• From: Robert Paul <rpaul@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 12 Jun 2006 15:34:40 -0700

Eric Yost wrote:

Judy: I imagine the Administration would argue that
the military tribunals are "fair and regular trials"!!

Yes and given the nature of the terrorists, it's hard to see another way to deal with them. Treat them as regular criminals and compromise national security?

Eric, you're beginning to sound like (the Bush Administration, Fox News, the Committee for State Security, and a lot of other folks whom you may or may not want to sound like), although your beginning to sound like them isn't, I grant, an argument against your views. What you've been saying lately saddens and dismays me. As here: isn't the purpose of any trial or judicial proceeding in the relevant instance to determine whether or not someone _is_ a terrorist? That divulging certain information to Congress, let alone to the public, would 'compromise national security' is an assertion on the part of an Administration that I have no reason to trust on any matter. But that aside, when you say

Remember the blind mullah behind the '93 WTC bombing? His lawyer (thankfully now in the slammer) was complicit in transmitting terrorist directives to people overseas. All we need is to see that kind of treachery repeated endlessly in criminal courts.

I can only wonder if you think that defense lawyers are the only ones who can be guilty of misconduct. The Attorney General engage in duplicity? I would of course be deeply shocked were that to happen. Certainly the casuistry you engage in above would equally well support (if it supported anything) the dismantling of the entire criminal justice system.

[From March, of this year]

ALEXANDRIA, Va., An angry federal judge delayed the sentencing trial of Zacarias Moussaoui on Monday and said she was considering ending the prosecution's bid to have him executed after the disclosure that a government lawyer had improperly coached some witnesses.

Judge Leonie M. Brinkema said she had just learned from prosecutors that a lawyer for the Transportation Security Administration gave portions of last week's trial proceedings to seven witnesses who have yet to testify. In e-mail messages, the lawyer also seemed to tell some of the witnesses how they should testify to bolster the prosecution's argument that Moussaoui bore some responsibility for the deaths caused by the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

"In all my years on the bench, I've never seen a more egregious violation of the rule about witnesses," Judge Brinkema said before sending the jury home for two days. She said that the actions of the government lawyer, identified in court papers as Carla J. Martin, would make it "very difficult for this case to go forward."

[We now know how the Moussaoui trial ended. It ended in a way that did not destroy the rule of law, whatever one may think of the jury's decision in the penalty phase.]

Robert Paul
Reed College
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