NEW Petition to Free Lynne Stewart: Support Compassionate Release
Renowned defense attorney Lynne Stewart, unjustly charged and convicted for the “crime” of providing her client with a fearless defense, is dying of cancer while imprisoned in the Federal Medical Center, Carswell, Texas.
Your action now can lead to her freedom so that she may live out her remaining days with the comfort and joy of her family and those closest to her, including her devoted husband Ralph Poynter, many children, grandchildren, a great grandchild and lifelong friends.
The conservative medical prognosis by the oncologist contracted by the prison is that Lynne Stewart has but 16-months to live. Breast cancer, in remission prior to her imprisonment, reached Stage Four more than a year ago, emerging in her lymph nodes, shoulder, bones and lungs.
Despite repeated courses of chemotherapy, cancer advances in her lungs, resistant to treatment. Compounding her dire condition, Lynne Stewart’s white blood cell count dropped so low that she has been isolated in a prison hospital room since April 2013 to reduce risk of generalized infection.
Under the 1984 Sentencing Act, upon a prisoner’s request, the Bureau of Prisons can file a motion with the Court to reduce sentences “for extraordinary and compelling reasons,” life threatening illness foremost among these.
Lynne Stewart’s recent re-application for compassionate release meets all the criteria specified in guidelines issued by the Bureau of Prisons in August 2013.
These “new guidelines” followed a searing report and testimony before Congress by the Department of Justice’s Inspector General Michael Horowitz. His findings corroborated a definitive report by Human Rights Watch. Inspector General Horowitz excoriated the Federal Bureau of Prisons for the restrictive crippling of the compassionate release program. In a 20-year period, the Bureau had released a scant 492 persons – an average of 24 a year out of a population that exceeds 220,000.
Over 30,000 people of conscience from all walks of life in the United States and internationally took action to free Lynne Stewart following her first application for compassionate release in April of this year.
Among those who raised their voices are former Attorney General Ramsey Clark – who was co-counsel in the case that led to Lynne Stewart’s imprisonment, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former President of the United Nations General Assembly, Father Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann, Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Ed Asner, Daniel Berrigan, Liz McAllister Berrigan, Richard Falk, Daniel Ellsberg, Noam Chomsky, Cornell West, Dick Gregory, Alice Walker and Bianca Jagger.
They along with thousands of individuals and organizations, such as the Center for Constitutional Rights, the National Lawyers Guild and Lawyers Rights Watch Canada, directed letters, phone calls and public declarations to the Federal Bureau of Prisons Director Charles E. Samuels, Jr. and to Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr.
Dick Gregory has refused all solid food since April 4 and his remarkable moral witness will not end until Lynne Stewart is released.
We call upon all to amplify this outpouring of support. We ask all within our reach to convey to Bureau of Prisons Director Samuels his obligation to approve Lynne Stewart’s application and instruct the federal attorney to file the requisite motion for Lynne Stewart’s compassionate release.
Please sign this new petition and reach out to others to sign. The letter below will be sent on your behalf via email to Charles E. Samuels, Jr., Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons and to Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. Telephone calls also can be made to the Bureau of Prisons (202) 307-3250/3262.
Write to Lynne Stewart at:
Lynne Stewart #53504-054Unit 2N
Federal Medical Center, Carswell
P.O. Box 27137
Fort Worth, TX 76127
As you are aware, Lynne Stewart is dying of cancer at the Federal Medical Center, Carswell, Texas with a prognosis that gives her less than 16 months to live. Warden Jody R. Upton has forwarded Lynne Stewart’s new application for compassionate release for your consideration with the appropriate medical and probation department documentation.
As delineated in the Federal Bureau of Prisons program statement of August 12, 2013 and as expressed by Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. in his remarks of the same day before the American Bar Association meeting in San Francisco, CA., Lynne Stewart meets all the Federal Bureau of Prisons guidelines for compassionate release for terminal medical conditions.
Lynne Stewart devoted her entire professional life to the poor and the oppressed. She worked tirelessly on behalf of impoverished youth as a school librarian in Harlem, New York. Then, as an attorney for over 30 years, she was unwavering as a selfless advocate for her clients.
I, along with people from all walks of life, as well as legal organizations in the United States and internationally, have been moved by the prospect that Lynne Stewart will either perish in prison, or so shortly after release will be on the verge of death that she will be denied the comfort and joy of being with family and those closest to her, including her husband, many children, grandchildren, a great grandchild and lifelong friends.
It is with the knowledge that every moment counts that I appeal to you as Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons to act expeditiously to instruct the federal attorney to file the motion with Judge John G. Koeltl of the Southern District of New York with your recommendation for compassionate release for Lynne Stewart.