December 9th, 2013
Bring Lynne Stewart Home this Holiday !
For the second time the warden of Carswell FCI agreed to forward the compassionate release petition to the DOJ. For the second time, Obama Holder are stalling. The time to increase the heat is now.
On DECEMBER 10th, 11th, the 12th, make 3 calls for for Compassion!!!
President Obama-202 456 1111,
Att.Gen.Holder-202 353 1555
B.O.P. Dir. Samuels-202 307-3250/3062
“…Finally and not to burden your time schedules, I need to once again ask for your assistance in forcing the Bureau of Prisons to grant my Compassionate Release. They have been stonewalling now since August and my life expectancy, as per my cancer Doctor, is down to 12 months. They know I am fully qualified and that there are 40,000+ people who have signed on to force them to do the right thing which is to let me go home to my family and receive the advanced care in New York City, my home. Yet they refuse to act. I must say it is entirely within the range of their politics and their cruelty to hold the political prisoners until we have days to live before releasing us — Witness Herman Wallace of Angola and Marilyn Buck. We are fighting not to permit this and are actually calling for a BIG push–email, mail, telephone, to Obama(the gutless wonder) Attorney General Holder (Big Speech No Action) and the BOP on December, 10, 11 and 12. Bring Lynne Home by the Holidays. We are Many ! They are few!!
And lastly , as you discuss political prisoners, remember that I am a virtual newcomer having just finished 4 years inside. Not far from here in Coleman,Fla., at the Federal Prison there, is the heroic defender of his people, Leonard Peltier. He is as far from his nation, the Turtle Mountain Band in North Dakota as it is possible to be.
EVERYBODY HOME !! FREE LEONARD !! FREE SEKOU !! FREE MUMIA !! FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS !!…..”
Lynne Stewart, FMC
December 2nd, 2013
Thursday, December 5 at 6pm
150 Washington Street
Providence, Rhode Island
For more information: https://www.facebook.com/events/576718049049470/
November 13th, 2013
Brothers and Sisters:
It seems a long time ago in an other universe that I showed up in September, 1971 at Rutgers Law School, Newark to embark on my legal career. Many of you have heard the story of how, after being a school librarian in Harlem and the Lower East Side and after we had been defeated in our righteous fight for community control of the New York City schools in the sixties–I realized that I had to concentrate on breaking free of the stranglehold of educational bureaucracy and go in a different direction. I could not have done it without the man who is delivering this message for me–my partner, comrade in arms, my heartbeat–Ralph Poynter. Thinking about my realization and what it meant for our future, I went to his motorcycle shop (small and virtually not for profit),mightily pregnant with our third child and said that I needed to get out of the school system–I loved the kids but could no longer be a part of what was being done to them. He asked, What did I want to do? I said, I always wanted to go to Law School. Without missing a beat, without saying how can we afford that now, he said, Well I guess you better go.
And go, I did. We were all but broke but Rutgers gave me what my grandchildren now call a “free ride”. Admissions liked my militant background, I think. And so, in September 1971, I showed up on Newark Avenue for orientation –some boring speechifying I thought . Was I ever wrong ??!! First we were informed that Rutgers had achieved an admission of over 50% women, and as I looked around I saw sisters of all colors and ages and economic strata. After prolonged applause, a small dynamo of a man with a long tie was introduced. His voice was not memorable but Oh! his words as he spoke to us that afternoon so long ago !! It was, of course, Arthur Kinoy, Civil, Human Rights warrior and Innovator and Creative Force of the Law. I came home that day with my heart and mind full of dreams–all Inspired by Arthur.
And in all the years that have followed, that flame that was lit that day has continued to flourish for me. Shortly after my arrest in 2002, at a rally at Cardozo Law School, Arthur spoke and reminded us all that cases like mine are won not only in the Courts but on the Streets. Still true today and especially now, for me. He also did me the greatest honor when he dubbed me a “People’s Lawyer”— my hero, Arthur Kinoy denoting Me with his highest praise.
Never in my legal career was I ever a great student or scholar. As a matter of fact at Rutgers I may be more remembered for the motorcycle I rode to school than for brilliant analysis in class. (As an aside I was so delighted to see that Al Slocum was also an awardee tonight. He was my professor in Criminal Law (Procedure?) also that first semester. He was my kind of down to earth, critical thinking, kick their asses Black Man that I have always loved and respected — and he could teach, too !)
