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August 5, 2013

Dying in federal prison, Lynne Stewart now arguing for compassionate release

As reported in this notable new New York Times piece, headlined "Dying Lawyer Asks Judge to Free Her From Prison," the last case being argued by a famous defense lawyer appears to be her own effort to avoid dying in prison. Here are the details:

Lynne F. Stewart, the outspoken former defense lawyer and a polarizing figure in the criminal justice system, is fighting her final battle.

In her long career as a lawyer, she came to be known as a brash and tireless champion of unpopular clients, including Mafia hit men like Salvatore Gravano and terrorist defendants like Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, the blind cleric convicted of conspiring to blow up the United Nations and other New York City landmarks.

It was that case that led to her own incarceration: she was convicted of smuggling messages from the imprisoned sheik to his violent followers in Egypt, and was sentenced in 2010 to 10 years in prison.

Now, 73 years old and dying from cancer in a prison hospital in Texas, Ms. Stewart has asked a judge to vacate her sentence after the Federal Bureau of Prisons rejected her request for a “compassionate release” under a program for terminally ill inmates.

“Isolated, in hospital, as I now am, I have time to contemplate life and death,” Ms. Stewart said recently in 12-page handwritten letter to the judge. “I do not intend to go ‘gently into that good night,’ as Dylan Thomas wrote. There is much to be done in this world.”

“I do know,” she added, “that I do not want to die here in prison — a strange and loveless place. I want to be where all is familiar — in a word, home.”

The release of a dying inmate must follow a request by the bureau that seeks a compassionate release from a judge. In weighing the issue, the bureau considers the inmate’s condition and whether the inmate could pose a threat outside prison, and also consults with prosecutors, said Ed Ross, a prisons spokesman.

But with the bureau’s rejection, Ms. Stewart’s lawyer, Jill R. Shellow, has gone directly to the judge who sentenced her client, John G. Koeltl of Federal District Court, asking for his help. In court papers, Ms. Shellow says that the circumstances of her client’s imprisonment — having to use a walker to get around, and being placed in shackles, a belly chain and handcuffs when she is transported to an outside cancer center — are “cruel and unusual and excessive” punishment, one of the grounds for which she is seeking Ms. Stewart’s release.

“This is not about the underlying crime,” Ms. Shellow said in a phone interview. “It has nothing to do with Lynne’s conduct. This has to do with how we as a society treat human beings who are dying.”

A spokeswoman for the United States attorney’s office declined to comment. In a brief proceeding last week, which was packed with Ms. Stewart’s supporters, a prosecutor, Andrew S. Dember, said a Bureau of Prisons decision about whether to ask a judge for a compassionate release “is totally their discretion, and is unreviewable by a court.” Judge Koeltl said he would hear arguments on the matter on Thursday....

Mr. Ross, the prisons spokesman, declined to comment on Ms. Stewart’s case, but he said that under new guidelines, prisons officials could now consider for compassionate release inmates with a “terminal, incurable disease whose life expectancy is 18 months or less.” The old policy was 12 months or less, he said.

Ms. Stewart was found to have breast cancer in November 2005; she underwent surgery and a course of radiation followed by hormone therapy that lasted for five years, her lawyer said in court papers. In July 2012, the medical staff at her prison, the Federal Medical Center Carswell, in Fort Worth, detected a mass in her left lung; doctors eventually determined that she had metastatic cancer that had spread to her lungs, lymph system and bones, the papers say.

In April of this year, she filed a formal request with Carswell’s warden for compassionate release, citing her illness and proposing that she be sent to Brooklyn to live with her son and his wife. Under the policy, the Bureau of Prisons must find “extraordinary and compelling” circumstances to justify making such a request to a judge, who has the final say.

In May, the warden recommended that Ms. Stewart’s request be granted, but it was rejected by the bureau in June. It said she was responding well to treatment, was ambulatory and was not suffering from a condition that was terminal within 18 months, the papers say.

Ms. Stewart is asking the bureau to reconsider, Ms. Shellow said on Monday. In her papers, Ms. Shellow argued that the bureau should have given Judge Koeltl the opportunity to act on Ms. Stewart’s application. The papers also cite a recent report by the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General, which criticized the Bureau of Prisons for its management of the compassionate release program and said it lacked standards for how much time it took to review inmate requests.

Mr. Ross said the agency had taken steps to expedite the handling of cases. He said that in 2012, the bureau submitted about 40 requests for compassionate release to judges, and all were approved.

August 5, 2013 at 11:20 PM | Permalink

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Comments

What do the doctors say? If she has less than 18 months to live I say let her go. If not, she can't end run the system like this. My father died of lung cancer, I drove him to treatments for eight months. It isn't fun or pleasant for anyone.

PS. "responding well to treatment" is total bs. Unless she is a miracle baby metastases are the end, no matter how well she responds. I've never heard of anyone with it spread as far as it has in her who makes a complete recovery.

Posted by: Daniel | Aug 6, 2013 12:16:14 AM

Wasn't it this self-same abettor of terror who sneered at her sentencing, “I can do that standing on my head”?

Fine. Let her.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Aug 6, 2013 12:46:24 AM

Not just no, but ______ no.

Posted by: federalist | Aug 6, 2013 1:07:43 AM

Why so little compassion?

Posted by: Carmen Hernandez | Aug 6, 2013 2:00:33 AM

@ Carmen Hernandez,

Compassion is providing her with acceptable medical care and making her as comfortable as possible as she declines. However, it does not include letting someone who sold out her own country do 30% of her sentence before being released. That would be an injustice.

