Letter-Writing: Time Served for Barrett Brown

October 20, 2014

Via Free Barrett Brown

Two Years Is More than Enough — 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 after 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 November 24th, 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 past 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, which has become quite popular. For more information about Barrett, see his biographies at Project PM 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 admin@freebarrettbrown.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
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 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.

IV. Samples

Here are some websites that include guidance on writing sentencing letters and provide samples of letters from other cases:

https://www.ehow.com/how_4683439_write-letter-judge-before-sentencing.html

http://www.brodenmickelsen.com/mb10.html

https://web.archive.org/web/20131107155602/http://freejeremy.net/updates/letters-urgently- needed-join-us-in-asking-for-leniency-in-jeremys-sentencing/

*** Again, all letters should be addressed to the Judge, but SENT TO Kevin Gallagher (aka Free Barrett Brown) or Marlo Cadeddu, NOT THE JUDGE ***

References and links about Barrett’s case:

1. http://whowhatwhy.com/2013/02/21/the-saga-of-barrett-brown/print/
2. http://www.thenation.com/article/174851/strange-case-barrett-brown
3. http://www.longislandpress.com/2014/04/04/barrett-brown-american-journalist-whistleblower-prisoner/
4. http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/barrett-brown-faces-105-years-in-jail-20130905?print=true
5. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jul/13/barrett-brown-political-prisoner-information-revolution
6. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kevin-m-gallagher/why-barrett-brown-matters_b_4447315.html
7. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/09/business/media/a-journalist-agitator-facing-prison-over-a-link.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
8. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/mar/21/barrett-brown-persecution-anonymous

Photo: Theta00