Friday, August 17, 2007

My thoughts on the Padilla trial

I have followed the whole Jose Padilla saga casually. While I have been troubled throughout, from the moment he was apprehended and deemed as an "enemy combatant" although he was an American citizen, I'm not ready to take the step that the government just did this to him for the hell of it and that he doesn't really have ties to terrorism at all. However, I think a solid case can be made here for a miscarriage of justice towards Padilla.

I'm not even talking about the "enemy combatant" thing. The fact that after a trial that stretched on for three months, for a jury to render a verdict after just a day-and-a-half is certainly a cause for question. While I'm no legal eagle (not yet, anyway), to pore over the evidence, recordings etc over the timespan of a 3-month trial, not to mention the jury instructions, is certainly going to take more than 18 hours.

When you look at the conduct of the jury prior to yesterday afternoon's verdict, this wouldn't be surprising. The jury dressed in red, white, and blue for the week leading up to the Fourth of July. That had to have signaled a red flag to the defense. You're dealing with a conservative, super-patriotic jury in a case of potential terrorism. That's like having Osama Bin Laden and the eleven top captains of Al-Qaeda on the jury. You're making a mockery of justice by packing the jury with 12 people who voted for Bush.

In another article in the New York Times, one of the jurors admitted that she had made up her mind before the trial began. I really hope this case is appealed. Padilla may indeed have engaged in acts of terror, or at least aided and abetted them, but as an American citizen, he deserves a fair trial.

TalkLeft is a really good blog with plenty of information on the Padilla trial.

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