Posted by: TarlsQtr1 | Aug 6, 2013 8:51:24 AM

Despite recent criticisms of the Compassionate Release Program by the BOP's own Inspector General, the BOP has a very poor record of complying with Congress's statutory mandate about releasing terminally ill inmates, particularly high profile inmates. When I was an inmate at UPS-1, Coleman, Florida, in August 2006, I prepared a Petition for Compassionate Release for the BOP's longest serving inmate, whose cancer had spread throughout his body. He had been in Federal prison since June 1964 (except for 13 days of parole in 1993, during which he had his brother robbed a bank), and was by then a withered old man who got around a maximum security penitentiary in a wheel chair. He had originally had a paroleable life sentence, for conviction for kidnapping resulting in death. He was illiterate, so the warden told him to find someone to help him Prepare a Petition, and he would approve it, and try to get him out of prison, so that he could die at a family home in Tennessee. Since I am a U.Va. Law School grad (and was the only lawyer in that prison), other inmates referred him to me. Because such Petitions have to be approved by the Warden, the Regional Director, the Medical Director of the BOP in D.C. and the Director of the BOP, before a Motion is filed before a Federal Judge, it usually just takes too long, and the inmates die before they can complete the process. That happened with the inmate I helped at USP-1. He died in his cell while sleeping within 3 weeks after his Petition was filed, while sitting on the Regional Director's desk. I watched his cellmate cry for 45 minutes, after he found the body upon returning to their cell from breakfast. The prison was locked down and work call was delayed, while his body was removed thru back hallways and the county coroner investigated. Federal prison Wardens don't like county coroners coming inside their prisons to investigate deaths, so they frequently move serious ill or injured inmates to outside hospitals to avoid coroner's investigations. The BOP incurs a lot of expenses when inmates die in prison, rather than out on the streets, at home. Among other issues, the BOP usually tries to get the family to consent to the cremation of the inmate's body,so that they can minimize shipping expenses. If the inmate has received Compassionate Release, the BOP completely avoids those costs. Unfortunately, our society and the BOP are far too much into punishing people and have no real compassion, even for people who are far too old and weak to be any threat to society.

Posted by: Jim Gormley | Aug 6, 2013 9:02:12 AM

TQ:

Please explain "specifically" how Lynne Stewart "sold out her country". What "terrorist" message(s) did she convey to his followers? Was it a signal to destroy vital US interests or was it a breach of "special administrative conditions"?

People (or sheeple) are easily swayed by weasel-words and I do not want to be one of these people!

Posted by: albeed | Aug 6, 2013 9:25:00 AM

Politics and compassion do not a good mix make - if the BOP was really serious about the concept of compassionate release, then it should consider removing the decision-making from the typical chain of command to some other insulated/isolated entity.

Posted by: alan chaset | Aug 6, 2013 9:34:10 AM

albeed,

Look it up. The prosecution played surveillance tape of her distracting guards so that Rahman's paralegal and interpreter could discuss with him operational strategy regarding his terror network in Egypt.

She is a bad, bad person and 12 jurors agreed with me.

Posted by: TarlsQtr1 | Aug 6, 2013 10:40:36 AM

@alan chaset,

Or they could do the right thing and eliminate "compassionate release" completely. We already have a system in place for this exact situation. It is called executive pardon/commutation.

The current "compassionate release" system and any "Bureau of Compassionate Release" you would invent serve only one purpose, to insulate politicians from their decisions and provide a faceless bureaucrat as a scapegoat. I, for one, desire more responsibility placed on our elected officials, who I can hold directly accountable.

Posted by: TarlsQtr1 | Aug 6, 2013 10:47:02 AM

Carmen Hernandez --

"Why so little compassion?"

Why so little accountability?

I mean it was Ms. Stewart, wasn't it, who chirped at her sentencing, "I can do that standing on my head"?

She did say that, didn't she?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Aug 6, 2013 11:03:19 AM

TarlsQtr1 --

Note that the voices now demanding "compassion" for criminals are from the same crowd that urged the Supreme Court to shamelessly muzzle their victims, Payne v. Tennessee, 501 US 808 (1991).

Compassion would seem to be a sometime thing.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Aug 6, 2013 11:15:51 AM

Bill,

Albeed cannot even admit that Omar Abdel-Rahman and his group, Al Gama'a al-Islamiyaa, are terrorists, so he must see her as some kind of saint.

How predictably pathetic.

Posted by: TarlsQtr1 | Aug 6, 2013 11:25:30 AM

Bill, So, in a moment of bravado, she said something stupid. So what. Have you never done the same?. You touted Christianity in some earlier e-mail on another thread. Have you lost all sense of compassion? Would you want to see your mother dying of cancer in prison? Stewart a devoted lawyer for years representing the most hated of person. Yes, she lost her way at the end. But she has paid a terrible price for her crime: her career and life are ruined. She is 73 and dying of metasasizing cancer. Let her die at home. You and federalist and TarisQtr are truly cold, cold, cold. The BOP's refusal to file its motion exempflifies everything that makes the American penal system the cruelest in the Western world.

Posted by: onlooker | Aug 6, 2013 11:31:12 AM

onlooker,

People die in prison all of the time, whether it be in America or the prisons of crumbling European states. Many of us (most?), will not get to die at home either, instead doing so on the street, or in an unfamiliar hospital bed crapping and peeing ourselves as our muscles relax during the final seconds. And I have not helped my nation's enemies.

The truth is that you don't give a damn about "compassion." There was no "compassion" from your ilk regarding Heston, Reagan, or Thatcher ("Ding dong, the witch is dead!") during their last moments and after. Madoff would get no similar call for compassion. No one put Stewart in the situation to die in prison but herself. Sometimes, our decisions come back to bite us in the backside. Her decisions did.

As I stated previously, the problem is not a compassionate release but WHO would give it. If the Boy King would like to offer her a commutation, that is his right as outlined by the constitution. He and his party can then be held accountable politically (and can also be held accountable if he decides NOT to give her one), just as our system intended. That is a far better solution than putting it all on a nameless and faceless bureaucrat who cannot be held accountable.

Posted by: TarlsQtr1 | Aug 6, 2013 12:02:11 PM

onlooker --

"So, in a moment of bravado, she said something stupid. So what."

