Stanley L. Cohen

Following graduation from college Stanley went to work as a VISTA volunteer living and working on the Winnebago, Omaha and Santee Sioux reservations where he helped to set up a legal services project.  After VISTA he went to work as a community organizer in New York City, ran a drug program for largely homeless teens in Westchester, New York, and worked for a number of years as an administrator in a Federally funded anti-poverty agency.  From there he went to law school.

Straight from law school Stanley went to work for the criminal defense division of the Legal Aid Society of the City of New York in the South Bronx through most of the 1980s during which he represented thousands of indigent defendants on charges ranging from fare beat cases to multiple homicides.

In the latter part of 2014, Stanley was asked to assist in an attempt to negotiate the release of hostage, Peter Kassig, held by IS (ISIL, ISIS).  The Guardian news (UK) covered this attempt here: http://www.theguardian.com/news/2014/dec/18/-sp-the-race-to-save-peter-kassig

In the early part of 2015, Stanley presented himself to Federal Prison Camp-Canaan in Waymart, PA. to serve an 18 month sentence for “impeding”… a sort of government catch-all charge when all other attempts to destroy an individual’s life/career fail.  After more than a decade of harassment from government for the “offense” of abiding by our founders wishes through provision of defense for all accused (including those considered “enemies” of the US), Stanley negotiated a plea which, while possibly destroying his continuation as an attorney, would put an end to a costly (in terms greater than money) defense of himself against the oppressive weight of IRS litigation.

Stanley has not been silenced despite government attempts.  He has been teaching courses on Law and Government to fellow inmates, listening to their life stories, writing brief articles, commentary and poetry and continues work on legal projects in the works for several years.

Stanley’s work and life are the subject of a play currently being written by a London playwright.  Stanley has been contributing to this effort which is expected to premiere in 2016. He has also been the subject, over several years, of a PBS documentary directed by the youngest Emmy award winning women (2 of them) in history.  This documentary is expected to be aired in the Fall of 2015.

Jon Campbell of the NY publication The Village Voice met with Stanley shortly before his incarceration. The outcome was a strongly worded and honest look at Stanley and his work.  Please click here  to read.  The Lawyer Who Represented Terrorists Heads To Prison as Unapologetic as Ever

Pullitzer Prize winning writer/intellectual Chris Hedges has this to say about Stanley’s travails and incarceration in his article: The Ordeal of Stanley L. Cohen: Justice as Farce.

For a powerful presentation of Stanley’s views in defense of Hamas, a series of videos is available. The Doha Debates  here , part 2 ,  part 3 , part 4 & part 5

This blog was established as a central place for Stanley’s voice in confinement which he will use to express himself as well to give voice to his friends who share space within the cage.


Digest of Some of Stanley Cohen’s Prominent Cases:

  1. In re the extradition of Mousa Abu Marzook (1995-1997), Southern District of New York, successful defense against efforts by Israel to extradite leader of Hamas’ political wing—arrested in the United States—to stand trial for bombings in that country.

  2. United States v. Mohamed Sheikh Abdirahman Kariye, District of Oregon; Somali Cleric arrested for possession of trace explosives “detected” when boarding a plane at airport. Bomb charges ultimately dismissed.

  3. United State v. Patrice Lumumba Ford, District of Oregon; Defended African American charged with Material Support of Terrorism, and Treason, alleging a conspiracy to travel to Afghanistan to fight against US military.

  4. United States v. Abdourahman Alamoudi, Eastern District Virginia; defended Eritrian Yemeni charged with Material Support of Terrorism, stemming from a conspiracy with Libyan Colonel Muammar Qadafi to assassinate Saudi king Abdullah in Mecca.

  5. United States v. Dr. John Doe, Eastern District New York; Defended Syrian national with various immigration and US citizenship-related charges, following suspicion of connection with al-Qaeda activities in the US and overseas. Charges dismissed.

  6. United States v. Sheikh John Doe, SDNY; Defended alleged unindicted Syrian co-conspirator in the East Africa embassy bombings and the attack on the USS Cole; Syrian national; initial suspect in the 9-11 attacks in the US. No charges filed.

