Wednesday, December 26, 2007
From dailystar.com: Al-Fatah University CrimProf Faiza al-Basha recently wrote a commentary questioning Libyan laws. Here is an excerpt:
basic legal documents affirm the right of every individual to freedom
of thought, innovation and creativity, and aim to support the
flourishing of science and the spread of arts and literature among the
masses, not only the elite. Articles 19-26 of the 1988 Green Charter for Human Rights and Law 20 of 1991 on Enhancing Freedom enshrine these rights.
Other laws, however, sometimes contradict such principles. Press
Law 76 of 1972, for example, states that the press is free and that
every person has the right to express his or her view freely and to
broadcast opinions and news by various means. The law also stipulates,
however, that such expression must not "contradict the values and goals
of society," a vague formulation open to interpretation. Article
21 of the law bans prepublication censorship of printed materials,
including newspapers, although this is contradicted by the practices of
the Department of Publications, which imposes restrictions on all that
is published. Works by authors and intellectuals, for example, may not
be printed or distributed without the department's permission. Article
4 of the law gives the private sector the right to own printing houses
and publish materials. In practice, this right is legally restricted to
specific designated agencies that are granted the right to express the
opinions of their members. The result is that only state-issued
newspapers and publications praising the government are printed. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]
Press Law 76 of 1972, for example, states that the press is free and that every person has the right to express his or her view freely and to broadcast opinions and news by various means. The law also stipulates, however, that such expression must not "contradict the values and goals of society," a vague formulation open to interpretation.
Article 21 of the law bans prepublication censorship of printed materials, including newspapers, although this is contradicted by the practices of the Department of Publications, which imposes restrictions on all that is published. Works by authors and intellectuals, for example, may not be printed or distributed without the department's permission.
Article 4 of the law gives the private sector the right to own printing houses and publish materials. In practice, this right is legally restricted to specific designated agencies that are granted the right to express the opinions of their members. The result is that only state-issued newspapers and publications praising the government are printed. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]
Lethalinjection.org is a project of the Death Penalty Clinic at U.C. Berkeley School of Law. The mission of lethalinjection.org is to create a web-based clearinghouse for information about lethal injection and challenges to lethal injection as a method of execution. The members of the Death Penalty Clinic continually working on the development of this website. They frequently post new features, updated design, and up-to-date information about lethal injection challenges, including the Baze v. Rees case currently pending in the United States Supreme Court. Check it out. . .[Mark Godsey]
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Crimprof Jack Chin (Arizona) has written this draft on Yick Wo v. Hopkins. The abstract:
Yick Wo v. Hopkins is simultaneously celebrated as a classic equal protection case, establishing the rule against discriminatory prosecution, and lamented as both the first and last case in which the Supreme Court invalidated a prosecution as racially motivated. This essay explores why Yick Wo proved to be a dead end. It proposes that the traditional view of Yick Wo is mistaken: Yick Wo was about neither race discrimination nor prosecution. Yick Wo turned on the Court's treatment of the conduct at issue, operating a laundry, as a constitutionally protected property right. Therefore, a forgotten but large body of cases from the Jim Crow-era holds Yick Wo categorically inapplicable to prosecutions for conduct the state has the power to criminalize. In addition, because the property interest at stake was constitutionally protected, Yick Wo's race was irrelevant to the decision; a white person or corporation deprived of property would have had precisely the same claim. In fact Yick Wo's race was a barrier to rather than a basis for relief: He could raise a property claim only because he had a treaty right to operate a laundry on the basis of equality with others. When the treaty was inapplicable, the Supreme Court upheld race-based economic discrimination against Chinese and other Asians. Yick Wo is famous because it apparently foreshadows the anti-racist jurisprudence of the post-Brown era. Read in the context of the jurisprudence of its own time, it is completely consistent with Plessy v. Ferguson, and stands for only the mundane point that a valid treaty trumps inconsistent state law.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
That's because while Tankleff's defense lawyers can get a nearly complete preview of the prosecution's case just by reading the transcripts from the first trial, prosecutors risk getting caught off guard by new defense evidence.