So she forfeits any claim on "compassion," that's what.

"Have you never done the same?"

I have mouthed off, yes. But I have never mouthed off and then gone whining that the person to whom I gave the finger should cut me a special break.

"You touted Christianity in some earlier e-mail on another thread."

That is not true. I stated that Christian doctrine teaches that Christ's death was necessary to redeem mankind. I never said one way or the other whether I subscribe to that doctrine.

"Have you lost all sense of compassion?"

Nope.

"Would you want to see your mother dying of cancer in prison?"

I wouldn't want to seem my mother dying of cancer anywhere, although I did.

"Stewart [was] a devoted lawyer for years representing the most hated of person."

You think maybe there was a reason they were hated? Yes or no.

"Yes, she lost her way at the end."

No she didn't. The manner in which she represented Sheik Rahman was utterly consistent with her outlook on the law and on America (or Amerika, as she would say) for her entire career. The law was a tool to be manipulated, and Amerika was a shameful, imperialist and racist blight upon history. It is for exactly that reason -- and not because she "lost her way" -- that she was willing to help Rahman pass along messages to his terrorist comrades.

"But she has paid a terrible price for her crime: her career and life are ruined."

Is that what she thinks? I've seen no indication of it. She has no remorse whatever. She still thinks that she did the right thing, and that the problem is not her, it's the United States of Amerika. She doesn't view herself as ruined except in the sense that a martyr views himself as "ruined." She actually thinks of herself as a heroine. Do you doubt it?

"She is 73 and dying of metasasizing cancer."

That's what happens when you get old. Neither federalist, TarlsQtr or I create life and death.

"Let her die at home."

It's not up to me. If it were, I would consider compassionate release, but only if and after she admits that she intended to harm the United States, intended that more innocent people get killed (just as her client killed six such people in the first World Trade Center bombing), apologizes with genuine humility and remorse, and asks forgiveness for her crimes AND for her insolence about them.

"You and federalist and TarisQtr are truly cold, cold, cold."

Our personalities are irrelevant. As it happens, federalist and TarlsQtr (both of whom I am pleased to know) are anything but cold. You are welcome to think what you care to of me. I give my real name, and my public record is easy to find.

"The BOP's refusal to file its motion exempflifies everything that makes the American penal system the cruelest in the Western world."

Some of us discern a difference between cruelty and accountability.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Aug 6, 2013 12:29:54 PM

TQ:

"Albeed cannot even admit that Omar Abdel-Rahman and his group, Al Gama'a al-Islamiyaa, are terrorists, so he must see her as some kind of saint.

How predictably pathetic."

As Bill would say, show me where I said that. Will you admit that what you assigned to me is a complete fabrication and a figment of your imagination?

Posted by: albeed | Aug 6, 2013 1:17:53 PM

I full agree with Onlooker that the BOP's compassionate release program is largely a sham. Here, even the warden of the prison recommended that the motion be filed, but the BOP said no. This case amply supports the view that “American punishment is comparatively harsh, comparatively degrading, comparatively slow to show mercy.”James Q. Whitman, Harsh Justice (Oxford Press 2003) paperback ed. at 223. The case further illustrates that “contemporary policies concerning crime and punishment are the harshest in American history and of any Western country." Michael Tonry, The Handbook of Crime And Punishment (Oxford Press 1998 paperback ed.) at page 3.

Posted by: Michael R. Levine | Aug 6, 2013 1:18:15 PM

albeed,

You did not put "terrorist" in quotes by mistake...

Not surprisingly, you also still have not admitted that Stewart was convicted by a jury of her peers for "conspiracy to provide material support for terrorism" rather than only "special administrative conditions" which you put forth and is why you now are acting all butt hurt.

The latter sounds so much more benign than the former, correct?

Posted by: TarlsQtr1 | Aug 6, 2013 1:32:44 PM

Bill, greetings. In one of the comments above you asked whether there was a reason many of Stewart's clients were hated. I'm sure there were many reasons, but so what? The British soldiers who committed the Boston Massacre were hated and reviled too. So much so, that no lawyer would step forward to represent them except-- John Adams. I know that you agree that the glory of our county is that we recognize “the right of an accused to fearless, vigorous and effective advocacy, no matter how unpopular the cause in which it is employed.” Offutt v. United States, 348 U.S. 11, 13 (1954).

Posted by: Michael Levine | Aug 6, 2013 1:41:59 PM

Hi Michael --

Always good to see you here.

Whether a criminal defendant is hated is irrelevant to me. When I was the appellate guy in the USAO, I virtually never had feelings one way or the other. My job, like yours, was to make legal arguments in behalf of my client. As people like us know, "feelings" don't get you very far when you're standing at the podium of the court of appeals. They're really not interested.

I only mentioned hatred here because onlooker noted that some of Ms. Stewart's clients were hated. I wanted to remind him that there might be a reason they're hated and, implicitly, to remind him as well that the reason might be, not that the American public is full of hate, but that some people do such appalling stuff that the hatred is, for some people at least, a natural reaction.

In my opinion, no one's case should be decided on the basis of sentiment -- not Sheik Rahman's, Dzokhar Tsarnaev's, George Zimmerman's or, now, Lynne Stewart's.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Aug 6, 2013 2:08:40 PM

We already have a system in place for this exact situation. It is called executive pardon/commutation.

Yeah we know how well that works!

Posted by: Gunny | Aug 6, 2013 2:37:09 PM

Gunny,

I suspect that you do not like the current system because not enough pardons/commutations are given. Fine, then hold your executives (BHO and your governor) accountable.

If you have a rationale for believing that such decisions are better left to unaccountable bureaucrats, you sure have not provided it.

Posted by: TarlsQtr1 | Aug 6, 2013 3:21:31 PM

If you can't do the time don't do the crime ..........eos

Posted by: TheTruth | Aug 6, 2013 10:51:41 PM

The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice.