To pick up the thread again, I came to Rutgers. I made mediocre grades except with the classes I loved, KInoy, Slocum, Smith. I graduated, passed the bar (flunked in NY and had to take it again !) and the rest is history. My career as a trial lawyer fulfilled my great desire for joinder against the State on behalf of the downtrodden, oppressed—and I loved it. I still can’t pass those courthouses in which I worked for 30 years, with a dry eye.
Now I am ready to dedicate myself to the next phase of my life. First to come home myself and then I see myself fighting to bring home all of the political prisoners, who have sacrificed their lives for causes and community. I see myself taking up the cause of women in prison and the inequities they and their children face. Mostly, I hope I will be able to speak to new would-be lawyers who have just embarked on the yellow brick road toward justice and rouse their hearts and souls as Arthur Kinoy once did mine.
November 11th, 2013
THE RUTGERS SCHOOL OF LAW | NEWARK CHAPTER OF THE NATIONAL LAWYERS GUILD PRESENTS:
THE SECOND ANNUAL ARTHUR KINOY AWARDS CEREMONY
Wednesday, November 13
Rutgers School of Law | Newark
Please Join the National Lawyers Guild in Celebrating the Memory of Rutgers Law School’s Very Own People’s Lawyer!!!
This is an excellent opportunity to network with public interest students, alums, lawyers, advocates and organizers while enjoying delicious food and drink.
(Vegan Options Available)
Professor Gary Francione is returning to host this event recognizing people’s lawyers in the name of Arthur Kinoy:
Steven Gotzler, Legal Program Assistant at the ACLU-PA
and Connie Pascale, Vice-President and Assistant General Counsel at Legal Service of NJ
SEE YOU THERE!!!
Sliding Scale Admission:
•$5-15 Recent Alum and General Public
NO ONE WILL BE TURNED AWAY!
November 2nd, 2013
I have fears for Tom Turkey, this year.
Tom is the live Thanksgiving* Turkey donated to the White House for the dinner. And every year since he has taken office, Obama has pardoned him. I am afraid for the poor bird this year since this same President does not seem to have it in his heart or intellect to understand the true nature of Mercy to be shown to birds, not to mention human beings.
While the government opens and closes and the debt ceiling rises and falls, thousands in the federal prisons are awaiting the fateful word on whether their requests for release, based on terminal illness, age, loss of ability to function, extended sentence and simple justice to undo evils of the past, will be granted or not. This suffering humanity is only to be compared to the WWII prison camps and the death and destruction of the endless wars. We have only empty words of Attorney General Holder about Intentions — no concrete actions. We have a report from the Inspector General’s office citing compassionate release as “cruelty” because so many die before any decision is ever reached. As far as pardons and clemency are concerned–the wait is two to three years and Obama has exercised his ” benign perogative” only 39 times. The despised Reagan and Bush both did ten and three times as many. So all of you (us) who voted Obama as being the lesser of the two evils (which is still evil, remember !) need to hold his forgetful feet to the fire.
But then again, maybe my concern for Tom Turkey is premature. Maybe this austere President will once again do the right thing for the poor bird. After all, he has impressionable children who might be distressed at the slaughter of the Turkey. I just want him to remember all the impressionable children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of the prisoners who are waiting. I have a cousin who has a Turkey farm in Duanesburg, NY. I’m sure Tom would be happy to be there and live out his life with the other turkeys. As for me, I have a family and a shortened life waiting for me in Brooklyn,NY. I, like Tom, would be happy to be there if only the President and his bureaucrats can find the heart.
* Thanksgiving is not my name for this holiday. Rather as some prominent Native American activists suggest it should be Thanks-taking. And those who fast on this day at Plymouth Rock have my respect, solidarity and esteem.
October 28th, 2013
Brothers and Sisters of the National Lawyers Guild
I wanted to send you this most important Health Bulletin–Not Personal (pause) but on the steady evisceration of the Right to Counsel, the bulwark of all we do. Within the last weeks, a suspect was forcibly detained for crimes against the US. He was taken from Libya to an offshore (ship?) where he was being interrogated, read tortured. When the Public Defenders of the Southern District of New York, where his case is ostensibly pending, attempted to have counsel appointed for him, they were turned down in no uncertain terms by Judges using the now all too common weasel words. But this is not a new phenomenon–it is apparent over and over again and the question remains–what are WE, who claim to be the last protection against an overreaching state going to do about it?
