For publicly releasing a statement of her client, the imprisoned sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, in violation of the government's 'special administrative measures', attorney Lynne Stewart will likely receive a 30 year sentence today
--essentially life imprisonment for a 67 year old woman who's already survived one bout with breast cancer.
And...if the judge comes down particularly harshly, she'll spend her remaining years in the kind of solitary confinement that is reserved for violent terrorists like her client.
Though there is no doubt that Ms. Stewart broke the law, everything about the Bu$hCo's prosecution of this case--from John Ashcroft's ludicrous characterization of Stewart's conviction as a 'major counter-terrorism achievement' to the inflammatory rhetoric employed by the DoJ attorneys at her sentencing hearing--smacks of base political theatre. Moreover, what justifies requesting 30 years for a woman who is obviously not violent, in ill health, and at the end of her career? How about a not-so-subtle notice to defense attorneys that representing the 'enemies of the state' is likely to get you locked away...forever.
Let's hope the sentencing judge acts with greater compassion and maturity than we've come to expect from the administration of The Deciderer.
UPDATED 2006/10/16, 3:00 pm PDT
Showing commendable restraint, U.S. District Judge John G. Koeltl sentenced Lynne Stewart to 28 months and left her free on bail pending her upcoming appeal
. During the sentencing he cited her three decades of service to poor, disadvantaged and unpopular clients.
I just heard on the radio that she got 28 months.
Pam...got the same info from WaPo and updated the post while you were commenting. :-) Thanks.
Osama is lucky that he isn't an attorney. Otherwise-- BAM!
I think the Judge will be fair. He is wise enough to see through the crap.
When will Bush declare her an "enemy combatant" and have her carted off to Gitmo for some red-blooded American torture?
Imagine what they have planned for Saddam Hussein's defense attorney...
I'm picturing dogs, human pyramids, etc., etc.
Mr_Blog, right you are! Though as my anonymous commenter points out they could do worse to her. Of course if you're Saddam's attorney they just shoot you.
Peacechick..., fair he was. See the update.
R-bE, one never knows. Suppost she loses on appeal? Then perhaps Bu$hCo will invoke the previously little used, "She loses so we get to whatever we want to her," doctrine.
You think we would have gotten rid of double jeopardy at this rate. Keep trying till ya get it right, that's what they are still saying over Iraq way...
I'm sure this is one conviction the Justice Department will be proud of. They can't try Jose Padilla, but they can ship a 67 year old woman to jail. Nice.
As pokey as the justice system is, there's a good chance we'll be rid of Bush by the time Lynne's appeal is decided...and with a little luck, saner heads will prevail. What she did was wrong, but given her age and poor health, perhaps a period of house arrest would be more in order than prison time.
Two heavy weight radicals lined up to take political shots at each other. One, the attorney, two BushCo. The attorney, long noted for being a firebrand and treading on or outside the lines, had a target on her back big as a truck. The government had good aim and hit the target. Her life sentence was most certainly a message to any other attorney's that might want to try BushCo on. But Stewart isn't an incompetent lawyer, as her "regret" for her "tactics" shows. She foolishly pitted her strength against that of BushCo, and lost big time. If she had a strong case, the grandstanding wasn't necessary. Good lawyers know when to scream like they were being raped even if they aren't, and when to be as silent as a church mouse.
The REAL message every attorney should hear loud and clear? Never, ever bring a knife to a gunfight! Stewart did just that....and she should have read the tea leaves much better. She should buy a lotto ticket. 28 months is lucky ten times over.
Fred, didn't need it in her case. She admitted the crime. It was just the over-the-top circus of her trial...
Lew, as Cranky Daze points out, with luck she'll get her appeal extended into the next administration and then...who knows.
Cranky...welcome. Hope you're right.
It makes me very uncomfortable...this situation. Probably her health won't let her spend any time anyway...cancer and diabetes will get her first along with the stress of it all. Poor thing.
Sumo, you may be right, but Lynne Stewart is a tough woman. I hope she's gets by this and is around for years to come.
The judge's sentencing statement was great. Sort of restores a certain amount of faith in the system. She was guilty of (at the very least) very poor judgment, but she sure as hell wasn't a terrorist.