Sunday, October 14, 2012
Rethinking the Lynne Stewart case
Lynne Stewart is a political prisoner. A 73-year-old breast cancer survivor who's been wrongly sentenced to 10 years in prison.
We're wondering why Lynne was tried for the 'offense' to begin with?
Now we've argued before that what took place, what Lynne did (issuing a press release to Reuters) wasn't a crime and we stand by that.
But we're wondering something else now.
Lynne broke no law. She broke a Special Administrative Measure.
She did that when Bill Clinton was president and Janet Reno was Attorney General.
Reno's Justice Department handled it. They didn't prosecute, Lynne had to sign a new agreement and get a talk.
Here's the point. If SAMS are going to be treated as if they were law, then they've got treated as if they were law.
By that we mean, a 'verdict' cannot be reached on a SAMS violation by one Justice Department and then a different verdict imposed by another for the same offense.
We don't support SAMS being treated as law but if a Justice Department is going to treat them like laws then you can't render two verdicts on the same offense.
You break the law and you're protected against being tried for the same offense twice by the principal of double jeopardy. If SAMS are now being treated like laws, then shouldn't the principal of double jeopardy apply there as well?
If so, then Lynne's violation of a Special Administrative Measure was 'ruled' on by the Reno Justice Department and she never should have been prosecuted by the Ashcroft Justice Department.