Federal Judge Sentences Lynne Stewart to Death

ACTIVISM, 12 Aug 2013

Stephen Lendman – TRANSCEND Media Service

On August 9 [2013], The New York Times headlined “Dying Lawyer’s Request for Release From Prison Is Turned Down,” saying:

“A federal judge in Manhattan declined on Friday to order the release of Lynne F. Stewart, an outspoken former defense lawyer who is dying from cancer in a federal prison in Texas.”

Lynne’s a longtime heroic human rights defender. She’s one of America’s best. She’s one of thousands of wrongfully incarcerated political prisoners.

She languishes unjustly in America’s gulag. It’s the world’s largest. It’s one of the worst. Official US policy spurns justice.

Lynne’s dying. She has Stage Four cancer. It’s worsening. She’s denied effective treatment. She petitioned for compassionate release.

FMC Carswell warden Jody Upton recommended it. She did so based on Lynne’s condition. According to former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, Lynne “meets every legal, rational and humane criterion for” it.

Denial exceeds cruel and unusual punishment. It’s a death sentence. FMC Carswell’s a death camp. Terminally ill political prisoners languish there to die.

Doing so reflects gross injustice. It’s ruthless. It’s premeditated murder. It’s the American way.

Obama wants her dead. Bureau of Prisons (BOP) officials denied her. So did federal Judge John G. Koeltl. On Friday, he sentenced her to death. He did so disgracefully.

He’s part of America’s prison industrial complex. It’s a ruthless police state apparatus. It’s a killing machine. It exposes the nation’s dark side.

Jill Shellow represents Lynne. “While we are disappointed,” she said, “this is hardly the end of this fight.”

“Lynne is going to continue to actively pursue a compassionate release through the BOP, and we expect to be back in court, and hope it will be sooner rather than later.”

BOP declined comment. So did Manhattan’s US attorney’s office. Obama’s Justice Department maintains silence. They’re enforcers. They’re part of America’s police state apparatus.

Activist Ralph Schoenman circulated urgent news on what happened. He called denying Lynne “worthy of Kafka.”

Koeltl’s ruling, he said, “ignored the falsification of the medical record documented in the recommendation of Compassionate Release for Lynne Stewart made months before  by the Warden of Carswell Federal Prison.”

He “ignored the Defense Brief. He chose not to address its citation of the falsification of the medical evidence contained in the Denial of Compassionate Release by Charles E. Samuels, Jr. Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons.”

“He did not reference the Defense documentation of the violation of the Separation of Powers and habeas corpus rights fundamental to the US Constitution.”

He “ignored Defense documentation in its Brief of the testimony before Congress of Michael Horowitz, Inspector General of the Federal Bureau of Prisons on the refusal of the Bureau of Prisons to recommend release for prisoners facing catastrophic disease in order to allow medical care that would enable them to survive.”

“He ignored the evidence documented by Human Rights Watch that the Bureau of prisons – had arrogated to itself the authority to refuse Compassionate Release unless a prisoner is on the verge of death – thus releasing them not for medical care that could save their lives, but solely to be placed in a coffin.”

In his book “Race to Incarcerate,” Marc Mauer focuses on America’s obsession with imprisonment, punishment, and commodifying prisoners.

It’s done to fill beds. It targets society’s most vulnerable. It does so against people of color.

It’s against activists supporting human and civil rights, ethnic justice, racial emancipation, and political, economic and social equality across gender and color lines.

Democracy exists in name only. Rule of law principles don’t matter. Justice is a four-letter word. It’s systematically denied.

Thousands of innocent victims face long prison terms. They languish under cruel and inhumane conditions.

Some die in prison. Others endure years of solitary confinement, poor medical care, other forms of abuse, and perfunctory parole hearings rigged to refuse.

Incarceration’s a system of social control. Wrongful imprisonment killed Marilyn Buck. She served 25 years of an 80 year sentence.

She did so for opposing US imperialism and racial injustice. On July 15, 2010, she was released. Three weeks later she was dead.

Months earlier, she was diagnosed with uterine sarcoma. It’s a rare aggressive cancer.

