Thomas Silverstein Civil Case Documents and great Amicus Curiae Brief to the Court not enough to convince Court

This is from Thomas Silverstein’s website, which can also be found by going to Thomassilverstein.com:
 
A message from Tommy:
To: All my friends & supporters & of course, loved ones & haters. 
 
A long time no hear I know, I assure U, I’ve missed U all & your constant show of love & support which had helped me through many dark & hopeless storms! But sadly for legal reasons I had to take a reluctant hiatus, which is still N effect )-: However, 4 now, I wanna truly thank all of U who checks in even tho its been uneventful, 4 your due diligence & unshakable loyalty. 
 
As U may or may not of heard, I lost my battle 2 B released from isolation )-: But the War continues as we ready another appeal. Meanwhile, we’ll post my attorneys written transcript of her Oral argument B4 the 10th Circuit appellant court 4 those interested N the intimate details. We were only allowed 15 minutes 2 plead R case )-: But sadly, when we post their decision ,u’ll C they already had made up their minds, so our 15 minutes was just 4 show, so they can claim we had our case heard. 
 
Hopefully in the near future, we’ll B able 2 let you hear the hearing audibly, which is a riveting volley of pleas between David vs Goliath B4 a panel of 3 God – awful Judicial rulers. Only this battle, David was a petite Jewish woman with the heart of a Lioness & courage of a Blind Gun-fighter, who slain the Govt’s giant N vain when her plea fell upon Deaf ears & heartless souls )-: I realize many of U have already heared of the decision & even read it, so this is a bit ass backward, however, reading / hearing R defence may help 2 understand Y I say R plea fell upon deaf ears & Y they already had their minds made up & just gave their stamp of approval 2 what ever the B.O.P. does regardless of how it effects their charges ! 
 
We shall commence R Chat-room Guest-book when possible, so please stay tuned & thanks once again 4 your love & endless support! It truly means the world 2 me ! Your Pal….Tom Silverstein – Please read the Transcript here.
9th August 2014.
Dear Friends,
Sadly I bring you all more bad news from my personal hell-hole, last night I received notice from my Attorney that latest Appeal we filed was denied.
After the 10th Circuit appellate court denied us any action, we were left with 3 choices, actually 4, 1) Do nothing, 2) ask that they reconsider it  but judges rarely, if ever, admit they made a mistake, so that was out of the question: 3) File to the Supreme Court, but its bad enough they can use my case in the 10th Circuit, to keep prisoners isolated indefinitely so I don’t want to risk setting a precedence, since once the Supreme Beings rule on a case, that’s law for the country.
So we choose # 4 an En Banc hearing, which is rarely granted. Asking all the Judges in the 10th Circuit (12 I think) to hear our case instead of the 3 who did. We believe “Particularity” points of law or facts were overlooked or misapprehended,  which I suspect you’ll agree after reading my Attorneys’ AWSOME motion (that hopefully with accompany this kite, so those of you interested can read it for yourselves)
My Attorney and I need to re-group, so not sure what we’ll do next, but I’ll keep you posted as always.
Your pal, Tommy
—-
Below we post the links to the case and the Amicus Curiae Brief:

Opening Brief of the Appeal in Case No 12-1450 (D.C. No. 1:07-cv-02471) of Feb 20, 2013

Oral Argument Silverstein v. Bureau of Prisons 12-1450, Sept. 24, 2013

Order and Judgment US Court of Appeal Tenth Circuit, May 22, 2014

Appelant’s Petition for Rehearing En Banc, July 7, 2014

Denial of Petition for Rehearing En Banc (with no explanation), July 18, 2014

Amicus Curiae Brief to the Court by Psychologist Organizations and Psychologists on behalf of Thomas Silverstein (Feb. 27, 2013):

This is a letter to the court on behalf of Appelant Thomas Silverstein, containing much literature and references to the torture of solitary confinement, and is endorsed/written by:

Amici include:
(1) psychiatrists and psychologists who have dedicated their careers to studying and documenting the mental health of inmates across various prison facilities, including supermax prisons and segregation units; and (2) mental health professional organizations whose efforts are directed toward improving the mental health of inmates, including those in solitary confinement.

The Association of Black Psychologists is focused on influencing and affecting social change and developing programs whereby Black psychologists can assist in solving problems of Black communities and other ethnic groups.

Coalition for an Ethical Psychology is a group of psychologists that actively opposes the involvement of health professionals in state-supported abuse with a national security rationale, including solitary confinement.