Posted by: W.S. | Aug 7, 2013 12:11:21 PM

"Wasn't it this self-same abettor of terror who sneered at her sentencing, 'I can do that standing on my head?'"

This is dishonest on several levels. She didn't "sneer." It wasn't "at her sentencing." And, most of all, it wasn't even in reference to this sentence.

Aside from that, this "abettor of terror" hyperbole is really too much to bear. As Scott Greenfield pointed out back in 2007, "[t]he real story is far less damning, and far less interesting." It's possible that Lynne Stewart is as deserving of prison as, say, Scooter Libby. (I doubt it, but it's possible.) But it's ludicrous to say that she deserves to die of cancer there.

Posted by: Michael Drake | Aug 8, 2013 1:42:35 AM

Citing Scott Greenfield in behalf of a defendant is like citing Nancy Grace in behalf of a prosecutor: You don't go there unless you're desperate.

She did sneer, it was at her sentence, and it was for the sentence she got in this case (albeit one that was overturned on appeal because it was scandalously low even by post-Booker standards).

"Aside from that, this 'abettor of terror' hyperbole is really too much to bear."

It sure is for those who see no great objection to helping convey operational messages for a convicted multiple murderer.

As is getting suggested, the people who want her released now are the same ones who never wanted her to be punished at all. There is a certain theory that blowing up buildings = helping the oppressed.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Aug 8, 2013 8:36:29 AM

@ Michael Drake,

I could only laugh at the full-throated "defense" of Stewart provided by you in the Scott Greenfield blog.

Essentially, the "defense" boils down to just a few sentences:

" Now, unbeknownst to Walter, the SAMS were there but universally viewed as one of those bizarre excesses of a certain right-wing Attorney General and Administration."

In addition to being completely false (although I have no doubt that they were "universally viewed" as "excesses" in the dinner parties attended by Greenfield in Manhattan), disagreement with the law is not an excuse for breaking it. Any attorney should know that.

"Included in this secret amendment was the authority to include attorney client conversations in the warrantless taps."

Again, this is an indictment of the SYSTEM and has nothing to do with what SHE did, abet a terrorist organization.

"Not a single act of violence was shown to have resulted from any of this."

Is it part of the law that an "act of violence" must be proven before it becomes a crime? Of course not. He banks on the improbability of ever being able to prove action B (violence) was the result of action A (her crime).

Essentially, the author looks to put the government on trial to get the spotlight off of Stewart. The entire argument is a logical fallacy. Is THIS the best a NY Law School grad can do? You attorneys make that much money for THIS garbage?

I am in the wrong profession.

Posted by: TarlsQtr1 | Aug 8, 2013 9:24:21 AM

Michael Drake stated: "But it's ludicrous to say that she deserves to die of cancer there."

And who said she does?

Her sentence was not to "die of cancer" in prison. It was to serve 10 years. Unless you are claiming the government gave her cancer (and there are some on this blog crazy enough to make such a claim), the cancer part is just an unfortunate circumstance brought on by her crime, not any action of the government.

Inmates die in prison all of the time, whether it be cancer, heart attacks, or inmate assaults. They do not "deserve" to die there either but that is life. The best guarantee against such an unfortunate circumstance is to not go to prison. Don't be a criminal.

Posted by: TarlsQtr1 | Aug 8, 2013 9:31:44 AM

@ Bill,

Not only did she make the "standing on my head" comment, but she also stated, "I might handle it a little differently, but I would do it again."

Lovely.

These people always choose the best characters to defend.

Posted by: TarlsQtr1 | Aug 8, 2013 10:00:12 AM

"She did sneer, it was at her sentence, and it was for the sentence she got in this case (albeit one that was overturned on appeal because it was scandalously low even by post-Booker standards)."

Your argument was that she should do this sentence because of what she said. But that's obviously a non sequitur if, as you now concede, what she said wasn't about this sentence.

And energetic as your rote repetition of your false statements is, it don't make it so. She didn't say it "at sentencing" She said it after sentencing, and outside the courthouse - to her friends and supports, whom she was likely trying to buck up with a little brave talk. (Here is the whole statement attributed to her - see if you can spot the "sneer": "I don't think anybody would say that to go to jail for two years is anything to look forward to. But -- as some of my clients once put it -- I can do that standing on my head.")

Your concluding, ad hominem sophistries don't merit reply.

Posted by: Michael Drake | Aug 8, 2013 11:35:06 AM

Michael Drake stated: "Your argument was that she should do this sentence because of what she said. But that's obviously a non sequitur if, as you now concede, what she said wasn't about this sentence."

But it was (at least partly), what GOT HER THIS SENTENCE.

The judge who went quite lightly on her the first time, cited her "lack of remorse" for extending the sentence. And note the first lines of the LA Times editorial:

"Is it fair to lengthen the prison sentence of a convicted defendant because she makes light of her offense and hints that she might commit it again? Or are unrepentant utterances by a lawbreaker — especially those that have a component of political advocacy — entitled to 1st Amendment protection?" http://articles.latimes.com/2012/mar/08/opinion/la-ed-stewart-20120308

Even the LA Times editorial, which supports Stewart, directly implies that she "made light of her offense", "might commit it again", is "unrepentant" and a "lawbreaker."

That is more damning a statement than any of you have uttered thus far.

You stated: "And energetic as your rote repetition of your false statements is, it don't make it so. She didn't say it "at sentencing" She said it after sentencing, and outside the courthouse - to her friends and supports, whom she was likely trying to buck up with a little brave talk."

A minor detail that is quite irrelevant. She said it about her sentence. That it was said 10 minutes later on the courthouse steps is a quibble that should be beneath you.

You stated: "(Here is the whole statement attributed to her - see if you can spot the "sneer": "I don't think anybody would say that to go to jail for two years is anything to look forward to. But -- as some of my clients once put it -- I can do that standing on my head.")"

