Monday

Lynne gets 28 months...

Tragically, crusading attorney Lynne Stewart was sentenced to 28 months in prison today despite her admirable career and devotion to the poor and opressed. But thank heavens Judge Koeltl granted .her bail pending appeal.


Lynne

The entire case is a travesty.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is the working assumption here that if you have an admirable career and and are devoted to the poor and opressed, you should be allowed to support terrorism?

Anonymous said...

No, the working assumption is that the government will go after anyone who is willing to stick their neck out to represent people it deems to be terrorists.

After law school, the law professor who provided the bar review study program on criminal procedure warned us that if we went into criminal defense work and defended people charged with federal drug offenses, and were successful in that regard, that we could expect the government to send people into our offices asking us to defend them and attempting to set us up for accepting proceeds of drug transactions.

In other words, one of the country's leading experts on crim pro believes that success in defending against the government will lead to retaliation by that same government.

Last month the Senate voted to suspend habeas corpus for people the prez deems "enemy combatants." Almost all mainstream press accounts stated that this right, which originated in the Magna Carta, was intact for citizens.

Listen to what a federal judge posted to the NPR website about John Yoo and the tactics of the government regarding "terrorists:"

"Listening to John Yoo talk about this new legislation was chilling. I'm a federal judge, and have taught constitutional law for 16 years. The very idea of holding anyone without trial, without the right to see the evidence that was used to justify naming them an "enemy combatant," and depriving them of the ability to challenge why they are even there is so repugnant to a constitutional democracy that I am shocked that this man actually claims to be defending American values. These are the tactics of the old Soviet Union, not of a country that stands for freedom and the rule of law.
I also quibble with his contention that U.S. citizens still have the right to habeas review. I've read the law. The president can form his own tribunal, which can determine who is an "enemy combatant" (not just an alien enemy combatant), and the decision of that tribunal would not be subject to habeas review. Moreover, persons targeted by this tribunal would not even have access to the military tribunal trial created under this law.
How easy it would be for a president to use such a law to make his political enemies simply disappear. Can this be America?"

So, while you follow the Cheney admin's lead, believing that anyone who believes in enforcing the Constitution the Prez vowed to uphold must be "for the terrorists," there are many out there who believe we are becoming like our enemy, and abandoning our Constitution and the principles that make us a great nation, in our quest to defeat them.

The working assumption I have is that when an administration leaks, but threaten other leakers with prosecution, when it calls the Geneva conventions "quaint" and leads us into a war based on a lie, and when the President willingly violates the Constitution he swore to uphold, justifying it as a legitimate way to fight terrorism, it is entirely proper to view the prosecution of a defense lawyer with skepticism.

Anon said...

Pogo was right: "We have met the enemy and they is us!"

Eddie Merkin said...

As a PD in NY, I have followed the case somewhat closely and had conflicted feelings about the whole thing. While Ms. Stewart's body of work and devotion speak for itself, I was a little turned off by her "I can do the time standing on my head." comment.

It appears the judge was very courageous in handing down the sentence and many, many people came forward on her behalf. Her comment, albeit flip, seems to undermine her portrayal as a victim and having health issues.

IMHO, these comments affect all of us as defense attorneys