Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Trial No Different Than Many, Many Trials Before It

I've not read much about the details; but, it seems that the Palins and O'Reillys of the world are incensed by the Government's decision to put what's his name Mohammed on trial for his role in 9/11 in New York. Imagine that, holding a trial where the Government alleges the main crime occurred!

How dare we give him what he wants! It'll become a circus! I've got a few facts for the loyal opposition. United States District Court Judges are not known for giving defendants what they want, defendants get what, and only what, the law requires in federal courts. It also won't be a circus.

Then too, what's the problem that it is what the Defendant wants, that he tries to make it into a circus, that the Government is made to prove its case? All have been part and parcel of high profile trials for a couple of centuries now.

There's the pesky Constitution and all those statutes we've passed. The right to a public trial. Facing your accusers. Due Process. Those kind of things. Dump them? He doesn't deserve the rights we have?

He's not one of us! He's a terrorist! Yep, as were many of the 195 accused foreign terrorists tried in U.S. courts over the last couple of years. Many, most, are sitting in prisons, and will be for a long, long time.

It's the bad guys that "try" their accused in secret, without the ability to face the witnesses, with no procedural protections.


Lifehiker said...

Dave, you are right on! The right puffs out their chests on Fox, then succombs to fear when it comes to dealing with the enemy.

The people who attack us on American soil are criminals, pure and simple. Trying them in a regular court emphasizes that.

I look forward to the day that New Yorkers see justice done in their own city.

Jim Donahue said...

Did you see the Daily Show take on this Monday night? Brilliant--absolutely brilliant. (I embedded video on my blog.)

The Curmudgeon said...

Here's the thing: I am inclined to agree that we give the terrorists too much credit when we consider their actions as anything other than merely criminal. My inclination has been consistently in favor of the 'law enforcement' model of combating terrorism -- as opposed to the 'war' model.

For example, I think Pakistan could live with FBI teams combing the caves in the Northwest Territories looking for Osama -- just as I know Pakistan could never stomach allowing American armed forces to intervene more than they already are in these areas.

But -- even so -- I am wary about this proposed trial.

The Constitution is for thee and me -- and for all Americans -- even for (and especially for) Muslim Americans accused of terrorist acts.

But "what's his name Mohammed" is not an American.

I don't know that defense lawyers will have as their trial strategy an attempt to open American security arrangements for unflattering scrutiny -- but I don't feel that a District Court is the proper place to try this guy.

Nazi spies arriving in America in WWII were subject to military justice -- you could look it up. Bush's tribunals didn't make sense across the board -- but a tribunal in this case seems more appropriate, to me, than a normal court.

Dave said...

I can live with a tribunal, if it affords due process. The Bush version didn't.