News Release ~ 10/16/2006

Lynne Stewart Defended the Constitution

Washington, DC (October 16, 2006) – The President of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Martin S. Pinales today released a statement regarding the sentencing of New York criminal defense lawyer Lynne Stewart.

Stewart was convicted in February 2005 of terrorism-related charges arising from her zealous and unwavering representation of her client, Sheikh Omar Abdue-Rahman and helping him communicate through the media with persons as associated with terrorism in Egypt.

Ms. Stewart has consistently denied that she ever knowingly furthered any cause of violence. She has admitted that she intentionally violated the Bureau of Prisons’ “special administrative measures” under which her client was being held incommunicado by speaking to a reporter, which she now regrets.

The NACDL was one of several organizations that filed amicus curiae briefs supporting Ms. Stewart over the past four and one half years. With the trial court proceedings at a close, Mr. Pinales made the following statement:

“Any sentence of incarceration is substantial for a 67-year-old breast cancer survivor. I am heartened that Judge Koeltl had the decency and courage to allow Ms. Stewart to remain free on bail while her case works its way through the federal appeals process.

“Every person accused in our courts is constitutionally-entitled to legal representation. Lynne Stewart lived her life as a zealous advocate.”

NACDL also extends the warmest gratitude to Ms. Stewart’s defense counsel during this long case: Michael Tigar and the Tigar Law Firm, of Washington, D.C., Jill Shellow-Lavine, of Southport, CT, and NACDL Amicus Curiae Committee Co-Chair Joshua Dratel. 

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's approximately 9,000 direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal justice system.

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