Elena Ruth Sassower
Elena Ruth Sassower
“Mr. Chairman, there's citizen opposition to Judge Wesley based on his documented corruption as a New York Court of Appeals judge.  May I testify?”

On June 28, 2004, Elena Ruth Sassower was sentenced to six months imprisonment in the D.C. Capitol Jail by Judge Brian F. Holeman of the D.C. Superior Court for "disruption of Congress," a federal misdemeanor.  Below are details of Sassower's offense, as reported by the Westchester Crusader four days before her sentencing.


The Center for Judicial Accountability, Inc. (CJA) is calling for "justice not jail" for Elena Sassower, its Coordinator, who on June 28th returns to our nation's capital for sentencing before D.C. Superior Court Judge Brian F. Holeman, following her week-long jury trial before him and conviction on April 20th on a spurious criminal charge of "disruption of Congress," which the organization plans to appeal based on "a litany of reversible errors of law and fact."

CJA is a non-partisan, non-profit citizens' organization co-founded more than a decade ago by Ms. Sassower, an Ivy League graduate, to depoliticize the processes of judicial selection and discipline by increasing citizen participation. On May 22, 2003, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a "public hearing" to confirm President Bush's nomination of New York Court of Appeals Judge Richard Wesley to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, covering New York, Connecticut and Vermont. The "hearing" was adjourned without any inquiry as to whether anyone present wished to be heard - at which point Ms. Sassower rose and made her polite inquiry, "Mr. Chairman, there's citizen opposition to Judge Wesley based on his documented corruption as a New York Court of Appeals Judge. May I testify?"

Ms. Sassower was thereupon taken out, arrested, handcuffed behind her back, incarcerated for 21 hours, during which she was kept incommunicado, and criminally prosecuted for "disruption of Congress." By contrast, protestors at last month's May 7th hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee who interrupted the hearing by shouting out for Defense Secretary Rumsfeld to be fired and unfurled a "FIRE RUMSFELD" banner were NOT even arrested.

The Center views the case against Ms. Sassower for "disruption of Congress" as a vicious assault on citizens' rights - and retaliation for CJA's longtime public advocacy in exposing the corruption of the federal judicial selection process.

Judge Holeman himself, a recent Bush appointee, 46 years old at the time of his nomination, was approved after a "rubber stamp" confirmation similar to that of Judge Wesley, with no prior judicial or criminal law and procedure experience. Says the Center, "If our First Amendment is to mean anything, civic activists who courageously do their patriotic duty to speak out to stop the tide of governmental corruption of our judicial system at home should be given a medal of honor, not jail time."

The Westchester Crusader
June 24, 2004

Elena R. Sassower is Coordinator of the Center for Judicial Accountability, Inc. (http://www.judgewatch.org), a national nonpartisan, nonprofit citizens' organization that is working to reform the way federal, state, and local judges are selected and disciplined.  She is the author of "Without Merit: The Empty Promise of Judicial Discipline," a 1997 essay on the more insidious aspects of judicial misconduct.

While she was incarcerated, Sassower could be reached as:  Prisoner #301-340, D.C. Capitol Jail, 1901 D Street, S.E., Washington, D.C.  20003  (Tel:  202-673-8121).  She was released December 23, 2004 after 179 days of incarceration.  A contrived technicality deprived her of an early release.


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