Puerto Rico Work Continues

In 1982, Michael, Liz Fink, and Margaret Ratner from the Center for Constitutional Rights represented five political activists from New York who were indicted for criminal contempt for refusing to testify before another grand jury investigating the Puerto Rican Independence Movement and the FALN. The government asked for a 15-year sentence, supported by a memorandum accusing the five and Michael of being members of the FALN. The five were given three years in prison.

Jan Susler, who joined the office in 1982, continued her work on behalf of the Puerto Rican prisoners of war by monitoring their prison conditions, speaking extensively concerning their treatment, and by working with churches and human rights groups; and Michael and Jan worked to revive and coordinate the NLG Puerto Rico Subcommittee.

In the summer of 1985 in Chicago, Dennis and Michael participated in the trial and defense of four alleged FALN members charged with seditious conspiracy, three of whom asserted the prisoner of war position. In August,16 Puerto Rican independence activists, accused of being members of the Macheteros, a clandestine pro- independence organization, were arrested and brought to Hartford, Conneticutt, where they were charged with conspiracy to rob Wells Fargo of $7.3 million. Michael soon became involved in the defense of one of the alleged leaders and thus became embroiled in the longest federal criminal proceedings in history, which would require his presence in Hartford for months at a time. This case also marked the most extensive use ever of pretrial preventive detention, and it was only after protracted argument and struggle that the defense lawyers were able to secure the release of all defendants on bond. Eventually, Michael was instrumental in obtaining a resolution of the case in which his clients were sentenced to minimal prison terms.  To read further about our work with the Puerto Rican community, click here: Continuing Work in Solidarity With Puerto Rico.

History by Section

Early Days
The Murder of Fred Hampton
Government Surveillance
Representing the Panthers in Downstate Illinois
Attica New York Prison Riots
The Fred Hampton Murder Trial
Prisoner Rights Work
Puerto Rican Independence Movement and the Puerto Rican Community
Fred Hampton Appeal
George Jones Street Files and False Imprisonment
Representing Demonstrators, Protestors, and Activists
Puerto Rico Work Continues
Police Brutality and Torture
Continuing to Represent Demonstrators and Activists
The Attica Prison Civil Case
Continuing Work in Solidarity With Puerto Rico
Fighting the Death Penalty
Sexual Abuse Litigation and Illegal Strip Search
Back to the Supreme Court
The 1996 Democratic Convention
Policy and Practice Cases
False Arrests and Convictions
Continuing to Defend Dissent
Continuing the Fight for Justice in the Chicago Police Torture Cases
Criminal Defense for Civil Rights Abuses
Jail Suicide
Opposing the Criminalization of the LGBTQ Community
People’s Law Office and The National Lawyers Guild