How important is this ? I need to tell a couple of anecdotes about lawyering–my dear deceased friend Bill Kunstler in the tumultuous years in which the FBI-JTTF was rounding up the remnants of the Underground, Sekou Odinga, a member of the Black Panthers and then the Black Liberation Army, related to me that he had been detained in a Queens NYC precinct for many hours, was being water boarded by the police in one of the toilets, and was really feeling it badly when all at once he heard the booming voice of the Great Kunstler echoing through the hallways demanding to see his client and he knew that he had been saved. The other story was one that I told at an earlier convention and a young lawyer from San Diego wrote to tell me that it had turned her life around. After my arrest, Ralph and I were stuck in Manhattan traffic, when a bicycle messenger pulled up and tapped on my window. When I opened it he said in an excited and joyous voice “You THE Lawyer !! You the LAWYER !!! Indeed I was and Indeed it was and is my greatest ambition and accomplishment to be THE lawyer.
Back in the day and I mean way back, when this adversary system had its origins, the accused had the right to select a champion to fight for their rights and I mean fight–jousting, swordplay, mace and chain — ok perhaps a little hyperbole, BUT the message is clear–we were hired for our brawn as well as brains, our courage as well as legal acumen. We need to get courage and creativity in combat, back into the equation. It’s not about schmoozing the prosecution or the Judge. How many courtrooms have I walked into where there was not one friendly face–there was just me and the client ? Even the stenographers were hostile ! And that’s ok because I was there for only one reason, the one I took an oath to zealously pursue, the defense of my client. Was it fearsome personally? Of course. But to do otherwise was more so.
I urge everyone to return to the days of robust lawyering. Be Bill Kunstler in the precinct. Be “THE LAWYER” . Be the champion who defends fearlessly. When I say that the right to counsel is being eviscerated I mean that the forces of the empire are very busy removing the nerves, the hearts and guts of the Fifth Amendment and leaving it a shell of what it was and can be. We are the opposition that need to gather our shields and swords in its defense and be selfless and brave. Let us press forward–Instead of the derision we often face, let us all strive to be “the Lawyer” respected and honored.
October 28th, 2013
Many thanks to all who took photos!
Read the rest of this entry »
October 24th, 2013
From Akiko Hoshino to Carole Seligman:
When we demonstrated against Tokushima prison with 430 people on September 8, we loudly shouted about freeing Mumia Abu Jamal and Lynne Stewart too. I am now sending you these pictures.
October 23rd, 2013
Raging Granny Julia Leak
Lynne Supporters in Minnesota!
Lynne Supporters in Seattle!
October 22nd, 2013
San Francisco, CA
October 13th, 2013
Click here to read a letter in support of compassionate release for Lynne from a fellow prisoner at FMC Carswell.
“For the past two years I have interacted with Ms. Stewart and she has been a God-send to not only me, but many numerous inmates with her positive attitude and wonderful living skills that she has imparted to others.”
October 11th, 2013
October 8, 2013
When the voices of the most vulnerable – including those confined to prisons – are heard, we know we are on the right track. When those who are the most isolated from their families, communities and the basic necessities of life are not only heard, but are leading and helping shape the demands of our larger, collective struggle for dignity and well being, the terms of the struggle are affirmed and fortified. When their voices are raised up by others in a joint struggle for dignity and well being, we get a glimpse of our collective humanity and the potential it holds for creating a qualitatively different world for us all.
Lynne Stewart understands this. She has dedicated more than three decades of service as a lawyer to the poor and the outcast, and to taking on cases that expose the unjust systems in which we live that feed on racism and exploitation. Lynne Stewart understands this and has written to us from her prison cell of the need to not only win her fight, but the fight of all political prisoners in this country, and prisoners around the world demanding justice and dignity.
Prisons from Pelican Bay to Guantanamo to Palestine are part-and-parcel of a political economy fueled by militarization, endless war, and forms of trade that deny the basic needs of and do violence to individuals, families, entire communities and the planet. Lynne Stewart is one of our formidable defenders of dissent against unjust systems, and for this she is dying in prison. She put out a call for us to come together on her 74th birthday to demand her release from imprisonment. This call is an expression of her insistence on her own humanity and dignity, the same humanity and dignity she has insisted on for her clients and for us all.