  7. In Re: Grand Jury Subpoena of John Doe, SDNY; grand jury contemnor, Palestinian-American, jailed for refusing to testify about Hamas before grand jury.  Released from custody after six months.

  8. In Re Grand Jury Subpoena of John Doe; Northern District Illinois. In re: Material Witness Order of John Doe, State of Maryland; Palestinian-American subpoenad to appear before grand jury investigating Hamas and allegations of Material Support of Terrorism. Did not testify and was not charged.

  9. In Re: Grand Jury Subpoena of Abdalaheem Ashqar, Northern District Illinois; grand jury contemnor and hunger striker before two separate grand juries investigating Hamas. Palestinian indicted for criminal contempt, racketeering and material support of terrorism, for refusing to cooperate with grand juries investigating Hamas and Palestinian resistance movements. Argued contempt citation and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act before Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

  10. In Re: Grand Jury Subpoena of Mufid Abdulqader, Northern District of Texas; Represented Palestinian-American during grand jury investigation of Hamas and Holy Land Foundation, ultimately charged in the “HLF Five” prosecutions.

  11. United States v. Hammoud, Eastern District North Carolina; Co-counsel in defense of Lebanese national youth charged with Material Support of Terrorism (Hezbollah) for donation to charity; 12 years representing him including three appeals (one en banc) in front of US Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, appeal to US Supreme Court; resentence hearing produced sentence reduction from 155 years to 30 years. Further appeal pending.

  12. United States v. Mohammed Alessa, District of New Jersey; defending  Palestinian-American, age eighteen (now 21), on charges of conspiracy to murder foreign nationals, alleging he conspired to travel to Somalia to join al-Shabaab.

  13. United States v. Amina Ali, District of Minnesota; defending Somali native against charge of Material Support of Terrorism, for conspiracy to send charitable money back home to an organization connected to al-Shabaab.

  14. United States v. Sulaiman Abu Ghayth, Southern District of New York; son-in-law of Usama Bin Laden charged with conspiracy to murder Americans served as spokesperson for Al Qaeda before and after September 11, 2001.

  15. People v. Mona Elatahawy New York State prosecution of internationally reknowned Egyptian journalist and blogger selected as one of the hundred most powerful Arab women in the world, charged with defacing anti-Muslim pro-Israel poster in the New York subway system.

  16. Representing Naturei Karta-USA, an organization of anti-Zionist orthodox Hasidic Jews, in defense of their speech and assembly rights; brought NK-USA rabbis to Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut—first Jewish clerics ever to visit and pray at Sabra-Shatila memorial, 2005.

  17. In Re: the Investigation of John Doe, two different federal districts; defended international charity and relief organizer against allegations that he, an Iranian-American, acted as an Iranian agent, and charges of violating OFAC sanctions against Iran.  No charges filed.

  18. United States v. Rev. Patrick Moloney, SDNY and Western District New York; assisted a defense of charges involving an IRA-organized Brinks robbery at a Rochester currency storage depot.

  19. United States v. Alan Berkman, et.al., District Court of D.C.; so- called D.C. Capital Bombing Case, assisted in defense of charges of explosive devises detonated in U.S. Capital Building to protest government policies in, among other things, Latin America.

  20. U.S. v Levasseur et. al., Western District Massachusetts; so- called Ohio Seven, assisted in defense against prosecution for decade-long series of bombings and robberies to protest US policies in Latin America and elsewhere.
  21. United States v. Nidal Abu Assi , EDNY; defended Palestinian-American charged in violation of Arms Export Control Act, for shipping night vision goggles, available at any Wal-Mart, to Palestinian security forces.

  22. In re: the Matter of Hayssam Omar, High Court Romania, European Court of Human Rights; defended Romanian national of Syrian descent; accused of orchestrating kidnapping of journalists in Iraq.

  23. Boim v. United Association of Study and Research, et. al., Northern District Illinois; represented UASR in civil law suit, against allegations of being a “front group” for Hamas, and culpable in death of US citizen in Israel, attributed to Hamas.

  24. Represented dozens of others as Material Witnesses or targets of grand Jury investigations in various districts throughout the United States, in alleged terrorism investigations.