"Believe me, there's no joy in the DA's office to retry this case," said Richard Klein, a criminal law professor at Touro Law Center. "The prosecution is going to have no new evidence. All the new evidence is coming from the defense."
Klein said even if jurors believe after the trial that Tankleff did kill his parents, there is a chance they will acquit him simply because they feel he has served enough time and is not a danger to society.
"Jurors are more likely to say, 'Enough! This is a different person now. He doesn't represent a threat," Klein said. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]
From chicagotribune.com: They dine on chicken patties because drumsticks could be sharpened into deadly weapons. They eat fruit in moderation because leftovers could be fermented into "hooch."
And if they misbehave, their meal is blended into an unpleasant loaf that serves as a nutritional punishment. Such feasts are fit for a felon, devised by correctional facilities to solve a complex culinary problem -- meeting nutritional guidelines with limited budgets. It's a delicate balance, trying to satisfy both dietitians and food critics prone to violent outbursts.
n the world of convict cuisine, even the dessert menu can trigger unrest.
"You have to be concerned about the Jell-O being runny," said Barbara Wakeen, a dietitian who created a menu this fall for the DuPage County Jail. "If an inmate is having a bad day, bad Jell-O could be what sets him off."
Providing 2,900 calories per day at 92 cents per meal, Wakeen devised a menu that met nutritional guidelines for a $1 million food service contract at the facility.
But the fare, which ranged from meatloaf and meatballs to Spanish rice and sloppy joes, also highlighted the evolution of inmate nutrition. Once little more than bread and water, prisoner plates now include calcium-enriched beverages that meet dietary requirements on a shoestring budget.
"In corrections, when you're trying to feed people and can't afford to give them 3 cups of milk a day, this is a way to accomplish it," said Wakeen, who has written menus for about 100 correctional facilities across the country since 1988. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]
From sfgate.com: A person who carries a small
amount of marijuana with a doctor's note allowing medical use can't be
convicted of dealing the drug just because police thought he was a
dealer, a California state appeals court ruled Friday.
In overturning an Orange County man's conviction for possessing
marijuana for sale, the Fourth District Court of Appeal in Santa Ana
said the prosecutor needed more evidence of sales than the opinion of a
sheriff's deputy who specialized in investigating narcotics dealers. The defendant, Christopher Chakos, was arrested in December 2004 in
Rancho Santa Margarita near the medical office where he worked as a
phlebotomist, drawing blood for lab tests. Officers found seven grams
of marijuana in his car, along with a doctor's note recommending pot
for his pain and depression. They found more marijuana, in varying amounts, in a search of his
apartment, along with a digital scale and a closed-circuit camera
system. The marijuana totaled about 6 ounces, less than the 8 ounces that
medical marijuana patients can possess under state law. But Chakos was
convicted of possession for sale based on expert testimony by Deputy
Christopher Cormier, who conducted the search and said he had concluded
Chakos was a dealer. Chakos was placed on probation for three years. Cormier based his conclusion on the exact amount of marijuana in the
car, which he said was typical of dealers, and the presence of the
scale and the camera system at the apartment, despite defense testimony
that the camera system belonged to Chakos' half brother. Cormier said he had taken part in more than 100 drug investigations,
but acknowledged that none involved a medical marijuana patient with a
doctor's note. The appeals court relied on a 1971 state Supreme Court ruling
overturning a possession-for-sale conviction of a man who was using
Methedrine, a trade brand of a type of methamphetamine, with a doctor's
prescription. The court in that case said the arresting officer, who
concluded the man was a dealer, lacked experience in cases involving
the medical use of otherwise illegal drugs. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]
In overturning an Orange County man's conviction for possessing marijuana for sale, the Fourth District Court of Appeal in Santa Ana said the prosecutor needed more evidence of sales than the opinion of a sheriff's deputy who specialized in investigating narcotics dealers.
The defendant, Christopher Chakos, was arrested in December 2004 in Rancho Santa Margarita near the medical office where he worked as a phlebotomist, drawing blood for lab tests. Officers found seven grams of marijuana in his car, along with a doctor's note recommending pot for his pain and depression.
