By International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee
Dear Friends and Family,
I want to thank you for all the generous donations that have come in for Leonard’s legal team, almost 9,500 dollars in the last 2 weeks. It is wonderful and shows what we can do to help Leonard’s lawyers to move forward. Which means we must continue to raise funds to make this happen. I want to share with you part of the strategy the lawyers have put together to gain Leonard’s freedom!
From the desk of the attorney:
_There are three paths to consider in an effort to obtain Leonard’s release. The first is a renewed petition for habeas corpus on the grounds that Leonard’s incarceration is unconstitutional. There are many obstacles here, both legal and logistical. New grounds (not previously raised in any appeal) would have to be discovered to be able to file a petition that is meritorious and would be considered by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. As a practical matter, locating the complete records all of previous appeals may be difficult as it appears that over the years they have been distributed to different attorneys. It might become necessary to obtain them from the court clerks directly but there is no guarantee they will be available. _
_ Secondly, after consultation with experts in the area of federal parole, it may be possible to renew Leonard’s petition within the next two years. This may be the most promising path as it would provide the most opportunity to present the factors related to racial discrimination, the illegal FBI counter-intelligence operations in the 1970’s against AIM, the coercive and underhanded tactics of the FBI during the investigation leading to Leonard’s arrest and conviction, his health issues and the sufficiency of his sentence at this point. _
_ Third, is the possibility of a “compassionate release” based on his declining health. This is an administrative issue handled with the Bureau of Prisons. Again, I have spoken with experts in the area who advise that generally, compassionate releases are intended for prisoners with terminal illnesses. I am happy to say that Leonard in my view is far from the end of his days, however, he does have significant health issues, and that combined with the time he has been incarcerated this may be a sufficient basis._
As I mentioned above, other than general guidelines that apply to all inmates there are no definitive regulations regarding the granting of a compassionate release from which we can determine that Leonard does, or does not, qualify. Each situation is weighed on a case by case basis. Leonard’s medical condition does make a release on this basis possible, although the hiring of outside medical experts may be necessary as his present condition will undoubtedly be open to interpretation for any consideration of compassionate release.
I am including the URL link to an article that will provide additional information regarding efforts to pressure the Bureau of Prisons to expand its granting of compassionate releases.
I hope this information will help you see the urgency of our request for donations to Leonard’s legal team.
On the medical front, Leonard is recovering slowly from the heart surgery as lock downs, visits canceled and the new elder unit has him stressed. His grandson Cyrus & his son went to visit Leonard (Thanks to the Rosenberg Fund for Children) last weekend. Cyrus checked before he left to make sure visiting was on “YES, they said” but when Cyrus got to the prisonmorning he was told visit were canceled for the day and he should call night to see if they would be open . , it was closed, he called night for , visits were canceled yet again. Both Cyrus, his son and Leonard missed a chance to be a family for the weekend. Leonard was very upset as he say’s “time is too short for me, and to not see my great grandson is very upsetting.”
Leonard has very few pleasures in life, the most important is his visits with family and friends. It is imperative for us to continue to push his struggle forward. We need to stay focused and dedicated in order to right this grave injustice.
With Respect and Thank you for your support for Leonard's struggle for freedom,