Thursday, April 2, 2009

Call to Action for Leonard Peltier

Leonard Peltier should be confined in close proximity to his home reservation so that he can frequently visit with his family members and receive the love, support, and companionship of other tribal members.

Do your part:

--First, write to the director of the Bureau of Prisons and send a copy of your correspondence to the Attorney General.

The Honorable Eric Holder
Office of the Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001 (Be sure to mark your correspondence to the attention of the Attorney General)

A sample letter drafted by attorney Mike Kuzma follows.

From: [your full name and full address]

Date: ... / ... / 2009


Mr. Harley G. Lappin, Director
Bureau of Prisons
320 First Street, NW
Washington, DC 20534

Dear Director Lappin:

I am writing in regard to Mr. Leonard Peltier, #89637-132, who is currently incarcerated at USP-Lewisburg.

As you know, USP-Lewisburg is in the process of being converted to a special management facility and, as a result, the inmates currently housed there are being transferred to other prisons around the country. In January of this year, Mr. Peltier was transferred to USP-Canaan where he was severely beaten on January 13th by two other inmates. Mr. Peltier has since been returned to USP-Lewisburg.

On August 20, 2008, Mr. Peltier submitted an “Inmate Request to Staff” form to Case Manager Rothermel, wherein he specifically requested to be transferred to Oxford FCI or Sandstone FCI. Ordinarily, an inmate is to be placed within 500 miles of his or her anticipated release residence. See BOP Program Statement 5100.08, Chapter Five, Page Three. This has not occurred at any point during Mr. Peltier’s three decades plus of incarceration.

Under 18 USC §4042 (a) (2) (3), the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has a duty to provide for Mr. Peltier’s safekeeping, care, and protection. Further, the Supreme Court has noted that, “When the State takes a person into its custody and holds him there against his will, the Constitution imposes upon it a corresponding duty to assume some responsibility for his safety and general well being.” See DeShaney v. Winnebago County Social Services Dept., 489 U. S. 189, 199-200 (1989). The January 13th attack on Mr. Peltier is evidence that the BOP has not fully fulfilled its responsibility under the law. By transferring Mr. Peltier to Oxford FCI or Sandstone FCI, the BOP can take a positive step toward ensuring its legal obligation to Mr. Peltier.

Mr. Peltier is an elder who will turn 65 in September. Among other things, he suffers from diabetes, hypertension, prostate trouble, and his vision is partially impaired. There is no reason why he cannot be transferred to either Oxford FCI or Sandstone FCI. Such a transfer would comport with BOP policy and the law and should occur without any further delay.

I look forward to hearing from you concerning this matter at your earliest possible convenience.

Thank you.

Yours truly,

[your signature and full name]

cc: Attorney General Eric Holder


--Frequently Call the White House. Ask President Obama to initiate Peltier’s transfer to the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians. Alternatively, ask that Peltier be immediately transferred to FCI Sandstone or FCI Oxford. Adapt the above letter for talking points. Call the White House comment line at 202-456-1111 or 202-445-1112. You may also send an e-mail at A letter can also be effective. The mailing address follows.

The Honorable Barack Obama
The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Do it and keep doing it.

Friends of Peltier

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