Mental Health America is a national advocacy organization dedicated to promoting mental health and achieving victory over mental illnesses and addictions through advocacy, education, research, and service.

The Mental Health Project (MHP) of the Urban Justice Center is dedicated to enforcing the rights of low-income New Yorkers with mental illness. MHP has long been involved in efforts to end solitary confinement in prisons.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is the nation’s largest grassroots organization dedicated to ameliorating the lives of Americans affected by serious mental illnesses. NAMI has a long history of advocacy on criminal justice issues and is particularly concerned about the excessive use of prolonged solitary confinement on inmates with serious mental illnesses and the long-term negative effects of these practices on such individuals.

Physicians for Human Rights is an independent non-profit organization that uses medicine and science to stop mass atrocities and severe human rights violations against individuals.

Psychologists for Social Responsibility is an independent non-profit organization of psychologists and students that applies psychological knowledge to promote peace and social justice, including efforts to end solitary confinement.

Stanley L. Brodsky, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Alabama. He has worked as Chief of Psychology at the United States Disciplinary Barracks in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, inspected solitary confinement facilities in 8 states as part of his clinical-forensic work, and conducts research and clinical assessment interviews for prisoners in a variety of isolation conditions.

Carl Clements, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Alabama. He has written extensively on correctional psychology for 40 years and has inspected dozens of prisons in the United States regarding the effects of overcrowding, offender classification procedures, and the mental health needs of prisoners.

Keith R. Curry, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist who has over 20 years of experience evaluating conditions of confinement and its effects on mentally ill inmates.

Carl Fulwiler, M.D., Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He has extensive experience with the mental health effects of isolated confinement, having interviewed over 200 inmates in over a dozen Segregated Housing Units.

Rafael Art. Javier, Ph.D., is the Director of the Post-Graduate Professional Program and Professor of Psychology at St. John’s University. He has presented at conferences and published extensively on ethnical and cultural issues in psychoanalytic theories and practice, including on issues of violence and its impact on general cognitive and emotional functioning.

Allen Keller, M.D., is an Associate Professor of Medicine at New York University School of Medicine and the Director of the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors ofTorture. Dr. Keller’s scholarly work and research has included examining the impact of  prison conditions and access to health care on prisoner health.

Terry A. Kupers, M.D., M.S.P., is Institute Professor at The Wright Institute. He provides expert testimony as well as consultation and staff training regarding the psychological effects of prison conditions, including isolated confinement in supermaximum security units, the quality of correctional mental health care, and the
effects of sexual abuse in correctional settings. Dr. Kupers has published extensively on prisoners’ mental health.

David Lovell, Ph.D., M.S.W., is Research Associate Professor Emeritus at the University of Washington. Professor Lovell and his colleagues conducted systematic interviews with inmates and staff in long-term solitary confinement units, along with reviews of prison records and clinical status.

Mona Lynch, Ph.D., is a Professor and Vice-Chair of the Department of Criminology, Law & Society at the University of California, Irvine. Trained as a social psychologist, her research focuses on criminal sentencing and punishment.

Katherine Porterfield, Ph.D., is a Clinical Instructor of Psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine and a Staff Psychologist at Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture. Dr. Porterfield has worked as a clinical evaluator on several cases of young people held in detention at Guantanamo Bay and frequently consults with attorneys handling cases involving torture, trauma, and maltreatment.

Keramet Reiter, Ph.D., J.D., M.A., is an Assistant Professor at the University of California, Irvine in the Department of Criminology, Law & Society and at the School of Law. She is an expert in corrections, punishment, and criminal law, especially the history and uses of solitary confinement.

Peter Scharff Smith, Ph.D., is a Senior Research Fellow at the Danish Institute for Human Rights in Copenhagen. During the past 10 years, his research has focused on prisons and human rights, specifically the use and effects of solitary confinement in prisons internationally and in Denmark.

Hans Toch, Ph.D., is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Criminal Justice at the University at Albany, State University of New York. He has served as a consultant to a number of correctional systems in the United States and abroad, and has received many awards for distinguished contributions to criminology and penology.

Patricia A. Zapf, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, The City University of New York. She has conducted over 2,500 forensic evaluations in both the United States and Canada and has served as an expert witness in a number of cases, including the prosecution of José Padilla.

