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Page 17
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<< 16. Soul Wounds: Healing and True Peace18. N. E. Scheppers, Remembered >>

Steve Somerstein - Presente!

By Ben Chitty

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Brother Steve Somerstein died September 19, after a two-year battle with cancer. He leaves a widow, Margaret, and a daughter, Lyla Rose. Many will recall that Steve was a lead organizer and lawyer for the Veterans Peace Convoy to Nicaragua.

Veterans Peace Convoy to Nicaragua, 1988.

Steve had a long career in law, most recently in the Public Defenders office in Brooklyn, New York. Perhaps his most notorious case involved IRA member Joe Doherty as a client. Doherty had been arrested for killing a British Special Air Service member during a 1980 gun battle between SAS and an IRA squad, a few days after the squad had ambushed a Royal Ulster Constabulary detachment. During the 1981 murder trial Doherty escaped and fled to the United States, where he applied for political asylum. Steve and his colleague Mary Pike won the case at every stage until the last stop at the Supreme Court in 1992, where a convoluted and unusual ruling allowed the Attorney General to overrule the Board of Immigration Appeals and cut short Doherty's appeal for asylum.

Steve served in the Marine Corps 1963-1966, and was in the first US combat unit to be deployed to Danang in 1965. He was active in VVAW's Clarence Fitch Chapter for many years, serving on its steering committee, volunteering as a military counselor, and becoming involved in actions around Soviet Afghani veterans and the campaign to stop the bombing of Vieques. But the 1988 Convoy and its defiance of the Reagan administration's embargo on Nicaragua was probably his fondest and proudest VVAW moment. More than once he told friends that he truly believed that participating in the Convoy and in VVAW saved his life.

Steve Somerstein - Presente!

Ben Chitty is a shellback Navy veteran of two deployments to Vietnam, and a long-time member of VVAW.

Bob Livesey, Steve Somerstein, Leslie on Veterans Peace Convoy to Nicaragua, 1988.

<< 16. Soul Wounds: Healing and True Peace18. N. E. Scheppers, Remembered >>