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Criminal Appellate & Post-Conviction Services

Second Circuit Ups Lynne Stewart's Sentence and Orders Her Detained

Lynne Stewart is a civil rights attorney who isn't scared to handle controversial cases. Her representation of radical cleric Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, resulted in a prison sentence for her violation of the Bureau of Prisons restrictions on her ability to disseminate any information learned during her meetings with the defendant. Based on her heretofore exemplary conduct as a defense attorney, she received a sentence of twenty-eight months. Ms. Stewart was represented on appeal by a number of top volunteer attorneys who believed the prosecution was politically motivated including the legendary Duke Law School Professor Michael Tigar and Joshua Dratel. Four years after the appeal was filed, the Second Circuit ordered her sentenced increased and, more surprisingly, her right to appellate bond terminated despite the strong dissent of the one of the panelists. Like dissenting Judge Calabressi, one has to wonder if the subsequent events of 9/11 influenced the harsh results of this Court's ruling. Concurring Judge Walker essentially ordered 70 year old Lynn Stewart to serve a 360 month sentence. United States v Stewart, Second Circuit No. 06-5015. Click here to read the New York Times article on the ruling. Click here to read the New York Times story.