US announces early release plan for nonviolent, low-level drug offenders

This is welcome news from Russia Today:

Jan. 30th-Feb. 1st  2014

The Obama administration announced Thursday a new clemency effort that encourages defense lawyers to refer to the Department of Justice low-level, nonviolent drug offenders for early release from federal prisons.
Speaking before the New York State Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section, Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole unveiled the plan that seeks to determine possible clemency for inmates whose long-term incarceration “harms our criminal justice system.”
“You each can play a critical role in this process by providing a qualified petitioner – one who has a clean record in prison, does not present a threat to public safety, and who is facing a life or near-life sentence that is excessive under current law – with the opportunity to get a fresh start,” Cole said.
In addition, the US Bureau of Prisons will begin informing such low-level, nonviolent drug offenders of the opportunity to apply for early release, Cole said.
The announcement follows other initiatives and statements regarding prison reform made recently by top officials. Attorney General Eric Holder said in August that the same type of low-level drug offenders, with no ties to gangs or major drug trafficking organizations, would no longer be charged with certain offenses that instituted harsh mandatory sentences.
President Obama followed Holder in December with the commutation of sentences of eight inmates serving extensive terms in prison for crack cocaine convictions. All of the eight – recommended by the Justice Department – had served at least 15 years in jail and had been convicted before the 2010 Fair Sentencing Act, which was passed in effort to close large sentencing disparities between those convicted for crack and those for powder cocaine crimes.
Obama said at the time those eight inmates would have received shorter sentences had the law existed when they were convicted, adding some would have already served their time by then.
Cole said the Justice Department would like to send more of those kind of cases to the White House.
“The president’s grant of commutations for these eight individuals is only a first step,” he said. “There are more low-level, nonviolent drug offenders who remain in prison, and who would likely have received a substantially lower sentence if convicted of precisely the same offenses today.”
Cole did not specify how many candidates the White House will consider in the clemency program, though there are currently thousands of inmates serving time in federal prison for just crack cocaine crimes.
The Justice Department’s Office of the Pardon Attorney is in charge of advising the White House on the merits of specific cases.

National Lawyers Guild Applauds the Compassionate Release of Lynne Stewart

This is great news! Lynne Stewart to be released!

December 31, 2013
Contact: Tasha Moro, 212-679-5100, ext. 15
NEW YORK —Today Judge John G. Koeltl granted the Bureau of Prisons’ (BOP) request for the compassionate release of Lynne Stewart. This is heartening news. Ms. Stewart is 74 years old and has terminal cancer with a life expectancy of less than 18 months. She has been serving a ten-year sentence at the Federal Medical Center Carswell (FMC Carswell) in Fort Worth, Texas, in connection with her defense of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman.
As her condition has continued to deteriorate, the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) and several legal and social justice organizations have twice called on Attorney General Eric Holder to direct the BOP to grant compassionate release. Given that Ms. Stewart’s medical condition clearly falls within recent reforms to the BOP’s compassionate release program announced by Holder in August, and that the warden at FMC Carswell had earlier approved her release, the NLG urged that the process of consideration be expedited.
“From arrest to sentencing, Lynne Stewart’s case was used by the Department of Justice to send a chilling message to attorneys: think twice about who you represent! For speaking to a Reuters reporter about her client’s viewpoints – in violation of an administrative order – an ailing Ms. Stewart was sentenced to a decade in prison. Today’s small measure of justice does little to repair the damage wrought by the government’s unjust prosecution of an advocate whose service to society has been widely documented,” said Heidi Boghosian, Executive Director of the NLG.
Robert J. Boyle, one of Lynne Stewart’s attorneys added, “We are gratified and thankful that the government has agreed to Lynne’s compassionate release request. She has dedicated her life to fighting for justice for the underserved and unpopular. Lynne can now return home to her family and to the community that loves her.”
Ms. Stewart is a longtime member of the National Lawyers Guild. Since her initial indictment, Guild members have educated the public about the many ways her case runs afoul of the Constitution. The Guild’s 2005 publication The Case of Lynne Stewart: A Justice Department Attack on the Bill of Rights is available at nlg.org.
# # #

Joyous message from Lynne on New Year’s Eve at 3:24 p.m.

This is great news, we wish it was earlier! Congratulations to Lynne Stewart and her loved ones:

From: DemocracyNow via SF Bay View:

My Dears:

Well, the impossible takes a little longer! We learned this morning that the U.S. Attorney’s Office has made the motion for my compassionate release and that the order was on Judge Koeltl’s desk. Since on the last go-round he stated in court that he would treat it “favorably.” We are now just waiting expectantly.

