Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Why U.S. Political Prisoner Lynne Stewart's 10-Year Sentence Is Illegal: Part 1

In a legal brief that was submitted to the U.S. Court of Appeals on March 30, 2011, U.S. civil rights attorneys Jill Shellow and Robert Boyle indicated why the current imprisonment of U.S. civil rights attorney and anti-war Movement lawyer Lynne Stewart for 10 years in a Texas federal prison by the Democratic Obama Administration is apparently an illegal violation of her human rights. Following is an excerpt from this legal brief:

"First, the four-fold increase in Ms. Stewart's sentence was imposed in violation of her right to free speech and expression as guaranteed by the First Amendment. Acknowledging that there were no other changes in circumstances between 2006 and 2010, the lower court explicity relied on public statements made by Ms. Stewart--themselves taken out of context--to enhance her term of incarceration.

"Second, procedural error was committed when the District Court enhanced Ms. Stewart's offense level under the advisory Guidelines for obstruction of justice and abuse of trust. Given the government's tacit approval of the prior actions of her co-counsel in violation of the Special Administrative Measures (SAMs), it was reasonable for Ms. Stewart to believe that they afforded her discretion to take the actions that she did. Accordingly, she did not commit perjury and did not abuse a position of trust.

"Finally, the 120-month term imposed by the lower court is manifestly unjust. Confronted with virtually identical facts in 2006, the District Court determined that a 28-month term was `sufficient but not greater than necessary' to satisfy the goals of sentencing...Ms. Stewart is a 71 year-old woman in poor health who has devoted the bulk of her life to representing the poor and unpopular for little or no renumeration. The term imposed is far grater than necessary to achieve the goals set forth in 18 U.S.C. {}3553(a) and creates a real possibility that she will spend the rest of her life in prison..."

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