Saturday, December 22, 2007


Judge stacks the deck for Liberty City retrial

If at first you don't succeed...stack the deck for the second try. A mistrial was declared in the trial of the Liberty City 7 "gang" of "terrorists" (the ones whose "well-thought out plans" involved a "one-two punch" of poisoning salt shakers and bombing a building they had never seen in a city where they didn't live and couldn't even afford bus fare to). So for the retrial, the judge has decided to give the government a little help, and make sure the jury knows these are real terrorists, not just clowns and would-be con artists. She's having the jury members identified only by number (aren't they always?), ordered criminal background checks on all prospective jurors, and having those chosen escorted to and from the courthouse, all to increase the atmosphere of fear and "terror" on the part of the jurors, and help assure a conviction on the second go-round.

The judge claims that "there is a strong reason to believe the jury needs protection,", because "here we have defendants accused of being members of a terrorist cell." Of course the latter was true the first time as well, and there wasn't a single threat or any action during that trial which would prompt her to conclude that protection was necessary. Only one thing has changed - she, and the Justice Department, have realized just how laughable this case is, so they've decided to put their thumb on the scales of justice to see if they can't change the result the second time around.

Judge Joan Lenard, by the way, is the very same judge who denied a change of venue to the Cuban Five, forcing their trial to be held in a city (Miami) where the public expression of any kind of support for Cuba has been the source of bomb threats, actual bombings, and murders over the years, and at a time when that anti-Cuban atmosphere was even further exacerbated by the ongoing Elian Gonzalez saga.

Why stop here? There's more...

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