Tommy Silverstein, official Website: 9 / 8 /14
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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 on the link below.
9th August 2014.
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 top 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.
My forced (sorta) sabbatical is coming to an end, so hopefully we’ll renew our beloved Guest-book (-: and reconnect with all of you that I’ve not heard from since we had to shut it down while all our attention was focused on the Court.
However, we’ll no longer respond to any naysayers unless we feel it necessary to do so.
We just haven’t the time to waste and frankly I just don’t give a damn what Haters think or have to say anymore never the less, we’ll continue to let em be heard since they speak what my tormentors are too cowardly to admit publicly for fear of revealing their true character behind official facade.
Which will be one of our goals now, to rip the Mask off Monster that’s swallowed me whole and continues to chew me up and spit me out in pieces.
We’ll be more pre-active, which should satisfy those of you who have asked for years to Petition the powers that be, for a reprieve for me etc
Although we’ll do that eventually, for now, I need your help to send letters of complaint about my mail, It’s about all I have left to mess with so the Sadist Guarding this hell-hole with hold my mail without concern for my pleas, however I’ll plead with you all reading this to flood the Bosses of my censor with complaints and demand that my mail is processed according to policy i.e. 48 hours, not 3 – 4 weeks, )-: or get someone who can do the job properly, perhaps after a flood of mails my voice will no longer fall upon Deaf ears. I’d like for you to truly feel my pain and frustration that I’m helpless to resolve, well those causing it, get off on it )-:
Your help is very much needed and appreciated.
“We’ll chit chat” less this time around on our “G. B”. And focus on activism, giving the voiceless a voice for a much needed change, lets face it, I maybe isolated, but I suspect regular folks reading this around the world feel as helpless as I do when addressing the powers that be ! But united for a common cause we are powerful and a force to be reckoned with!
Please take care, be strong and let me know what you think of our revised strategy so far.
As always your input is welcomed!
Your Pal Tom Silverstein -9th August 2014.
This is the appelent application for a re-hearing en banc filed 7th July 2014.
Two top national prison experts said the conditions Silverstein has endured are the most severe they’ve ever encountered.
“Not only has he been subjected to the most extreme forms of isolation I have ever seen — placed in housing units that were literally designed to isolate him as completely as possible from other human beings — but he also has been confined in these places for an extraordinary length of time,” wrote Dr. Craig Haney, a psychology professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who has studied solitary confinement for 30 years.
Steve Martin, another noted prison expert, wrote: “The level of near total isolation from all human contact is unprecedented in my 38 years experience in corrections, which includes experience with numerous death rows and ultra-high security facilities across the U.S.”
Laura Rovner, director of the student law clinic at the University of Denver, is Silverstein’s longtime lawyer who has worked with several crews of law students representing him. On Tuesday, she’ll challenge a 2011 U.S. District Court decision that upheld the Bureau of Prison’s assertions that Silverstein’s decades in solitary haven’t deprived him of life’s basic necessities. Judge Philip Brimmer sided with the BOP’s lawyers from U.S. Attorney John Walsh’s office that the case shouldn’t go to trial.
Walsh’s office refused comment on the case.
The question before the three-judge appeals panel Tuesday morning will be whether there are factual issues in dispute that would warrant a trial. Among those are:
• The Bureau’s claim that 30 years in isolation haven’t harmed Silverstein. Experts who have evaluated him have found extensive evidence of depression, cognitive impairment, memory loss, hallucinations, severe anxiety disorder, panic attacks that make his him breathless and shaky in the company of others, and paranoia that leads him to hear voices whispering to him through vents.
• The Bureau’s assertion that Silverstein is too dangerous to lessen the extreme solitary confinement conditions in which he is housed. Silverstein’s lawyers challenge this argument based on the two best predictors of a prisoner’s future dangerousness. One is age. At 61, Silverstein has statistically aged out as posing a risk of violence. Another predictor is recent behavior. His prison record has been clean for more than two decades.
Rovner will argue that Silverstein should have his day in court to determine whether 30 years in extreme isolation amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. Silverstein is not requesting anyone to lift his three life sentences. Rather, having spent years studying Buddhism in prison, he wants to demonstrate at trial that he has changed. He also wants a shot at working his way out of solitary and some day dining and playing checkers with other prisoners and hugging his two children.
“I am quickly becoming an old man. I spend most of my days crocheting items for my family and my legal counsel and working on my artwork. It is hard to reconcile the [Bureau's] description of me as frightening and scary, when the people who see me here know I am a man peering through bifocals trying to count the number of stitches to make and afghan,” he wrote. “It’s hard, if not impossible, for me to prove what is actually in my mind and what is not. All I can do is ask that others look at my current behavior and explain that it reflects my intention never to act violently again, ever. I know the consequences – both to myself and others – that will follow. And, more importantly, I know that this is not who I wish to be.”
For Rovner and the dozens of D.U. law clinic students who over the years have revolved on and off of his case, Silverstein is an amiable and grateful client who crochets hats, mittens, scarves and blankets for them and their relatives. When he has art supplies, he uses pastels and paint to make them artwork.
That said, and despite his public apologies for his crimes, a three-time prison killer and former Aryan Brotherhood leader isn’t the most sympathetic figure in the growing national movement to end long-term solitary confinement. Silverstein’s case pivots not on redemption but on what, given all the research on the psychological harm of extreme isolation, is deemed to be cruel and unusual treatment of prisoners.
“The 8th Amendment is about what we as a society are willing to sanction as punishment. It has built into it this notion of evolving standards decency that mark the progress of a maturing society,” Rovner said. “The amendment doesn’t just protect people who are catatonic or floridly psychotic. It protects people from being harmed by the minimal civilized measure of life’s necessities, especially for what has been an unthinkable period of time.”
In 2011, Juan Mendez, the United Nations special rapporteur on torture, issued a statement calling for an “absolute prohibition” of solitary confinement beyond fifteen days. He has asked, but not been allowed to tour ADX. The prison is the subject of a federal class action lawsuit about how it treats its mentally ill prisoners, some of whom starve themselves, self-mutilate to the point of cutting off their testicles or, as was the case with prisoner Robert Knott earlier this month, hang themselves with bed sheets.
Mental health professionals, state legislatures and human rights organizations have condemned prolonged isolation, which is defined by the American Psychiatric Association as a period greater than three to four weeks.
“Given that four weeks of solitary confinement was described as potentially harmful, the 30-year duration in this case compels scrutiny. If shorter periods of solitary confinement have resulted in psychological distress and symptoms, it is not unreasonable to assume that substantially longer durations provide a greater risk of serious health consequences,” several national groups and experts wrote the court on Silverstein’s behalf.
A division of the U.S. Justice Department, under the federal Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), has investigated and found violations of state prisons for the overuse of solitary confinement. Perhaps the greatest irony about Silverstein’s case is that solitary confinement as practiced by the Bureau of Prisons, also an arm of the Justice Department, is exempt from that civil rights division’s review.