LOL I wonder why you did not provide the video. Go to about the 13:20 mark. She is baiting and "sneering" the entire time, especially when she says "I can do that standing on my head." 15:30

http://www.democracynow.org/2006/10/17/civil_rights_attorney_lynne_stewart_sentenced

Posted by: TarlsQtr1 | Aug 8, 2013 12:50:01 PM

Michael --

It's really humbling to get chewed out by someone as important and accomplished as you (take yourself to be).

Posted by: Bill Otis | Aug 8, 2013 12:53:39 PM

TarlsQtr1 --

She sneaked around to facilitate the delivery of messages to a bunch of terrorists, broke her word, lied about it, got convicted, got a big break the first time around from a judge to whom she promptly gave the (rhetorical) finger, has never shown an iota of remorse for either her dishonesty or her treachery -- and all Michael can think of to do is criticize, not Little Miss Patriot, but me, by invoking some far-left fringe defense lawyer.

Compassion for traitors, contempt for AUSA's. That's how it is around here.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Aug 8, 2013 1:09:57 PM

wow, what a pair of wackos...

Posted by: Hap | Aug 8, 2013 1:51:38 PM

Hap: Thanks for the detailed and substantive response...

Bill: When you cannot get some (albeed) to admit that Rahman and his gang ARE terrorists, the level of discourse cannot be expected to be elevated. According to Hap, WE are the "wackos."

Too funny.

Posted by: TarlsQtr1 | Aug 8, 2013 2:54:01 PM

TarlsQtr1 --

"Wackos" (now), "dinosaur" (by Liz McD on another thread), "asshole" (by someone named Fran a few days ago), plus the multitudinous "bloodluster" (forever and ever), "Nazi" (Kent got called a Nazi because he had his picture taken is a business suit), etc.

And then the libs congratulate themselves on the informed, factual, "evidence-based" quality of their "argument."

Against that background, you have to give Michael Drake credit. His insults are at least a little interesting.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Aug 8, 2013 3:31:28 PM

I join W.S's wonderful expression above regarding the quality of mercy. I too believe that "mercy [should]season justice." Let Ms. Stewart (and all other prisoners suffering from terminal cancer and similar diseases) die at home.

Posted by: Michael R. Levine | Aug 8, 2013 6:24:01 PM

Isn't it funny how a liberal, when encountered with fact (such as a video showing her quite literally "sneering"), will always decline to talk about that in favor of an appeal to emotion (a logical fallacy).

Michael, predictability is your best trait.

Posted by: TarlsQtr1 | Aug 8, 2013 8:21:59 PM

TarlsQtr1, thank you for the video, which I hadn't realized existed. I just watched it. I don't think the word "sneer" means what you think it means.

That said, you and Bill "Just look at my CV!" Otis make a charming tag-team.

Posted by: Michael Drake | Aug 8, 2013 10:39:11 PM

Michael Drake,

And I do not believe you know what the word "metaphor" is. You have the habit of arguing the detail when you have no premise to stand on. A sneer is a "look" of scorn, disgust, or contempt. If you want to make the silly argument that it was not a look, fine. There is no argument, however, that the scorn, disgust, and contempt were all there.

And do you think that getting paired with Bill Otis hurts my feelings? Try again. It is just another amateurish attempt to ignore facts such as A) she was guilty; and B) even the LA Times editorial, which otherwise supported her, saw her conduct on the steps as unrepentant.

Feel free to continue to obsess over minutiae and play the fool.

Posted by: Tarlsqtr1 | Aug 9, 2013 12:04:27 AM

I once helped represent a quintuple murderer. I have done pro bono for two habeas petitioners. I can honestly said I did my level best to represent their legal interests. Never in a million years would I consider smuggling their messages out so they could direct other criminal activity. Lynne Stewart went beyond legitimate advocacy--she put lives at risk and helped a terrorist---and she is unrepetant. Why in the world would she be a candidate for compassion? She wants to play radical chic, she's gotta live with that choice. And it ain't like she has spent decades in prison.

Bill hits the nail on the head when he juxtaposes the lionization of Stewart with the pillorying of those who simply believe that she should remain in jail. Why the hostility in service of an unrepetant criminal? It's obvious---Drake is a fellow-traveler of this witch.

Posted by: federalist | Aug 9, 2013 1:14:59 AM

Michael Drake --

"That said, you and Bill 'Just look at my CV!' Otis make a charming tag-team."

1. Thank you for putting me together with TarlsQtr1. He's a friend of mine and an exceptionally adept mind. I was very lucky to meet him. I am also grateful to be lumped with Kent, federalist, tmm, Adamakis, MikeinCT and a number of others, whose research (and often analytical) skills surpass mine.

2. I think you are attributing to me the wrong CV. According to recent entries on this blog, my CV is: wacko, dinosaur, asshole, bloodluster and Nazi. I'm sure I'm missing quite a few, and I have omitted your own contributions.

3. Let me make a suggestion. If you deal with me as do, for example, Michael R. Levine and (most of the time) Doug Berman, I think the tenor of our exchanges will improve. Sniping, no matter how clever, on your part or mine, just doesn't make for a pleasant day. I have more pressing things to do, and I'm sure you do too.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Aug 9, 2013 2:12:29 AM

Bill,

You've made many no-nonsense observations on this blog about the criminal justice process. On the other hand, few do as much as you to derail the discussion threads out of the starting gate. Unlike Doug Berman and Michael Levine, I tend to focus on the more negative remarks you make, and the tenor of my criticisms generally matches the tenor of the comments I'm criticizing. (If anything, I'd say mine are usually more understated.)

In this thread, I criticized your misleading argument about Stewart's desert and pointed out the mistatements of fact that it rested on. I also argued that your use of the phrase "abettor of terror" was hyperbolic. To be sure, I didn't hide my distaste for your remarks; but then neither did you for Daniel's.

