[This text was originally published in AREA Chicago #4 in February 2007]
David Saxner passed away un-expectedly on November 23, 2006, from a massive heart attack. Remembering David Saxner is something that I do on a daily basis, and I hope that everyone that knew him or had the least contact with him will never forget him. I first met David in one of the legal visiting rooms at Stateville over thirty years ago. He was working with the People’s Law Office, and was soon helping to defend, on two different occasions, prisoners that had been charged with serious offenses. David helped to build support for those prisoners in the Chicago area, and they were all acquitted, due largely to the work that he did. Even at that time, David’s actions were out of the ordinary because, as most people now know, David had recently been released from federal prison. Most released prisoners don’t immediately engage in such activities. David was extraordinary.
David’s work on behalf of other prisoners began before he was released from prison, when he filed suit on behalf of another federal prisoner—a suit which was won and today stands as a precedent-setting case in prisoners’ rights law.
David went on to become one of the pillars in the community and legal defense of the Pontiac Brothers. And, as we all know, he devoted the last years of his life to the effort to obtain fairness in the parole process for the remaining indeterminately sentenced prisoners in Illinois.
Part of David’s legacy is and will remain the Campaign in Support of C# Prisoners, the organization that he founded and directed. We will continue to miss him and love him, as each day increases our appreciation for his unselfish devotion to the cause of indeterminately sentenced prisoners, and to his love of humanity.
In his honor, please send any donations to The Campaign in Support of C# Prisoners, PO Box 577908, Chicago IL 60657 http://www.cnumbercampaign.org