Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Their Court Appointed Lawyers Just Out Played Us

We're not constitutional lawyers. Don't even play them on TV, so we may be missing something, but we don't really get this whole "Please don't wire tap us without warrants" thing the democrats are crying about. Look, we have to stay in Iraq so the terrorists don't follow us home, but occasionally one of the terrorists finds out where we are. Maybe they're out on vacation with the family and just stumble on us, or maybe they make a wrong turn at Gibraltar know how guys hate to ask for directions.

The point is, even though we've all been very quiet and the president's plan to keep the porch light off and not answer the door after dark is mostly working, occasionally someone's going to sneeze, or a baby will cry and the terrorists will know we're home. So the president has to listen to all our phone calls in case Alice call Bernice across the street to tell them there's a terrorist on her porch and don't answer the door. And it's working too.

From 1993 to 2001, prosecutors in Manhattan convicted some three dozen terrorists through guilty pleas and in six major trials. Ha. And that was before 9/11 and warrantless wiretaps. Oh you really stepped in it on 9/11 Mr. Jihadi. You woke up a sleeping giant because we were throwing your Hummus eating behind in the slammer before the president started listening to everyone ordering pizza, now you might as well just get on the bus to the Government motel because there's a set of orange overalls in your immediate future.

Since the Sept. 11 attacks, the government’s track record has been decidedly spottier, and its failure to obtain a single conviction in its terrorism-financing prosecution of what was once the nation’s largest Islamic charity was another in a series of missteps and setbacks.

Yeah baby! How you like us now, jiotch? Things aren't quite so jihappy when you're on the business end of a 25 year reservation at...wait...What'd he say?

Some scholars and former prosecutors say the government should have known better than to bring some of its recent failed cases and that a lack of selectivity and judgment, along with a reliance on stale evidence and links to groups not at the core of the current threat, may be harming the effort to combat terrorism.

"Government should have known better..." Where have we heard that before?

From the Sept. 11 attacks to last July, the government started 108 material-support prosecutions and completed 62, according to an article by Robert M. Chesney, a law professor at Wake Forest University, juries convicted 9 defendants, 30 defendants pleaded guilty, and 11 pleaded guilty to other charges. There were eight acquittals and four dismissals. Eighteen were called on account of darkness and twelve were rescheduled as twi-night double headers.

Material-support cases are just a small fraction of what the Justice Department counts as terrorism prosecutions, and in the larger picture the government is not doing nearly as well. According to the Center on Law and Security at the New York University School of Law, the government has a 29 percent conviction rate in terrorism prosecutions overall, compared with 92 percent for felonies generally.

Oh, sure, it always looks bad when you count winning as "convictions."

Instead of trying to prove that the defendants knew they were supporting terrorists, William Neal, a juror said, prosecutors “danced around the wire transfers by showing us videos of little kids in bomb belts and people singing about Hamas, things that didn’t directly relate to the case.”

"But all those people were brown," responded a spokesperson for the Justice Department. "I mean, how much proof do they want?"

Civil liberties groups pointed to the collapse of a case against men once accused of being part of a terrorism sleeper cell in Detroit, to the combination of acquittals and deadlocks in the trials of a Saudi student in Idaho and a Palestinian professor in Florida and to the convictions of two men on relatively minor charges in February after a three-month terrorism trial. " On the other hand, this is about the best you can hope for when your team is all graduates of Regent University Law School," said one spokesperson.

Juries “are demanding strict proof” these days, said Thomas M. Melsheimer, a former federal prosecutor. "And that automatically puts the 'because he's brown' strategy at a disadvantage. Even if you do add the 'Plus he's not a christian' coda."

“I think the government won when it froze the assets and shut down the organization,” said Matthew D. Orwig, a lawyer in Dallas who was until recently United States attorney for the Eastern District of Texas. “Then it piled a loss on top of a win because it lost the prosecution, in an arguably superfluous action."

"Superfluous?" You mean like the war in Iraq?

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