Your response was to insinuate that I had "no great objection to helping convey operational messages for a convicted multiple murderer," and to associate me with those who believe that "blowing up buildings = helping the oppressed." My pointing out that these were rank sophistries only led you to raise the stakes with yet more personal attack.

Now, please forgive me for saying so, but that sort of thing, combined with your apparent pride in being counted among those who (other than Kent, and maybe a couple of the others you mention) clearly have no interest in careful, cooperative discussion (see, e.g., federalist's latest — in which I'm cast as a "fellow traveler" of the "witch" Stewart), leaves me with little confidence that you and I would enjoy greater detente if only I would only strike a more pleasant tone.

What you are right about, though, is that we both have better things to do. So I'll go do those now.

Posted by: Michael Drake | Aug 9, 2013 4:49:31 PM

TQ:

"Bill: When you cannot get some (albeed) to admit that Rahman and his gang ARE terrorists, the level of discourse cannot be expected to be elevated. According to Hap, WE are the "wackos.""

You did not answer my questions as yet, by showing where I said Rahman et al were not terrorists. You also did not respond to my request defining the term "sold out her country" which could mean anything and nothing. That's two strikes for you, even though you think you are batting 1.000 and are a legend in your own mind.

You misread my intentions with the quotation marks and think you are an Eastern Kentucky genius. I do not respond to you because most of your comments are hyperbole and drivel. Why waste my time?

Posted by: albeed | Aug 9, 2013 8:41:52 PM

albeed stated: "You did not answer my questions as yet, by showing where I said Rahman et al were not terrorists."

Actually, I never stated that you "said" it but I sure did respond to your statement that implied it. See: Posted by: TarlsQtr1 | Aug 6, 2013 1:32:44 PM

albeed stated: "You also did not respond to my request defining the term "sold out her country" which could mean anything and nothing."

Uh, actually I did at: Posted by: TarlsQtr1 | Aug 6, 2013 10:40:36 AM

albeed stated: "That's two strikes for you, even though you think you are batting 1.000 and are a legend in your own mind."

Sure, albeed. It is I who has the ego problem. LOL Believe me, I take no credit for showing you the fool because you did all of the heavy lifting.

albeed stated: "You misread my intentions with the quotation marks..."

Sure I did, and you just never chose to correct me, even now. LOL

Let's revisit the sentence: "What "terrorist" message(s) did she convey to his followers?"

There is no other logical explanation for putting quotes around terrorist OTHER THAN questioning whether he is a terrorist.

That leaves only one other option. You meant to question whether the message was terror related. That leaves you with two problems. The message in question got her convicted of "conspiracy to provide material support for TERRORISM." Not even the supportive LA Times editorial questions this fact about the message. The other problem is that the correct punctuation would then have to be "terrorist message(s)", around both words.

You stated: "... and think you are an Eastern Kentucky genius."

Actually, I only know that you are a fool. Please take a critical thinking class at the adult learning annex to figure out what logical fallacy you just committed.

You stated: " I do not respond to you because most of your comments are hyperbole and drivel. Why waste my time?"

LOL You "do not respond" to me, yet how many times did you "respond" on this thread alone? Who initiated this conversation? Did I respond to you or you to me? Do you even think before clicking "Post"?

Posted by: TarlsQtr1 | Aug 9, 2013 9:45:32 PM

Michael Drake --

So your preference is to leave things as they are?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Aug 9, 2013 10:45:34 PM

Bill, not to leave things the way they are; just to leave.

Posted by: Michael Drake | Aug 9, 2013 11:13:53 PM

According to the N.Y. Times, on August 9, 2013, acting on the request of Stewart's laywer for release from priosn, judge John G. Koeltl of United States District Court, said he could not order such a release under a federal Bureau of Prisons program for terminally ill inmates without the bureau’s first making a motion seeking such action. But the judge suggested that he would look favorably upon such a request if it were presented by the bureau.

“The court would give prompt and sympathetic consideration to any motion for compassionate release filed by the B.O.P, but it is for the B.O.P. to make that motion in the first instance,” he wrote.


Ms. Stewart, who was found to have breast cancer in 2005, is serving her sentence in a prison hospital at the Federal Medical Center Carswell in Fort Worth, where doctors last year determined that her cancer had spread to her lungs, lymph system and bones, court papers show.

In April, she asked the Bureau of Prisons for a compassionate release, a request that the prison warden recommended be approved. In June, the bureau’s director rejected the request.

So Judge Koetl, who imposed 10 years, would show mercy, as would the warden.

Only the BOP and certain commentators here would not. Mercy is not part of their lexicon. The fact that Stewart is 73 and that "her cancer has spread to her lungs, lymph system and bones" leaves these folks cold. They just sing a song to themselves in the shower-- "if you can't do the time, don't do the crime." yada, yada, yada, let that cancer spread; let her suffer; let her pay the price; stretch her out on the wrack--tighten the rope-- she must pay. -- These folks can sleep soundly knowing justice is being served until she draws her last breath. Forget about that nut poet who wrote that justice should be seasoned with mercy. There is no mercy here.

Posted by: Michael R. Levine | Aug 10, 2013 12:58:50 PM

@ Michael Levine-Could you do me a favor and sit next to albeed at the adult learning annex? Perhaps you could collaborate to count the logical fallacies in your post...

You stated: "...let that cancer spread; let her suffer;..."

What a shame (especially for your clients)that this is the best you can come up with.

Posted by: TarlsQtr1 | Aug 10, 2013 4:55:40 PM

Michael R. Levine --

I respectfully disagree.

"So Judge Koetl, who imposed 10 years, would show mercy, as would the warden."

Koetl originally gave her 28 months, a sentence so appallingly low that the liberal Second Circuit unanimously reversed it and sent it back. Koetl then imposed ten years, in part because Stewart had all but laughed in his face about the huge break he had given her. But the point to remember is that Koetl never really wanted to give any serious sentence to start with. It's therefore no surprise that he wants to jump on the chance to do through the backdoor what the appellate court refused to allow him to do directly.

