit’s opinion was not unexpected. This was the same court that earlier pressed Federal District Court John Koeltl to re-consider his original 28-month sentence and instead sentence Lynne to ten years. Lynne, a leading civil rights attorney for 30 years, was convicted in 2005 on frame-up charges of conspiracy to aid and abet terrorism. Her crime? She issued a press release on behalf of her client, the “blind sheik” Omar Abdel Rachman, a leading Egyptian Islamic cleric, who was also a victim of the U.S. “war on terror” when a government-instigated frame-up trial convicted him of conspiracy to destroy New York buildings. Typical of “conspiracy” convictions, no evidence of wrongdoing was presented at his trial.

Rachman, a leading critic of the Hosni Mubarack dictatorship in Egypt, and now serving a life sentence in Rochester, Minnesota, was the subject of national attention a few months ago when Egypt’s new president, Mohammad Morsi, embarrassed the Obama administration by demanding his release. Lynne’s attorneys explained on Monday that “The clock now starts running on our Petition for Certiorari to the Supreme Court. We have 90 days to get it filed (with the possibility of a 30-day extension).”

Lynne is presently imprisoned at FMC Carswell outside of Fort Worth, Texas. She has successfully recovered from a difficult surgery that was spitefully delayed by prison authorities. For 45 days this past summer Lynne was denied all visitors, and other basic prison rights on the trumped-up accusation that she violated prison rules in assisting a fellow prisoner certify a legal document. Her spirits are high and she is now going through a backlog of letters from friends and supporters.

Here’s a brief summary/timeline of Lynne’s case.

  • Indicted April 9, 2002;
  • February 10, 2005, convicted on all counts of conspiracy to aid and abet terrorism;
  • October 17, 2006, sentenced to 28 months;
  • November 17, 2009, a US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit three-judge panel upheld the conviction, shamelessly accusing Lynne of “knowingly and willfully making false statements,” re-directing her case to District Court Judge John Koeltl for re-sentencing, instructing him to consider enhancements for terrorism, perjury, and abuse of her position as a lawyer; an outrageous mandate intimidating Koeltl to comply;
  • November 19, 2009, Stewart jailed at MCC-NY, New York;
  • July 15, 2010, Stewart re-sentenced to ten years imprisonment for doing her job honorably, ethically, and admirably with distinction for 30 years.

Disgracefully, Judge Koeltl explained it, saying: “(C)omments by Stewart in 2006, including a statement in a television interview that she would do ‘it’ again and would not ‘do anything differently’ influenced (the) 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.”

He also considered her age (70), health (at times poor), distinguished career representing society’s disadvantaged and the unlikelihood she’d commit another “crime.”

However, the Second Circuit Appeals Court intimidated him to comply, his own career perhaps on the line otherwise.

Jeff Mackler is a supporter of Lynne Stewart and other political prisoners.

—September 26th, 2012

From inside FMC Carswell Prison, Ft. Worth, Texas

Letter from Lynne Stewart

Once again the 2d Circuit has turned me down–this time the whole Court, en banc. Not surprising, I was well aware that we were dealing with the Company Store and could expect very little. Nonetheless as a favorite line from Edna St Vincent Millay: “Pity me that the heart is slow to learn What the Quick mind beholds at every turn,” I never lose hope that my case will be resolved as being too obvious a contradiction to justice for them to sustain! Our next stop is the petition for Certiorari to the Supreme Court, asking them to hear us.

We will be trying to impress them with the significant wrongfulness of the whole prosecution itself and of the errors at trial and later at sentencing. Our due date is some time in late December and we are hoping to have Amicus support, so if you are part of a group that supports lawyers or civil rights etc. please suggest it as early as possible. Contact Jill Shellow, my lawyer by email, for further explanations. Looking forward to my 73 birthday on October 8, the one bright ray of light is that my husband, Ralph Poynter, will be speaking at the National Lawyers Guild convention held in Pasadena, California from the 10th to 14th of October.

Addressing the Plenary he will speak of my case and that of other political prisoners locked away for decades by a vindictive government. I wish I could attend and meet and greet and hug and laugh with my lawyer buddies of many years and many conventions but I will have to be content with my usual micro-management style from afar—Texas, that is!

Meanwhile, I continue to tough it out. I am feeling quite well after the surgery, an infection and then a severe iron deficiency—my usual vim and vigor are back and ready for the fight with the Supreme Court who thinks corporations are people—what will they make of me, a real person? (smile)

Join me. Bring me Home, where I can join in some of the epic battles now at hand.

—September 27, 2012

Please write Lynne at:

Lynne Stewart 53504-054

FMC Carswell P.O. Box 27137

Ft. Worth, Texas 76127

Lynne Stewart Defense Committee

1070 Dean Street

Brooklyn, New York 11216

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