  25. United States v. Collins, et.al., Northern District California; counsel for Mercedes Haeffer, a/k/a “No,” in the so-called “Pay-Pal hacking” case ascribed to members of the hacktivist group, Anonymous.

  26. People v. Zach Miller New York State prosecution of Occupy Wall Street organizer for assault of a New York City police officer.

  27. People v. Mazin Assi, Bronx, New York; defended Palestinian against charges of attempted fire-bombing of synagogue as retaliation for Israeli policies and practices against Palestinians.

  28. People v. Jose Ortiz, et al.,  Bronx, New York; successful defense in shooting of NYPD captain by the Nyetas, Puerto Rican street gang, as a “revenge” attack for the NYPD killing of a Puerto Rican youth Anthony Baez in South Bronx.

  29. People v. Yunis Mohammed, Brooklyn New York; assault of NYPD police officer by young African American Muslim during subway argument involving racial slurs.

  30. People v. Larry Davis, Bronx, New York; participated in defense of man acquitted of shooting six police officers in the South Bronx police corruption case, and prosecuted for 4 other homicides.

  31. People v. Lynne Stewart, New York County; defended Lynne on contempt charges for refusing to answer questions about a client in front of a grand jury. Case proceeded from trial court thorugh New York’s highest court of appeals.

  32. In re: the killing of Richard Luke, Queens, New York; Helped to represent family of young African American male killed in NYPD custody.

  33. Represented Mohawk Warrior Society during confrontation with federal and state law enforcement at Khanesatake Mohawk Territory in New York following incident during which a National Guard helicopter was shot down.

  34. Represented Mohawk Warrior Society during three-month armed stand-off at Oka, Quebec, following a gun battle during violent confrontation over attempted eviction of Mohawks protesting golf course on Mohawk cemetery, during which a Quebec police officer was killed. [Stanley Cohen was himself arrested and charged by Canada with seditious conspiracy as a result of his participation in these events; case dismissed after two years.]

  35. Represented Mohawk Warrior Society during lengthy armed confrontation at Mohawk Territory in Akwesasne, straddling US and Canadian borders, against state and federal law enforcement and military during jurisdictional battle in which several Mohawks were killed in a gun battle.

  36. Jock, et al. v. Salmon River Central School District, NDNY; assisted in the case of Mohawk students suing Salmon River School District for removing the Thanksgiving Address, an age-old traditional (non-Christian) Mohawk blessing, from school functions at a school with significant population of Mohawk youth.

  37. People v. Thomas Square, et al., Franklin County, New York; successful defense of criminal prosecution of several dozen Mohawk Warrior Society members for closing down state highway, during lengthy standoff with police.

  38. In re: the investigation of Brian Doe, target of investigation by Secret Service in Maryland into alleged threat against President of United States. No charges filed.

  39. Represented approximately one hundred members of the War Resisters League, the RCP and other anti-war activists arrested during anti-war protests against the first Gulf War.

  40. Represented several dozen members of Black Block, a so-called anti-imperialist anarchist resistance group arrested at a number of different anti-corporate/anti-imperialist demonstrations in NYC.

  41. People v. Zach Miller, New York County; defending OWS member against charges of assault upon police officer during Occupy Wall Street Demonstrations.

  42. People v. Seth Doe, successful defense of squatter indicted in New York County for use of explosive devices during demonstration at Tompkins Square Park.

  43. People v. George Doe,  Northern New York; Suppression of more than 100 lbs. of marijuana illegally seized by the U.S. Border Patrol.  Case dismissed.

  44. People v. Joe Doe, Northern New York; Suppression of more than 100 lbs. of marijuana illegally seized by the U.S. Border Patrol. Case dismissed.

  45. John and Jane Doe et. al. v. DEA , NDNY; Suit to recover currency illegally seized by DEA.  Money returned.

  46.  John and Jane Doe v. U.S. Border Patrol et. al., Northern District of New York, Suit to recover automobile illegally seized by U.S. Border Patrol. Car returned.

  47. John Doe Tobacco Company v. U.S. Homeland Security et. al.; NDNY; Suit to recover large amounts of currency illegally seized.  Money returned.

