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Wednesday, January 05, 2005

BULLETIN: A Memorial Tribute to Dianne Lynn Martin

From Frank and Anne Dreaver
Leonard Peltier Defense Committee Canada

A Memorial Tribute to Dianne Lynn Martin
March 19, 1945 – December 20, 2004

Professor of Law, Osgoode Hall Law School (LLB ‘76)
Canadian Counsel for North American Indian Political Prisoner
Leonard Peltier; the LPDC Canada and the LPDC Coalition

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We are deeply shocked and saddened to learn of the tragic loss of our dear friend and comrade Dianne Lynn Martin, Professor of Law at the Osgoode Hall Law School, Toronto, Canada; founder of the law school's Innocence Project; and long-time Canadian attorney for North American political prisoner Leonard Peltier and the LPDC Canada. Dianne passed away in the early morning hours of Monday, December 20 of an apparent heart attack. She was 59 years old.

Wow, what can I say? We are honoured to have worked with and to have known Professor Martin or simply Dianne as she preferred to be called. She was a good spirit of high intellectual capacity, of high moral character, principled, sharply witty, generous and humble. In her 30-year career, she has left a profound legacy in the defense of justice and fundamental human and civil rights. She believed passionately in the need for and demanded the highest of standards within the administration of justice. This was demonstrated to us in her generous 17-year commitment to our indigenous struggle for justice and freedom for Leonard Peltier.

Dianne was constantly looking for practical means to this end, all of which were meticulously researched. Her various briefs were tabled in both American and Canadian courts. The documentation, which she compiled with our committee and her law students, was presented and lobbied by international LPDC representative Frank Dreaver to hearings of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations; the U.N. Human Rights Commission, to the European Parliament and the Hague; and to various international governmental and human rights bodies. In 1996, this documentation became a permanent record with the U.N. Human Rights Commission. It was also donated in a formal ceremony to the Osgoode Hall Law School library in 1999.

Dianne assisted us in raising the case of Leonard Peltier to a world audience, with a focus on Canada’s involvement as an international violation. Her research and analysis; her briefs and writings; her speeches and oral arguments have contributed to a growing international recognition and endorsement of this grave miscarriage of justice perpetrated by the United States government.

Her further contributions include a 1989 "leave to appeal" the Peltier extradition to the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa with co-counsel Clayton Ruby and the late Lew Gurwitz; arguing the case of extradition fraud on November 9, 1992 on behalf of 55 Canadian Parliamentarians in an amicis curiae brief to the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Paul’s, Minnesota; and facilitating an independent legal hearing with the LPDC Canada in Toronto, Ontario on October 25, 2000, presided by The Hon. Justice Fred Kaufman, Q.C., a former Senior Justice of the Quebec Court of Appeals. Justice Kaufman’s findings formed the basis of our Canadian application for clemency on December 11, 2000 to United States President Bill Clinton, a request which Clinton later refused. The findings were also filed with the Canadian Department of Justice and the Prime Minister of Canada, who referred the materials for a further review with the Minister of Justice.

Despite all our disappointments and frustrations through all the many years, Dianne refused to give up the fight for justice. She believed strongly that Mr. Peltier was innocent and had been framed, fraudulently extradited and wrongfully convicted for a crime that even the United States government was forced to admit they can not prove. (Government officials have since claimed that Leonard Peltier is guilty of aiding and abetting. However, he was never formally convicted of this charge, or given a chance to defend himself in any court of law in both Canada and the United States. His case remains one of the most extreme violations of an individual’s constitutional right to due process.)

Dianne believed that there was an urgent need for unity in our struggle. To date, the simple presenting of evidence alone in this case has not proven to be enough. Like us, she understood that any effective collaboration would not exist without the co-operation and good faith between peoples, and the belief in the individual’s responsibility to lead by example. Dianne would often share with us her hope and dream for a strong and united world demand for Mr. Peltier’s freedom.

Thank you Dianne on behalf of Leonard Peltier and the Peltier committee for your beautiful spirit, your courage and your time. We will always remember you and will continue in our struggle. We send our sincere heartfelt condolences to the Martin family and all her relatives and friends.

Frank and Anne Dreaver
Leonard Peltier Defense Committee Canada

January 4, 2005


P.O.W. 89637-132
Leavenworth Prison, Kansas, USA

As we begin the New Year, I would like to take a moment to honor a devoted sister in the struggle who passed away recently. On December 21, 2004, Dianne Lynn Martin, Professor of Law at the Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, Canada, suffered a heart attack and passed away at the age of 59.

After 18 years of fighting for my freedom, Dianne’s absence will be deeply felt. She leaves behind a legacy of working for justice and empowering others to fight for the truth. Although I know that she is in a better place, I am deeply saddened and I extend my condolences to Dianne’s friends and family. She was a devoted activist and friend.

Dianne began working on my behalf in 1986 with Bruce Ellison and Lew Gurwitz. Since then she has proven invaluable in both legal and political aspects of the struggle. She worked hard to liberate not just me, but other political prisoners, including Romeo Phillion, whom she helped set free after more than 30 years of wrongful imprisonment.

At the beginning of my 29th year in prison, I remember Dianne Lynn Martin, without whom my freedom would not seem so possible.

Wednesday, January 5, 2005


Memorial Service at the Moot Court Room, Osgoode Hall Law School
January 5, 2005, 10 am to 11:30 am

A Special Memorial Service to celebrate the life of Professor Dianne Martin will be held in the Moot Court Room at the Law School on Wednesday, January 5, 2005 from 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Family, friends and colleagues will gather to pay tribute to the tremendous contribution she made to the cause of social justice as well as to the Law School over her 30 year career. All classes will be suspended during the 90-minute memorial service.

The law school is establishing A Dianne Martin Bursary Fund to assist students in financial need who have a demonstrated interest in social justice. Those wishing to honour Dianne's memory may contribute to the Bursary by sending a cheque payable to Osgoode Hall Law School (Re: Dianne Martin Bursary) to the Dean's Office, or by going online to the law school’s Online Donation Form at and typing in "Dianne Martin Bursary" under the heading "Please Direct my contribution to:".

For more information, contact the law school at (416) 736-5199 / Fax: (416) 736-5251 or email at