Dying of Breast Cancer Lynn Stewart is Rearrested and Surgery Terminated
Unjustly charged and convicted for the “crime” of providing her client with a fearless defense, the prosecution of Lynne Stewart is an assault upon the basic freedoms of us all.
After years of post-conviction freedom, her bail was revoked arbitrarily and her imprisonment ordered, precluding surgery she had scheduled in a major New York hospital.
The sinister meaning of the relentless persecution of Lynne Stewart is unmistakably clear. Given her age and precarious health, the ten-year sentence she is serving is a virtual death sentence.
Since her imprisonment in the Federal Prison in Carswell, Texas her urgent need for surgery was delayed 18 months – so long, that the operating physician pronounced the condition as “the worst he had seen.”
Her daughter, a physician, has sounded the alarm: “Under the best of circumstances, Lynne would be in a battle of the most serious consequences with dangerous odds. With cancer and cancer treatment, the complications can be as debilitating and as dangerous as the cancer itself.”
In her current setting, where trips to physicians involve attempting to walk with 10 pounds of shackles on her wrists and ankles, with connecting chains, Lynne Stewart has lacked ready access to physicians and specialists under conditions compatible with medical success.
It can take weeks to see a medical provider in prison conditions. It can take weeks to report physical changes and learn the results of treatment; and when held in the hospital, Lynne has been shackled wrist and ankle to the bed.
This medieval “shackling” has little to do with any appropriate prison control. She is obviously not an escape risk.
We demand abolition of this practice for all prisoners, let alone those facing surgery and the urgent necessity of care and recovery.
It amounts to cruel and unusual punishment, in violation of human rights.
There is immediate remedy available for Lynne Stewart. Under the 1984 Sentencing Act, after a prisoner request, the Bureau of Prisons can file a motion with the Court to reduce sentences “for extraordinary and compelling reasons.” Life threatening illness is foremost among these and Lynne Stewart meets every rational and humane criterion for compassionate release.
To misconstrue the gravamen of this compassionate release by conditioning such upon being at death’s door – released, if at all, solely to die – is a cruel mockery converting a prison sentence, wholly undeserved, into a death sentence.
The New York Times, in an editorial (2/12), has excoriated the Bureau of Prisons for their restrictive crippling of this program. In a 20-year period, the Bureau released a scant 492 persons – an average of 24 a year out of a population that exceeds 220,000.
We cry out against the bureaucratic murder of Lynne Stewart.
We demand Lynne Stewart’s immediate release to receive urgent medical care in a supportive environment indispensable to the prospect of her survival and call upon the Bureau of Prisons to act immediately.
If Lynne’s original sentence of 28 months had not been unreasonably, punitively increased to 10 years, she would be home now — where her medical care would be by her choice and where those who love her best would care for her. Her isolation from this loving care would end.
Prevent this cruelty to Lynne Stewart whose lifelong commitment to justice is now a struggle for her life.
Free Lynne Stewart Now!
Ralph Poynter and Family
Latest from LynneFebruary 5th, 2013
2/3/13; 9:00 am
Family, Friends, Comrades, Supporters All,
I have been reminded of the need to update my message now that the Cancer is confirmed and we are about to start treatment. This is definitely Bad news but somehow in the toxic climate in which prisons in particular, but the whole country operates, I am determined that it can be beaten.
Factually, when I went (finally) for the hysterectomy in June of last year, a routine chest X ray showed a spot on my lung. Further Pet scans, sonograms, biopsies revealed (as of September) that there was my old Breast cancer back in my lymph node (armpit) and lung. In January another Pet scan revealed that both lungs are involved as is my scapula (maybe). So now we are working on a treatment. I am fond of and have faith in my doctor–a young woman Oncologist. Other medicos have concurred in that opinion. The treatment (Chemo, pills, shots not necessarily in that order) will be given to me in Fort Worth at a hospital called The Center, part of one of the big places here. There are Problems :
1. It Ain’t New York City with Sloan Kettering or New York Hospital where I was originally treated. Cutting Edge Places –excuse the pun !
2. All things in Prison move VERY slowly, as you can see by the history here. it’s now February and I have had two sets of shots, estrogen related.
3. I am still transported and held in leg irons, belly chain and cuffs for each of these trips. The guards are not unkind but of course, follow orders.It is most difficult to say the least.
Let me assure you all, though, that I am feeling good and have a high level of energy. This may change but so far so good. I do need a nap every afternoon but my doddering old age may have something to do with that !
We Might Have to Call on All you Folks if we decide to take action to Try and force the Bureau of Prisons/Department of Justice to ameliorate conditions etc. Stay tuned to the website. Ralph and our daughter, Dr.Zenobia Brown did an excellent program on WBAI( Sally O’Brien’s show) and Dr. Z as we call her also went on with Bob Lederer. These are archived. My good friends and comrades, Mya Schon and Ralph Schoenman, along with Ralph also did a great show on Taking Aim, a web broadcast that has been distributed widely on the net. I am hoping that my electronic geniuses can hook those up to this site. From the heart –all of this work and running both ways–them to me and me to them !!
Meanwhile, it is dreary in Texas. I will soon be sharing with you our petition for Cert to the Supremes and the outlook there–also dreary !!
I urge all of you to carry on our work politically. Now More than Ever, all able bodied and those less so, need to be out there harassing the enemy and organizing the People, Yes!
For more information, go to
Sign petition here
Write to Lynne Stewart at:
Lynne Stewart #53504-054
Federal Medical Center, Carswell
PO Box 27137
Fort Worth, TX 76127To:
Joe Keffer, Warden, Federal Medical Center, Carswell
Charles E. Samuels, Jr., Director, Federal Bureau of Prisons
I urge the Bureau of Prisons to file the appropriate motion for Compassionate Release for Lynne Stewart #53504-054.
Lynne Stewart has devoted her life to the oppressed – a constant advocate for the countless many deprived in the United States of their freedom and their rights.
Unjustly charged and convicted for the “crime” of providing her client with a fearless defense, the prosecution of Lynne...