She was denied proper treatment. She was kept imprisoned until it was too late to save her. Political Washington wanted her dead.

She called prisons warehouses to “disappear the unacceptable.” They “deprive their captives of their liberties (and) human agency.”

They “punish.” They “stigmatize prisoners through moralistic denunciations and indictment based on bad genes.”

They consider the wrong beliefs, race, and/or ethnicity “a crime.”

Millions of Americans are vulnerable. They’re targeted. They’re scapegoated. They’re demonized. They’re criminalized unjustly.

They’re not incarcerated “because they are ‘criminal,’ but because they’ve been accused of breaking (a law) designed to exert tighter social control and State repression.”

They’re locked in cages longterm. It’s for being the wrong race, ethnicity or social class. It’s for championing right over wrong. It’s for advocating peace, not war. It’s for defending freedom.

It’s for thinking rule of law principles matter. It’s for believing activism and dissent are the highest forms of patriotism.

It’s for resisting injustice. It’s for defending human and civil rights. It’s for doing the right thing. It’s for doing it morally, ethically, and honorably. It’s for doing it no matter what.

America’s rage to incarcerate reflects a crime against humanity. It shows human life and welfare don’t matter. It proves justice is a four-letter word.

It’s a figure of speech. It’s always been that way. It’s worse than ever now. Gulag justice is official US policy.

Lynne’s one of thousands of victims. She devoted her life to helping others. She deserves that much and more in return. She needs release now to save her. Imprisonment condemns her to death.


Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed.

Go to Original – sjlendman.mx

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One Response to “Federal Judge Sentences Lynne Stewart to Death”

  1. satoshi says:

    The Federal judge’s decision on the rejection of the effective treatment for Stewart’s cancer constitutes no legitimate punishment to her because she has already been pronounced guilty. To provide her with a certain sentence is legitimate; to provide her with other (additional) suffering is illegitimate. The court’s decision on the rejection of effective treatment added the illegitimate suffering to her. No judicial authorities have power to provide any person with any suffering other than the legitimate sentence. Under the (strict sense of) legal terms, there may be some room for debate whether Stewart should be released for the reason of her Stage Four cancer. However, there is no room for debate whether she should be given effective treatment for her cancer. In other words, it is within the judge’s discretion to decide whether Stewart should be released from the prison, but it is not within his discretion to decide whether Stewart should be refused to receive effective treatment. Accordingly, from the moment the judge refused to release Stewart from the prison to admit her to a hospital, he has become the one to bear the responsibility for providing her with effective cancer treatment at the prison. Was he aware of his responsibility then? (However, probably it is actually impossible for medical professionals to provide Stewart with effective medical treatment at the prison. That is why her release from the prison to admit her to a hospital is necessary.)

    As the above article points out, one may wonder whether the judge’s hidden/secret/unofficial intention was to enhance Stewart’s suffering, not by providing her with the legal punishment but by providing her with the refusal of effective treatment for her cancer. What did the judge think when he denied Stewart’s petition for her release? Did he think, “Justice has been done”? If so, what kind of “justice” was he referring to? As mentioned above, to provide her with any suffering other than the legitimate sentence is illegitimate.


    One of the factors that may be applicable to the judicial decision-making is “considerations of humanity”. In making a judicial decision, however, considerations of humanity are one of the most difficult issues, because it is a subjective issue. In principle, the judicial decision must be made as objective as possible. The purpose of “objectiveness” in the judicial decision is to ensure “fairness” in that decision. Nevertheless, however, the mechanical way of application of the law to the given case may produce a grotesque and/or tragic consequence. It is a dilemma in making an objective legal decision. How to manage this dilemma may make a difference between a “good or appropriate” legal decision and a “bad or inappropriate” legal decision even though, needless to say, both decisions are legally effective.

    “Considerations of humanity will depend on the judge’s subjective appreciation, a factor which cannot be excluded. However, these considerations may relate to human values already protected by positive legal principles which, taken together, reveal certain criteria of public policy and invite analogy.” – Ian Brownlie (British practicing barrister, also known as a prominent scholar of international law; 1932-2010)