"Only the BOP and certain commentators here would not."

Are you sure of that? I would think it highly likely that the USAO which prosecuted her, the families of the victims her client gleefully killed the first time around, and thousands if not millions of ordinary citizens would prefer to grant mercy elsewhere.

"The fact that Stewart is 73 and that 'her cancer has spread to her lungs, lymph system and bones' leaves these folks cold."

For the most part it leaves me cold, yes. This is because Stewart now wants to play the victim while STILL not having an ounce of remorse for the future victims her deceitful assistance to the terrorist Sheik was designed to abet. You might notice that my stance here is that I would consider compassionate release, but only if Stewart shows a glimmer of understanding that her crimes were wrong -- or even, indeed, that she recognizes that they were crimes at all.

While she remains unrepentant, bitter and hateful toward the United States, there is not much impetus to view her sympathetically. If she wants a change of heart, is it unreasonable for us to want to see that she's changed hers?

"They just sing a song to themselves in the shower-- "if you can't do the time, don't do the crime." yada, yada, yada..."

That federalist, I and others find her request deficient does not make us inhuman any more than sympathizing with her makes others treasonous.

"...let that cancer spread..."

Cancer spreads whether or not you're in prison.

"...let her suffer..."

Death and dying come to us all.

"..let her pay the price..."

Yes, criminals should pay the price, and serious criminals should pay a serious price.

"...stretch her out on the wrack--tighten the rope-- she must pay..."

I think what you're describing here is the attitude of the Jihadists she had no problem illegally helping. Where was her compassion for their victims?

"These folks can sleep soundly knowing justice is being served until she draws her last breath."

My sleep doesn't have anything to do with Lynne Stewart, and, to be honest, it's true that I will not take notice of her last breath. If they were honest, the overwhelming majority of people who read this blog don't care about it either, and when she dies, it won't make a particle of difference in their lives. The reality of it is that they'll care more if their eighth grader is flunking algebra or if their dog is at the vet. Do you disagree?

"Forget about that nut poet who wrote that justice should be seasoned with mercy. There is no mercy here."

As noted, Stewart would have a more persuasive case if she looked in her own heart first, before expecting others -- others about whom she cared and cares nothing -- to look in theirs.

Still and all, she doesn't have to rely on the relatively quite obscure actions of BOP. She can ask the President of the United States for a commutation or pardon. I'm all for letting this question be debated loudly, openly, and in the light of day. If this is to be a test of the nation, let it be decided by the nation's head.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Aug 10, 2013 5:19:09 PM

Bill, greetings. My last e-mail was somewhat emotional, but I don't like to see anyone dying in prison from metastasizing cancers. Both our mothers died of cancer (I think you said yours did; if not, I apologize), but mine (and yours) were surrounded by loving friends and family .

I do not excuse Stewart's serious crime. I understand and respect your point of view. However, my understanding differs from yours. You wrote that Stewart "remains unrepentant, bitter and hateful toward the United States" How do you know that? But even if she does, the attitude would not be surprising for an attorney who devoted herself to the law for he life and who then receives a 10 year sentence and perceives that to be unjust. Iny any event, I am informed that Lynn Stewart, in her sentencing letter to the court, did accept responsiblity for her actions. According to the New York Times, Stewart "acknowledged ... that she knowingly violated prison rules and was careless, overemotional and politically naïve in her representation of a terrorist client." This shows a measure of remorse, even it falls short of what you might like to see.

As to Mr. TarlsQtr1, whoever you are, I was always taught, and truly believe, that ad hominem attacks bring dishonor upon those who make them, not those who receive them, particularly where the attacker remains hidden behind a cloak of anonymity.

Posted by: MIchael R. Levine | Aug 10, 2013 6:02:30 PM

Michael R. Levine stated: " . I understand and respect your point of view."

This is a blatant falsehood. No sane person could read your previous post and interpret it as understanding and respecting the point of view held by Bill or me. You may lie for a living but you do not get paid to do it here.

You stated: " As to Mr. TarlsQtr1, whoever you are, I was always taught, and truly believe, that ad hominem attacks bring dishonor upon those who make them, not those who receive them, particularly where the attacker remains hidden behind a cloak of anonymity."

It takes some nerve to make this statement just a few hours after claiming mercy is not in my lexicon or that I cheer the spread of her cancer and death, don't you think?

If you can still do so without getting sick, take a look in the mirror.

Posted by: Tarlsqtr1 | Aug 10, 2013 6:20:42 PM

Michael R. Levine --

You're memory is correct. I did say my mother died of cancer, as did my father. It took a good run at me, too. (Try Googling: Determined Lawyer Becomes Cancer Warrior). My story is in the first entry. When you click it, I'm the one on the right side of the page, not the "Needlework Enthusiast." I'm pictured with my wife Lee, a co-founder of the REAL vast right-wing conspiracy (the Federalist Society), former Scalia clerk and Associate White House Counsel. (And yes, I am flagrantly bragging).

I might add that when I was initially denied a transplant, I did what I usually did -- appealed.

Good thing too. A transplant is the only way out. When I was told that I wasn't going to get one, my chances of survival were less than 1 in 10,000.

In other words, I'm not here merely to irritate the defense bar (although guilty as charged on that one). I'm here mainly because, as I found out relatively late in life, miracles actually do happen.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Aug 10, 2013 6:51:53 PM

Tarlsqtr1,

You are one angry, bitter, and merciless man.

Posted by: onlooker | Aug 10, 2013 6:55:14 PM

Bill, glad you survived to annoy and irritate the defense bar. We need it.
I too survived. When my doctor told me I needed a triple-bypass, I asked him wh? He brought up his face up next to mine and looked me straight in the eyes and said, "Mr. Levine, if you don't have this operation, you will be dead very shortly." Needless to say, I went into surgery within the hour.

