Attorney-client relationship taking a second place to stopping terrorism?
April 29, 2003 1:33 PM   Subscribe

Lynne Stewart, a New York human-rights lawyer was arrested and had her files searched, on charges relating to her work as defence counsel for Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman who is serving a life sentence in connection with the bombing of the WTC in 1993. A law school's graduate students seeking to honour her with an award at their graduating ceremony has been stopped from doing so by the dean afraid of bad publicity.
posted by fvw (10 comments total)
Ashcroft's scary, true, but the Stewart case is not as black and white as Seattle Weekly implies.
posted by ptermit at 1:42 PM on April 29, 2003

"the dean afraid of bad publicity"

Is that anything like the Dean of Students?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:51 PM on April 29, 2003

Thanks for the further info, ptermit. I thought it was getting a little too Orwellian up in here--and the scary thing is, I wasn't even surprised by it.
posted by padraigin at 1:52 PM on April 29, 2003

yeah from I've found (that is the links not on a blatantly skewed source) it looks like this is not as cut and dry as it sounds.

What scares me here is that it's cases like this where the lawyer may in fact be guilty of wrong doing that add teeth to the constitutionally shaky actions by Ashcroft and his ilk.
posted by bitdamaged at 2:02 PM on April 29, 2003

There's a bit more about this at FindLaw.

There's also an annoted (with commentary) copy of the indictment at Front Page Magazine. The interesting parts start at section 12 -- material which the article this thread points to manages to either sidestep or ignore.
posted by dws at 2:04 PM on April 29, 2003

"their graduating ceremony has been stopped"

Why didn't they just stop the students?
posted by UrbanFigaro at 2:05 PM on April 29, 2003

christ, anyone can plainly see that lynne stewart IS sheikh omar abdel-rahman.
posted by quonsar at 3:22 PM on April 29, 2003

I'm not a big fan of Lynne Stewart. See this interview:

[Interviewer]: Let’s say you were part of a government that you actually trusted and supported, and your country held political prisoners. At what point would you think monitoring and controlling these people was acceptable?

[Lynne Stewart]: I’m such a strange amalgam of old-line things and new-line things. I don’t have any problem with Mao or Stalin or the Vietnamese leaders or certainly Fidel locking up people they see as dangerous. Because so often, dissidence has been used by the greater powers to undermine a people’s revolution. . . .
posted by monju_bosatsu at 4:49 PM on April 29, 2003

More background from the NYT 4/26:
Since its founding in 1983, the law school of the City University of New York has taken pride in its zeal to produce lawyers with a social conscience and a left-wing sense of the public interest....

But for an administration sensitive to the school's mixed reputation — its graduates have a mediocre success rate [~50%] on the bar examination — honoring someone accused of aiding terrorists was a little too much... some CUNY law professors said the school could not afford the bad publicity that would follow if Ms. Stewart were to receive the award, especially at a time when the city and state are looking for ways to cut programs and save money.

"The law school is a political stepchild, and I think this could have been a death knell for us," said David Abrams, a third-year student. "It's just not something we can afford right now."
Seems like a reasonable and practical decision to me. Plus the students went ahead and offered the award anyhow -- just not at graduation.

And read that Smoking Gun article before you hold Stewart up as some sort of noble role model.
posted by pmurray63 at 9:21 PM on April 29, 2003

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