They found more marijuana, in varying amounts, in a search of his apartment, along with a digital scale and a closed-circuit camera system.
The marijuana totaled about 6 ounces, less than the 8 ounces that medical marijuana patients can possess under state law. But Chakos was convicted of possession for sale based on expert testimony by Deputy Christopher Cormier, who conducted the search and said he had concluded Chakos was a dealer. Chakos was placed on probation for three years.
Cormier based his conclusion on the exact amount of marijuana in the car, which he said was typical of dealers, and the presence of the scale and the camera system at the apartment, despite defense testimony that the camera system belonged to Chakos' half brother.
Cormier said he had taken part in more than 100 drug investigations, but acknowledged that none involved a medical marijuana patient with a doctor's note.
The appeals court relied on a 1971 state Supreme Court ruling overturning a possession-for-sale conviction of a man who was using Methedrine, a trade brand of a type of methamphetamine, with a doctor's prescription. The court in that case said the arresting officer, who concluded the man was a dealer, lacked experience in cases involving the medical use of otherwise illegal drugs.
Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Professor Bowman joins the faculty from the Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis, where he served as the M. Dale Palmer Professor of Law. Following his graduation from Harvard Law School in 1979, Professor Bowman entered the U.S. Department of Justice as part of the Honor Graduate Program.
He spent three years as a trial attorney in the Criminal Division in Washington, D.C. From 1983 until 1986, he was a deputy district attorney for Denver, Colo. He also spent three years in private practice in Colorado.
In 1989, Professor Bowman joined the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida, where he was Deputy Chief of the Southern Criminal Division and specialized in complex white-collar crimes. In 1995 and 1996, he served as Special Counsel to the U.S. Sentencing Commission in Washington, D.C. From 1998 to 2001, he served as academic advisor to the Criminal Law Committee of the United States Judicial Conference. [Mark Godsey]
Crimprofs Ron Wright (Wake Forest) and Marc Miller (Arizona) have written the paper Dead Wrong, forthcoming as part of an innocence symposium at the Utah Law Review. The abstract: "DNA-driven exonerations offer many
lessons for police, for prosecutors, and for legislatures. Many
scholars have focused on novel procedures to identify and remedy
wrongful convictions after they occur. Scholars have also concluded
that in our administrative criminal justice system we need prosecutors
who are driven less by testosterone and more by a balanced search for
In our view, the most enduring changes to the work of prosecutors will focus not on softening their adversarial perspective, but on enhancing and staying true to the traditional core of their work on the front end of the process¿the charging decisions.
In our view, accuracy and honesty in criminal systems face mortal danger when a prosecutor decides what charges to file based on his or her individual assessment of the moral worth of criminal defendants or victims. We believe that errors flourish when the prosecutors' sentencing recommendations aim above all to reach a deal with the defendant to avoid trial, rather than pricing the specific crime that the evidence might prove.
To flesh out these assertions about prosecutors and outcomes we turn to a case study: two stories from Dallas, Texas. The first episode involves the work of the current District Attorney in Dallas to cooperate with the efforts of Innocence Projects as a remedy for an especially high rate of DNA exonerations from the office in recent years. We describe his efforts and explore the limits of after-the-fact remedies.
The second episode from Dallas came to light in a remarkable set of articles from the Dallas Morning News. These reports indicate that prosecutors in Dallas go forward with murder cases in too many cases that deserve lesser charges or no criminal charges at all. At the same time, the office requests probation as the sentence for a murder conviction far more often than other jurisdictions in Texas. In short, the charges and sentences in murder cases in Dallas appear to be both too high and too low. This pattern of outcomes in homicide cases is dead wrong.
We believe that unreliable charging is intimately related to the sort of injustice that drives the innocence movement. Put another way, the two episodes from Dallas are connected. The high level of DNA exonerations we find in Dallas grows out of a fixation on guilty pleas and an indifference to consistent and accurate application of the criminal code. We glimpse the same forces at work in the pattern of original charges and sentences in murder cases."
Paper available here.
