“In pronouncing sentence Judge John Koeltl said “(s)he has represented the poor, the disadvantaged and the unpopular (and she had) enormous skill and dedication (earning little money for it). It is no exaggeration to say that Ms. Stewart performed a public service not only to her clients but to the nation.”
Her case was precedent-setting, chilling, and according to former Center for Constitutional Rights President Michael Ratner, sent “a message to lawyers who represent alleged terrorists that it’s dangerous to do so.”
Her attorney Michael Tigar called her conviction and imprisonment “an attack on a gallant, charismatic and effective fighter for justice,” adding: “I have never seen such an abuse of government power.””
On Wednesday evening, humanity lost redoubtable civil rights lawyer Lynne Stewart. Cancer and complications from a massive stroke days days earlier, followed by mini-strokes, took her at age 77.
I and many others who knew and loved her mourn her passing. She now belongs to the ages. I first met Lynne at a National Lawyers Guild gathering in Chicago to honor her dedicated human and civil rights work.
I was the only non-lawyer there. I spotted her instantly when she arrived, spoke to her briefly, thanked her for extraordinary work, embraced her, then entered an area where others were seated.
Everyone stood and applauded, including some notable Chicago attorneys. It was a riveting moment I’ll never forget.
Lynne was a people’s lawyer, a human and civil rights champion, a justice warrior, targeted by the Bush/Cheney administration for defending a client they wanted…
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