Let our voices continue to rise until her request for compassionate release is honored and she is home with her family. Let us all help bring Lynne Stewart home.
Mich Levy, co-founder of the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network
October 11th, 2013
In our relatively short lifetimes the goal of fulfilling a mission, or creating an essence of a life eludes, or is minimized by most of us. Some of us start down that ethereal path only to be distracted, diverted or coopted by the cultural, social, economic and or political forces which dominate life and existence in our materialistic world.
Some, very few, amongst us are the true treasures of our mortal experience.
YOU, Lynne Stuart, are in that exclusive Club of Humanity. Underlying all you have done for the wretched who have entered your presence, is the most powerful guiding force and energy – Love. Permit me:
In life without fail
One treasure prevails
Not riches or pride
They fall to the side
Neither power or glory
The failed ageless story
No remnants of these
Shall precious life seize
Why have we not learned
Through millennia churned
Beyond and above
There is only Love
And so have you lived. They may weaken your body and take away your life but they can never extinguish the love which has permeated your life and work and blessed those who, even from afar, you have inspired.
As ever, and always,
October 11th, 2013
I am inspired by your courage, compassion and deep concern for others less fortunate, even in your trying circumstances. I hold you in deep respect for the extraordinary person you are, and my heart goes out to you for being so unfairly treated by a cold and heartless system. Along with thousands of others, I hold you in my thoughts and fervently hope that justice will prevail and you will soon be released from prison.
Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
October 11th, 2013
Dear Lynne Stewart
From occupied Palestine I follow your brave struggle with honour and admiration Yours is the struggle of all of us who fight for class and national liberation from neo-liberal and colonial opression. Your courage and determination strengthens us in carrying on our daily revolutionary tasks . It will definately enlighten the dark days which await the generation to come, until worldwide justice and equality would prevail.
October 11th, 2013
I can only say that I am horrified by the caging and torture of human beings, and actually of all creatures. To know that you, Lynne, a brilliant woman who has devoted all your energy to helping free others held in chains, are yourself caged and shackled even during mortal illness, makes me shudder, and is nearly impossible for me to contemplate. In the same way, the caging of Mumia, Leonard Peltier, the endless solitary confinement and mental torture of the recently deceased Herman Wallace of the Angola 3, and so many millions of others here and worldwide, makes me shudder with horror. All I can say is that your totally unjust suffering inflicted solely for your valiant work to help others is deeply felt by many.
With fervent wishes for your immediate release to the arms of your glorious and loving family,
October 8th, 2013
A Message for October 8, my 74 Birthday
It is certainly sobering to be celebrating the start of my 74 year mired down in this prison. It is even more so when there is my life line that must be considered. Nonetheless, I remain my ebullient self and face my fight and my future with optimism. Part of the reason for this is the wonderful mail I receive daily from people all over the U.S. and the world. From Tasmania to Tel Aviv (!?) people write and tell me of the role I play and have played in their lives. It is overwhelming sometimes.
Today, I have asked you all to rally once again on my behalf. (Little did we know they would close down the federal government last week. A conspiracy to keep me here? smile) By coming out and making another statement on my behalf, I think you are taking a stand for everyone behind bars. They can lock us down but they cannot lock us away from the people, who are now coming to have a different sense of the futility and cruelty of the prison system, and who will take action if called upon. I am happy to be the poster girl, oops, woman for this. I know it will never be a some time thing for me and that when I am in the world again (and I WILL BE IN THE WORLD AGAIN !) this struggle is one that I must continue. I hope we all give a heartfelt wish for health and release for Herman Wallace, a valiant warrior, our brother comrade, who is dying in Angola, after 40 years of solitary. [Herman Wallace died a free man shortly after his release.]
Hoping that it is a glorious day wherever you are hearing this–my mom always remarked that the Sunday I was born was perfect weather . I guess I am waxing nostalgic but blow out the candles and have a bite of the birthday cake and know that I am indebted to all of you and to our movement for the fabulous and courageous support you have shown me over these years. We go on to victory for one elder woman(me) but also to express our outrage at this heartless system.