  48. John Doe Vinyards v. U.S. Homeland Security et. al.; Northern District of New York; Suit to recover large amounts of currency illegally seized.  Money returned.

  49. Blissett v. Sgt. Casey et. al.; Northern District of New York; Successful civil rights lawsuit on behalf of state court prisoner doing life sentence against various correction offers and personnel at prison for cruel and unusual punishment involving assaults and involuntary sedation.

  50. In Re the matter of Jane Doe Canadian psychologist and expert in child developent, NDNY; Reversed U.S. Homeland Security bar against her admission to travel and lecture in the U.S. on the grounds of conviction for posession of a single marijuana joint.

  51. Provided consultation to the government of Yemen regarding United States v. al Moyaad et. al., a Yemeni tribal leader convicted of Material Support of Terrorism for fund raising activities on behalf of Hamas and allegedly al Qaeda. Eventually returned to Yemen.

  52. Provided consultation and lectures to the Saudi Government and private business and foundations communities and bar associations in that country as well as Palestine, Egypt, Syria, Qatar, Lebanon and Turkey regarding US law, including the Patriot Act, the Foreign Intelligence Security Act and the federal designation process for so-called Foreign Terrorist Organizations and individuals.

  53. Consultant to al-Manar television network in Lebanon about litigation strategy and options for challenging its designation in the US as a terrorist entity, which blocked and criminalized its broadcast signal.

  54. Consultant to Hamas, Hezbollah and other movements in the Middle East, Gulf states, South Asia and North and South America regions about US and international laws and litigation strategies.

  55. Filed lawsuit against Israel, the United States Government and public and private US officials, citizens and corporations in District Court of D.C., on behalf of a class of Palestinians for war crimes, crimes against humanity and civil torts.

  56. Founding member of group of international lawyers who have filed lawsuits on behalf of Palestinians, against Israel, in jurisdictions in Morocco, Belgium, France, Spain, the UK and before the International Criminal Court; claims against Israel for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and violation of the Geneva Conventions.

  57. Represented the East 13th Street Squatter-Homesteader collective in suing for adverse possession of five NYC buildings in New York State Supreme Court; 3 years of litigation, including a 12-week trial, and appeals to the Appellate Division and New York State Court of Appeals.

  58. Defense of Lower East Side New York squats and squatters at different stages of occupation, in court and with city agencies, including: Umbrella Haus (still exists); C-Squat ( still exists); 7th Street (still exists); Third Street squat, 6th/B-C Community Center, a squatted school building; defense against evictions.

  59. Tompkin’s Square Park litigation, New York City 1988-1995; including the defense of Tent City, 1989, where homeless and supporters had occupied a city park, with improvised housing, with litigation and appeals; Tompkins Square “fire barrel case”—as portrayed in the Broadway musical, Rent—successfully challenged NYC’s attempt to extinguish fire barrels in TSP, the sole source of heat for homeless living in park; Curfew for Tompkins Square Park, litigated legality of imposing strict curfew to close the park at night; ultimately litigated NYC’s closing of Tompkins Square Park after removal of homeless. Represented ad hoc and community-initiative feeding programs in Tompkins Square Park; litigated NYC over attempt to demolish community band shell in TSP; litigated attempts by NYC to limit speech, assembly and demonstration permits in TSP.

  60. Defense of drop-in youth shelter for homeless street kids located in St. Mark’s Place; defense of Bronx, New York squatters against evictions.

  61. Defense of Lower East Side New York needle exchange program; ACT-Up programs in community including Aids/HIV demonstrations, and condom distribution.

  62. Counsel and legal advice page for New York City based the Shadow, anarchist newspaper, and World War 3 magazine. Counsel for homeless collective called Occupy TSP in meeting with city agencies, mayor’s staff and CB3, including occupation of offices.

  63. Defended more than 1000 activists and community members over a 10 year period  in the summons part, criminal court and state New York State Supreme Court, on violations, misdemeanors and felonies, including hearings and trials arising from Tompkins Square Park riot, demonstrations, defense of squats, tent city, and protests at Community Board 3.

  64. SAJBOD v. Radio 786, South Africa, consulting attorney and expert witness on free speech case involving attempt to censor content of radio show.



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