Dear Jon Stewart,
The #Justice4Cecily team appreciates the attention you showed to Cecily McMillan’s case last night on The Daily Show, and we agree with your message of Justice for Some that resounds throughout the show. It has become more than abundantly clear since the financial crisis that there are two sets of laws in this country: one for Wall Street and the 1%, and another one for Occupy Wall Street and the 99%.
Unfortunately, your scoreboard of the number of arrests for both of these groups – “Wall Street: 1 - OWS: 1”, however in jest you presented it – gives the impression that somehow justice has been served for Cecily and for the millions of Occupy activists and supporters across the country and around the world. And with this we must respectfully disagree.
For Cecily, justice has most definitely not been served. Cecily was violently, and sexually, assaulted in Zuccotti Park on the 6th month anniversary of OWS in March, 2012. She sustained bruises on her right breast, ribs, arms, legs and back, underwent a seizure, had to be hospitalized, and still suffers from PTSD originating from the incident. The more than two-year delay in her criminal case has put her bright academic and political career on complete standstill.
Furthermore, the jury trial that convicted Cecily was rife with juridical missteps: suppression of key evidence, gag orders on Cecily’s attorney, and clear bias on the part of Judge Zweibel, who is well known as ‘a prosecutor in robes.’ Even the jury that convicted Cecily regretted their decision upon learning post-trial of the potential sentencing length. One juror told the Guardian:
“They felt bad. Most just wanted her to do probation, maybe some community service. But now what I’m hearing is seven years in jail? That’s ludicrous. Even a year in jail is ridiculous.”
Just as important is the lack of justice for the almost 8,000 Occupy activists who have been arrested in the last three years for peacefully protesting wealth inequality and corporate corruption of our democracy, and for the millions of people who have fallen into the 700% prison population increase of the United States since the 1970s. Cecily has been privileged to have good counsel and a support network of people to make her case for innocence, but countless others haven’t been so fortunate.
You have an important opportunity, Mr. Stewart, with this case to make a powerful statement about the need for reform of our justice system in order to serve all people fairly and blindly. Rather than leave your audience with an ambiguous answer to the question of Justice for Some? We kindly ask that you correct the record on your next show or invite a member of our team to appear and correct it ourselves.
Thank you, again, for standing up for the 99% and for justice for all.
In solidarity, The #Justice4Cecily Team