Thursday, August 16, 2007


Waiting for a jury verdict is one of the worst parts of being in trial. It's also a time when as an advocate, we really are stuck simply waiting, not doing anything.

And so often, when it does, it's just the raw decision. No explanation, no reasoning, no thought process or logic given. Just boom, you win/lose.

So with less than two days' deliberation, the jury returned a verdict today in the trial of Jose Padilla, finding him guilty. Padilla was the alleged "dirty bomber" who is a U.S. citizen, but was nonetheless held for years at a Navy brig without due process or any access to counsel. Unless the Minnesota GOP got to the entry first, you can read about him here. The allegations that he was tortured in the hands of his - and our - own government appear to be true.

The fundamental question here is whether someone who has been tortured can ever get a fair trial. Is evidence and testimony gathered under duress admissible or so inherently unreliable that no jury should ever see it? How can he cooperate in his own defense if he's been psychologically destroyed by the very people who have held him for years and to whom he is returned every night? Does the fact that the jurors were not told that he spent 3-1/2 years in a hole have anything to do with their verdict?

He's scheduled to be sentenced sometime this fall. I wonder if those people who rushed to decry Scooter Libby's miscarriage of justice will assist here.

Update: The comments here of the least articulate de facto member of the Minnsota Republican establishment highlight the ethical bankruptcy of the entire past six years of the Bush administration and it’s global war on evildoers.

All they have to celebrate today is the conviction of a psychologically damaged criminal that came about after three and a half years of illegal confinement, is based on evidence extracted by torture, and delivered by a jury that knew nothing of the history of the case.

It’s akin to the Spanish Inquisition trumpeting their conversion statistics.

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