Prisoner # 53504-054
October 8th, 2013
LONG LIVE LYNNE (A Birthday Message)
[col. writ. 9/27/13] © ’13 Mumia Abu-Jamal
When October 8th rolls around, people’s attorney, Lynne Stewart, will have reached her 74th year of life.
That she reaches it behind bars in one of the most backward states of the Union (Texas), is a mark of both her extraordinary work as a lawyer, and of the weakness of our Movements.
For Lynne should never have been jailed for what is, essentially, a prison rule (the so-called SAMs: Special Administrative Measures) – an unconstitutional one, at that – and a trial that was based more on hysteria than fact.
A New York jury, flashed film and photos of Osama bin Laden? Seriously? Who wouldn’t have been convicted?
But Lynne was targeted for her long and distinguished history as a lawyer of last resort: the unpopular the poor, the political and the downtrodden knew, from word on the street, that Lynne Stewart would take your case – and rumble.
The Establishment’s hatred of Stewart owes more to her successful defense of Larry Davis than the blind sheikh, Omar Abdel-Rahman (Davis was engaged in a gun battle with NY cops, after resigning from years of selling drugs for them, and lived; and Lynne helped beat the attempted murder charges)
for this she was targeted; for this she was tried; for this she was convicted; and for this, 2 years was quintupled into 10 years!
Lynne was convicted of treason to whiteness!
The rest is pretext; law practiced as politics to sow the seeds of fear in other lawyers –lest they forget their place.
Lynne should be free – only you can make it so!
Contact: lynnestewart.org, and fight for her who fought for you.
October 8th, 2013
Message from Dick Gregory in Celebration of the birthday of Lynne Stewart, October 8, 2013
Sisters and Brothers,
SIx months and four days ago, on April 4, 2013, I made a commitment to refuse all solid food “until Lynne Stewart is freed and receives medical treatment in the care of her family and with physicians of her choice without which she will die.”
It is a measure of the duplicity and brazen contempt for the law on the part of the Justice Department and those in power in the United States that the human rights of Lynne Stewart have been so cruelly defiled.
As we have seen with Herman Wallace, there is no injustice that shames or inhibits the powerful in their exploitative abuse of the great majority of our people. This vast prison apparatus is itself an instrument of terror.
It is Lynne Stewart’s role as a llfe-long defender of the oppressed and the abandoned that marks her as an enemy of the State.
Her real crime is her humanity and her punishment is designed to be an object lesson to us all.
The real agenda of the persecutors of Lynne Stewart is unmistakable. Our efforts to expose it have enabled Lynne’s application for Compassionate Release and the international petition in its support to galvanize people of conscience. Over 30,000 signed the first petition and the moral resonance of its appeal has been given expression widely by people and organizations who oppose injustice.
And yet Lynne Stewart is not free. The Stage Four Cancer that advances in her lungs and lymph nodes has compelled acknowledgement by the Warden in FMS Carswell and his prison medical staff. Their recommendation for Compassionate Release is a tribute as well to the Report by Human Rights Watch and the testimony before Congress by Michael Horowitz, Inspector General of the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
In spite of the indisputable medical evidence of the terminal nature of Lynne’s cancer, Charles E. Samuels, Jr., Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons remains guilty of what Jesuits call “invincible ignorance.”
in the face of the indisputable medical record and the urgings of the “finders of fact” at the federal prison where Lynne is held, the Federal Bureau of Prisons denied her Compassionate Release claiming that her health “was improving.”
For months now, this blatant falsification of the medical record by the Federal Bureau of Prisons has been publicized the world over. It has been presented to Judge John Koeltl, the sentencing judge. It has been corroborated by international legal and medical bodies.
The truth has aroused the conscience of growing number of people made aware of a vindictive State engaged in judicial murder.
Compelled anew by the findings of such international organizations as Lawyers Rights Watch Canada and the medical record itself, prison doctors themselves now acknowledge that Lynne Stewart has a life expectancy that can be measured in months.
I am sustained by the humor, humanity and indomitable will of Lynne Stewart.
May we be worthy of her nobility of spirit as we fight on to set her free.
October 8th, 2013
Many happy(?) returns. You are a wonderful inspiration with your zeal for justice and righteousness. This is a moral universe and eventually good and right will prevail. God bless you richly, +Desmond Tutu.