The wonderful thing is that Ralph is here in Ft. Worth for a visit and will bring me back to NYC with him. We don’t know when, but the rules state that the warden has two days to let me go after he receives the order, so it could be as early as Friday or a few days more.

If this reaches you before midnight tonight, raise a glass of bubbly to the joy of all of us that the old girl is OUT!

Whatever it is, I can’t stop crying tears of joy! I can’t stop thinking of all the marvelous people worldwide who made this happen. You know, because each of you played an integral role.

My daughter Z is already lining up Sloan Kettering and we will have to see if there is a probation qualification attached to the order and how it will affect me. After that, Ralph will start making arrangements to rent Yankee Stadium for the Welcome Home … smile.

So if this reaches you before midnight tonight, raise a glass of bubbly to the joy of all of us that the old girl is OUT!

Love, Struggle,

Lynne

————- 

From the National Lawyers Guild (NLG):

For immediate release:
December 31, 2013

NEW YORK —Today Judge John G. Koeltl granted the Bureau of Prisons’ (BOP) request for the compassionate release of Lynne Stewart. This is heartening news. Ms. Stewart is 74 years old and has terminal cancer with a life expectancy of less than 18 months. She has been serving a ten-year sentence at the Federal Medical Center Carswell (FMC Carswell) in Fort Worth, Texas, in connection with her defense of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman.

As her condition has continued to deteriorate, the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) and several legal and social justice organizations have twice called on Attorney General Eric Holder to direct the BOP to grant compassionate release. Given that Ms. Stewart’s medical condition clearly falls within recent reforms to the BOP’s compassionate release program announced by Holder in August, and that the warden at FMC Carswell had earlier approved her release, the NLG urged that the process of consideration be expedited.

“From arrest to sentencing, Lynne Stewart’s case was used by the Department of Justice to send a chilling message to attorneys: think twice about who you represent! For speaking to a Reuters reporter about her client’s viewpoints – in violation of an administrative order – an ailing Ms. Stewart was sentenced to a decade in prison. Today’s small measure of justice does little to repair the damage wrought by the government’s unjust prosecution of an advocate whose service to society has been widely documented,” said Heidi Boghosian, Executive Director of the NLG.

Robert J. Boyle, one of Lynne Stewart’s attorneys added, “We are gratified and thankful that the government has agreed to Lynne’s compassionate release request. She has dedicated her life to fighting for justice for the underserved and unpopular. Lynne can now return home to her family and to the community that loves her.”

Ms. Stewart is a longtime member of the National Lawyers Guild. Since her initial indictment, Guild members have educated the public about the many ways her case runs afoul of the Constitution. The Guild’s 2005 publication The Case of Lynne Stewart: A Justice Department Attack on the Bill of Rights is available at nlg.org.

Contact: Tasha Moro, 212-679-5100, ext. 15
# # #

Women Over-Incarcerated

There is a new website, petition and hopefully a new movement: 

Womenoverincarcerated.org (WOI.org) is an online advocacy group created to educate the public about the rising epidemic of federally incarcerated women and the consequences of their imprisonment. 

Its focus is on exposing the gross injustice women face in the U.S. judicial system, and the disparities between state and federal, male and female, and minority and non-minority offenders. 

WOI.org aims to challenge the absence of parole, which causes each federal prisoner to serve 85% of her sentence without recourse, and introduce alternatives.

Sign their petition please: click here.

Text accompanying the petition: 

This petition is sponsored by a group called womenoverincarcerated.org. The group is made up of supporters or women in federal prison serving excessive sentences for white collar crime. 

The supporters are family, friends, members of the general public who are appalled by the recent report prepared by CultureQuantiX that shows drastic sentencing disparities between white males and females in white collar sentences. The report documents that women receive sentences averaging 300% higher than those of white males for the same or similar crime (it is 480% for Black women). This % held whether it was comparing women and men defendants in the same case, different cases same judge, different judges same court, different courts same jurisdiction or different courts and different jurisdictions. The % held in every category of white collar crime studied, i.e. wire fraud, bank fraud, mail fraud, money laundering, securities, tax crimes and conspiracy.

We want Congress to move immediately to reestablish a federal parole system. Congress abolished the parole system in 1984 in response to Pres. Reagan’s planned war on drugs. 

