October 6, 2010

Civilian Terrorism Trials... What Could Go Wrong?

Hatched by Dafydd

Another mortal reminder from the Speaks for Itself category:

Minutes before a major terrorism trial was about to begin, a federal judge barred prosecutors in Manhattan on Wednesday from using a key witness.

The government had acknowledged it learned about the witness from the defendant, Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, while he was being interrogated and held in a secret overseas jail run by the Central Intelligence Agency.

The ruling by Judge Lewis A. Kaplan would seem to be a setback for the Obama administration’s goal of trying former detainees in civilian courts, because it would limit the kinds of evidence that prosecutors could introduce. Mr. Ghailani became the first former detainee to be moved into the civilian court system for trial.

You know what? Almost certainly, the judge made the correct ruling: In an ordinary civilian criminal trial, prosecutors obviously cannot use evidence obtained using enhanced interrogation techniques, while the accused was held without a lawyer, without the right to remain silent, and with no protection against self-incrimination.

But that, of course, is why we should not try terrorists captured on the battlefield in ordinary criminal courts. That's why we have the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center. Unlawful enemy combatants held "for the duration" in executive, Article II detention should not be subject to ordinary judicial rules, just as enemy soldiers in wartime have no "right to life."

But heck, who knew that if we tried Ghailani in an ordinary criminal court, the judge might treat him as an ordinary criminal defendant? It was a bolt from the blue!

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, October 6, 2010, at the time of 5:37 PM

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The following hissed in response by: Mr. Michael

Just another example of a Powerful Liberal Elite thinking that others would do as they would. If the folks in the Obama Administration were Judges, THEY would rule on what they thought was right, regardless of the Law. They assumed (incorrectly, at least in this case) that the sitting Judges would do the same.

I mean, as an emotional issue, we KNOW that the Terrorist (accused) is Guilty, so the only reason to hold a trial is to show the World how fair we are before we have the guy executed, right? (So the 'thinking' goes.) How were THEY to know that the Judge in this case wouldn't view the accused as guilty until proven guilty?

The above hissed in response by: Mr. Michael [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 7, 2010 10:05 AM

The following hissed in response by: Chris Balsz

It should be pointed out that the exclusionary rules are not part of the Constitution. They are rules imposed on courts by the Supreme Court to remedy violations of the Fourth Amendment.

It should be pointed out because we should not hold Court procedural rules in the same awe as the Constitution. If they work, great. If they don't work, they can be scrapped as easily as they are created.

Here they excluded not a fact, not a document, but an actual alleged conspirator. There is now a person who does not exist for the jury record. Maybe that helps the defendant. Maybe that hurts his case. From the public standpoint it ought to matter that the verdict will now be based on a false history. Justice cannot come from a false understanding of the facts.

The above hissed in response by: Chris Balsz [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 7, 2010 1:24 PM

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