So lets up we keep on having good debates until the powers that be shut the lights.

Posted by: Michael R. Levine | Aug 10, 2013 7:05:17 PM

TarlsQtr1,

You fault Mr. Levine and imply his clients suffer with his advocacy. I beg to differ. I have subscribed to hThis acclaimed publication is relied upon by defense attorneys across the country. I am informed that Levine is a highly effective advocate at sentencing.

What have you written that folks rely on?

Posted by: observer12 | Aug 10, 2013 7:13:44 PM

TarlsQtr1, sorry last post got truncated.

You fault Mr. Levine and imply his clients suffer with his advocacy. I beg to differ. I have subscribed to his wonderful "171 Easy Mitigating Factors" for years. This acclaimed publication is relied upon by defense attorneys across the country. I am informed that Levine is a highly effective advocate at sentencing.

What have you written that folks rely on?

Posted by: observer12 | Aug 10, 2013 7:16:20 PM

I subscribe to "171 Easy Mitigating Factors" as well. I can't tell you how many years it has saved my clients. A wonderful and absolutely essential resource.

Posted by: Dave from Illinois | Aug 10, 2013 7:19:50 PM

Michael --

At our age, every trip to the doctor is a little nervous-making.

The only way to go is to keep fighting. Glad you won yours.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Aug 10, 2013 7:21:23 PM

TarlsQtr1,

Don't be so angry. Lighten up. Have a drink. Smoke a joint. Relax.

Posted by: Amy | Aug 10, 2013 7:21:27 PM

http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=185039757578834143&q=lynne+stewart&hl=en&as_sdt=2,14

For those who care, that's a link to the 2d Circuit's opinion.

She belongs in prison.

Posted by: federalist | Aug 10, 2013 7:27:37 PM

TarlsQtr1,

I reread my posts. I apologize to you for suggesting that you are cheering at the spreading of Stewarts' cancer. This was over the top. And you were right that I acused you of doing the very thing I did to you. I was wrong and I apologize.

Posted by: Michael R. Levine | Aug 10, 2013 7:28:56 PM

onlooker stated: "You are one angry, bitter, and merciless man."

And what do you call a person who claims, without a shred of evidence or conscience, that others are rooting for Stewarts's cancer, suffering, and death?

All that you,Levine, albeed, etc. are capable of is what has come to be described as "tyranny of the mind." You threaten, bluster, and bully people into thinking the way you do. If not, the only response is that they must be "bitter" or "merciless."

Think about it. To all of you, Stewart is deserving of "mercy" but you would not give me a drink of water in the desert. Your "mercy" is not real. It is political.

Your way of thinking is laziness and out of the same tradition as McCarthyism. McCarthy invented it, you guys perfected it.

Posted by: TarlsQtr1 | Aug 10, 2013 7:29:00 PM

observer12 stated: "You fault Mr. Levine and imply his clients suffer with his advocacy."

That is truly my fault. I intended to imply that the attorney profession suffers with his advocacy.

You stated: "What have you written that folks rely on?"

Would it make my point of view more or less wrong or are you just engaging in more logical fallacies?

Posted by: TarlsQtr1 | Aug 10, 2013 7:32:51 PM

Michael R. Levine has apologized to TarlsQtr1 and admits he was wrong. I've been reading this blog for years and don't recall anyone ever apologizing to anyone else in this manner. Am I wrong? In any event, this give me great hope. Kudos to Levine. Let the debates continue!

Posted by: astounded | Aug 10, 2013 7:34:07 PM

Amy stated: "Don't be so angry. Lighten up. Have a drink. Smoke a joint. Relax."

Hey, I am not the one accusing the others of cheering cancer (since retracted). Your guidance is clearly misdirected.

Michael Levine,

Thanks for the retraction.

Posted by: TarlsQtr1 | Aug 10, 2013 7:36:04 PM

astounded --

Michael R. Levine wrote his post when he was wound up, as can happen. It's happened to me. Sometimes it happens to Doug. The ideology of the author makes less difference in these things than his personality.

The difference, as you note, is that Mr. Levine apologized. A sincere apology when you've gone off track is one of the surest signs of class, and Mr. Levine has a world of class. If the comments section of this blog had more of him, and less of "bloodluster," "wacko," "asshole," "Nazi," "ad hominem sophistries," and that sort of thing, it would be a different experience.

Reasonable people of good faith reach starkly different conclusions about all manner of touchy issues. That's just how the world of argument works. The question is not whether you're going to disagree, but how you handle disagreement.

Mr. Levine gave us an example tonight.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Aug 10, 2013 11:34:18 PM

i can't say much about her sentence and the mess now. My only problem with the women is she was retarded enough to agree to the "special conditions" in the first place!

What she should have done was stood up and said "Not a chance in hell" "But i will trump you with a companion civil rights lawsuit for your violation of my clients right to the councel of his choice!"

"Since he wants me and ain't no way in hell am i agreeing!"

Then let the chips fall where they may!

Posted by: rodsmith | Aug 10, 2013 11:59:22 PM

rodsmith --

As is often the case, you cut through the BS. Lynne Stewart had a choice: Agree to the special conditions and then keep her word, or refuse to agree and litigate their constitutionality. The option she did not have was to give her word and then break it.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Aug 11, 2013 7:36:32 AM

lol thanks bill. you were doing great till you said this!

" The option she did not have was to give her word and then break it."

Sorry but our govt has been doing the same since the 1700's with the first indian treaties. Sorry but there is not a bigger bunch of lieing sack of shits in the world than that buch in washington!

But i do agree she should not have agreed and then broke her word! since their demand was patently illegal in a lawyer-client context!

2 min's in front of a really impartial judge would have confirmed that! But since she chickend out and did it the way she did i'm sure she was not the only one who has gotten hit with them since!

Posted by: rodsmith | Aug 11, 2013 9:44:34 PM

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