Congress then created the U.S. Sentencing Commission who created Sentencing Guidelines which were supposed to be followed by judges in order to avoid wide disparities in drug cases. 

The Commission soon adopted Guidelines for white collar crime with the same goal, avoiding disparities. It is clear from the report that the plan has not worked.


It is critical that Congress act because barring such, thousands of women, ripped away from their families and communities, are left to serve patently unfair and biased excessive federal sentences. These women have no recourse or redress in the courts which is where the sentences were handed down in the first place. The only relief must come from Congress.

Unlike State sentences where defendants often serve only 1/3 to 1/2 of their sentences and are then paroled, federal defendants, like these women, will serve nearly 90% of their sentences because the federal system has no parole nor anything comparable.

Guantánamo Bay: The Hunger Strikes – video animation

This is posted on The Guardian: In March 2013, reports of a hunger strike at Guantánamo Bay, the US detention camp in Cuba, began to surface. Details were sketchy and were contradicted by statements from the US military. Now, using testimony from five detainees, this animated film reveals the daily brutality of life inside Guantánamo. Today there are 17 prisoners still on hunger strike, 16 of whom are being force-fed. Two are in hospital

Warning: contains scenes some viewers might find disturbing

شاهد هذا الفيلم مع ترجمة بالعربية

U.S. moves to curb long, mandatory drug sentences

From: Reuters, Monday Aug. 12th 2013
By: Dan levine and David Ingram

(Reuters) – The Obama administration unveiled steps on Monday to fix what it considers the longstanding unjust treatment of many nonviolent drug offenders, aiming to bypass tough mandatory prison terms while reducing America’s huge prison population and saving billions of dollars.

“Too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long, and for no truly good law enforcement reason,” Attorney General Eric Holder, the top U.S. law enforcement official, said in a speech in San Francisco unveiling the proposals.

Holder said the Justice Department would direct federal prosecutors to charge defendants in certain low-level drug cases in such a way that they would not be eligible for mandatory sentences now on the books.

Prosecutors would do this by omitting from official charging documents the amount of drugs involved in a case, lawyers with expertise in criminal law said. By doing so, prosecutors would ensure that nonviolent defendants without significant criminal history would not get long sentences.

Other proposals unveiled by Holder – such as giving federal judges the leeway to depart from mandatory minimum sentences for some drug offenses – require congressional approval, a tricky prospect at a time of partisan gridlock in Washington.

Holder labeled as an injustice the mandatory minimum sentences required under the criminal justice system in many drugs cases – condemning offenders to long prison terms even for nonviolent crimes and possession of small amounts of drugs.

“This is why I have today mandated a modification of the Justice Department’s charging policies so that certain low-level, nonviolent drug offenders who have no ties to large-scale organizations, gangs or cartels will no longer be charged with offenses that impose draconian mandatory minimum sentences,” Holder said.

Holder cited a moral imperative – as well as financial and social reasons – to re-examine policies that send so many Americans to prison.

“As the so-called war on drugs enters its fifth decade, we need to ask whether it, and the approaches that comprise it, have been truly effective,” Holder said at a conference of the American Bar Association lawyers group.

WORLD INCARCERATION LEADER

The United States leads the world in the percentage of its population behind bars, according to the International Centre for Prison Studies in London. Among the reasons for that are the mandatory minimum sentences and related laws enacted in the 1980s and 1990s at a time of rising crime and drug violence.

Holder said that the United States accounts for just 5 percent of the world’s population, but incarcerates almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners. He added that U.S. federal prisons are nearly 40 percent above capacity and that almost half of the inmates are serving time for drug-related crimes.

American political leaders including Republican President Ronald Reagan and Democratic President Bill Clinton championed big spending increases to target criminal gangs and drug traffickers in what has been called the “war on drugs.”

Crime has dropped in the United States since those laws were passed. Democratic President Barack Obama’s administration is betting that support for mandatory minimum laws has eroded for several reasons, including the amount of money spent by governments on housing and maintaining a huge prison population.

Another step being taken by Holder’s department would loosen the criteria for releasing inmates who have serious medical conditions or who are elderly – as long as they are nonviolent and have served significant portions of their sentences.

Holder also said he has instructed federal prosecutors nationwide to develop “specific, locally tailored guidelines” to determine if drug cases should be subject to federal charges.

It was not clear how many offenders might see shorter prison terms under the administration’s proposals. The proposals were unlikely to affect many people already imprisoned.

Read the rest here.