NY judge poised to consider request to free ailing ex-lawyer convicted in terrorism case

A New York judge is poised to hear arguments regarding whether a former civil rights lawyer convicted in a terrorism case can be released early to cope with terminal cancer.

Federal Judge John Koeltl (COAT-ole) will listen to lawyers Thursday discuss the fate of Lynne Stewart. The 73-year-old longtime New York City resident has been incarcerated since 2009. Stewart is serving a 10-year prison term. She said in a message posted on her website days ago that her oncologist has said she has only 18 months to live.

Her lawyers have asked Koeltl to release her early so she can die at home in Brooklyn. The government has said in court papers that the judge lacks authority to release her early without a request from the federal Bureau of Prisons.