By Petite Pointer aka assangistan
Yesterday 16 December 2014, I, an filmmaker,indie journalist/blogger for assangistan, went to support another journalist, one with wit and wisdom, an young man by the name of Barrett Brown. After going through security checkpoints and a couple of early recesses, I met other fellow journalists Douglas Lucas, for the first time as well as Anna Smith and other journalists and supporters that converse for a bit before the sentencing started.
“All Rise”, as the bailiff ordered for us to stand for the Honorable Judge Lindsay, as he came in and proceed for all to sit down. Then next to his attorneys, came Barrett, in an orange shirt and pants, with an buzz cut hairstyle, different from the last time he emerged 2 yrs ago, with his courage and bravery, showing straight through. Judge Lindsay even mentioned the letters that were sent by supporters from around the globe.
What we didn’t expect was the day to be an long one, due to more evidence and exhibits on the prosecutors part.
The sentencing started with Prosecutor Candina Heath calling on the witness stand, Robert Smith, the FBI Agent who claim to have conduct the investigation on Brown in 2012. The evidence went from the emails on hacking and conversations between Brown and other hackers to the stolen credit card data alleged by Brown to indicating that he was spokesperson for Anonymous.
With attorney Charles Swift, he questioned Mr. Smith’s observations of Brown being involved in the hacks, Smith indicated that Brown wasn’t a part of the hacks.
The question to all of this from both Defense attorney Robert Swift and Ms. Heath was whether the evidence presented was relevant to the sentencing or not. It became a bit challenging for the both parties as they continued this in cross examination with both Swift and journalist Quinn Norton, but in the end, the judge decided what was relevant to the case.
In between the breaks, I met with Brown’s parents, his grandmother and his friends. Everyone was shaken up, thinking about the decision that the judge was lending towards. They thanked me for being there for them, telling me that it’s been hard on them especially on his last two birthdays. It’s not the same. When we came back from lunch, we learn that the sentencing would take place in January. A blow to everyone, that once again that Barrett will spend Christmas behind bars.
With holidays and birthdays, there’s no such thing, especially when it’s shared with other prisoners of conscience, Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange, John Kiriakou, Gottfid Svartholm Warg, Jeremy Hammond and others. But for every hardship, we give them support, for every grave condition, we give them attention and for every silence, we give them the gift of compassion. Those are real gifts of freedom and they will be free. Support them all.
Leniency Letter Guidelines
We’re making an appeal to Judge Lindsay to apply leniency and sentence Barrett Brown to time served, and we could use your help. Brown is a talented journalist who accepts responsibility for his charged conduct. He was originally charged with sharing a hyperlink to stolen information, and when that was dropped, he pled guilty to hiding his laptops, transmitting a threat, and accessory after the fact to an unauthorized access to a protected computer. He is now facing 8.5 years maximum in prison. When he is sentenced on January 22 2015, he will have already spent over two years in jail. Given the nature of his crimes and the lack of tangible harm resulting from them, we feel that it’s time to let him go.
Barrett regrets his words and behavior of September 2012 and has had ample time to reflect and learn his lesson. More than that, he is a brilliant writer: witty, insightful and hilarious and still has a great deal to contribute to his community as a citizen and progressive activist. He wants to get back out into the world and move on with his life. We believe the court should give him the opportunity to re-integrate himself into society immediately. As some of you may know, he’s been writing a column regularly at D Magazine https://frontburner.dmagazine.com/author/barrettbrown/, which has become quite popular. For more information about Barrett, see his biographies at Project PM http://wiki.project-pm.org/wiki/Barrett_Brown#Biography or Wikipedia.
I. Addressing and Sending the Letter
Your letter SHOULD NOT be sent to the judge ! ! !
The letter (but not the envelope) should be addressed to:
The Honorable Sam A. Lindsay
United States District Judge
1100 Commerce Street
Dallas, Texas 75242
I will be collecting letters to provide to Barrett’s defense lawyers who will be preparing a
sentencing submission for the judge. The letter MUST be signed. E-mail a scanned copy to firstname.lastname@example.org or send it to me through the postal mail. Sign, scan and e-mail the letter, and then mail me the original — it is preferable to have both. If you have access to a fax machine, you may fax the letter to the office of Brown’s local defense counsel (ATTN: Marlo Cadeddu) at 214-744-3015. My address is as follows:
Free Barrett Brown Ltd.
P.O. Box 2658
Amherst, MA 01004
If you have ANY questions about this process, please don’t hesitate to call Barrett’s local counsel Marlo Cadeddu at 214-220-9000.
II. Content of the Letter
The purpose of these support letters is to help Judge Lindsay understand the value of Barrett’s contributions to society and culture as a writer, investigative journalist, researcher, political satirist and humorist.
A. What to say
The letters should be as specific as possible. It also would be helpful if the letters include anecdotes that illustrate the author’s relationship with or perception of Barrett, one’s estimation of his work, or his positive character traits. Your letter should (generally) include the following subject matter:
- A brief description of who you are, including your name, occupation, and any other relevant biographical facts.
- If applicable, the nature of your relationship with the defendant (professional, social, familial, etc.), how long you have known him and the length and frequency of your contacts with him.
- The defendant’s good qualities or positive traits. Please be as specific and detailed as possible.
- Examples of the defendant’s good works for you or others.
- What you admire about Barrett’s personality or talents and why you think he should be freed. It is important that you speak from what you know factually about Barrett. It is equally important that you write the letter genuinely in your own voice.
B. What to avoid saying
Your letter should not be about Barrett’s case. Thus, you should not discuss the facts or merits of the case. Nor should the letter assert the defendants’ innocence. Finally, it would not be useful to minimize Barrett’s conduct or blame someone else for his predicament or to express resentment about his treatment by the government; there is always a risk that such sentiments will be attributed to the defendant and held against him. It is fine to ask the judge for leniency in sentencing.
III. Appropriate Length and Formatting
The letters should be one to two pages long, unless there are extraordinary circumstances that need elaboration. But the circumstances should be truly extraordinary for the letter to exceed two pages. You MUST sign the letter. You should also include your name, address and telephone number either in the upper right hand corner of the first page or after your signature.
Here are some websites that include guidance on writing sentencing letters and provide samples of letters from other cases:
Again, all letters should be addressed to the Judge, but SENT TO Kevin Gallagher (aka Free Barrett Brown) or Marlo Cadeddu, NOT THE JUDGE
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