Friday, December 21, 2007
From washingtonpost.com: Lawyers for suspected enemy fighters imprisoned at a U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay urged a federal judge this morning to investigate whether the Bush administration has destroyed evidence about their clients citing the CIA's recent acknowledgement that it destroyed videotapes of interrogations of two other prisoners.
U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy scheduled the hearing this morning saying he would consider the lawyers' request for an urgent court inquiry into whether the destruction of the CIA tapes may have violated Kennedy's June 2005 order requiring the government to preserve any evidence related to mistreatment of Guantanamo detainees. The Guantanamo detainees, some held for as long as six years without charges, have challenged their imprisonment and claimed their U.S. captors have tortured and abused them. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
St. Paul Pioneer Press: A Minneapolis man escaped serious injury after he grabbed his hunting shotgun Sunday and reportedly fired through his bedroom door at a swarm of heavily armed strangers who burst through the back door of his home while he, his wife and his six kids - ages 3 to 15 - were sleeping, says the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Two cops - part of a SWAT-style team that raided the wrong home - returned fire but were struck by shotgun blasts. Police tried to couch the mistake as a rare or isolated incident, one in which officers were fed "bum" information from a confidential informant.
"Police justify these 'no-knock' tactics as to make it safer for everyone,'' says Radley Balko, author of "Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America." "I think that's absurd,'' said Balko. "Whenever you enter someone's home, you are creating confrontation as well as the potential for violence.'' He believes such paramilitary tactics should be reserved for cases where hostages need to be rescued or violent fugitives apprehended. A study by Eastern Kentucky University criminologist Peter Kraska estimates "no-knock'' warrants soared from 3,000 in 1981 to more than 50,000 last year, the overwhelming majority triggered by anti-drug- trafficking crackdowns. Balko, a senior editor with Reason magazine, says that at least 40 people have died after such botched raids "since SWAT teams began proliferating in the late 1980s."
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
From U.S News & World Report: W. Patrick Kenna felt cheated. In 2000, he invested $20,000 with a currency trading company, hoping to earn enough to start a new business. Instead, he lost nearly the entire sum, defrauded along with dozens of other investors. A Los Angeles businessman, Kenna took some comfort in knowing that the two men responsible—father-and-son owners of the company—would spend significant time behind bars, but he wanted to make sure the judge knew just how much trouble they had caused.
Kenna made his anger clear during the father's 2005 sentencing, but when the son's day in court arrived three months later, the federal judge denied Kenna's request to speak. "I listened to the victims the last time," Judge John Walter said. "There just isn't anything else that could possibly be said." Kenna was furious. "We didn't feel that the judge was taking into consideration the victims in the case," he says. So he turned to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which ordered the judge to let Kenna speak at a new hearing.
The reversal in Kenna's case reflects the growing influence of crime victims since the passage in 2004 of landmark federal legislation granting them new and expanded rights. Three years later, the changes are beginning to have an impact, shifting the balance of a legal system that historically has been solely a two-party affair. One result is tension between legal parties and concern among defense attorneys who fear that a greater role for victims conflicts with the right of defendants to a fair trial.
Historically, the adversarial legal system has carved out roles in criminal cases only for the prosecutor and the accused. Victims have been relegated to the sidelines unless they were testifying. Although the interests of prosecutors usually align with those of victims, they are not always the same: for instance, when victims want tougher sentences than prosecutors do. Victims' rights advocates hope the changes are just the start and are pushing to put victims on an equal footing with defendants and prosecutors. "What our goal should be is to put the victim back into the position as if no crime had been committed," says Paul Cassell, a former federal judge who resigned this year to advocate for victims.
Crime victims began winning rights at the state level decades ago, but the 2004 legislation brought the protections to the federal level for the first time. Victims now must be notified about court developments. They must be allowed to speak during bail and sentencing hearings. And most important, the law gives them the ability to appeal rulings when they think their rights are being violated, as Kenna did. The Justice Department is even funding three legal clinics, in Maryland, Arizona, and South Carolina, to help victims assert these rights in court.
Monday, December 10, 2007
From breibart.com: A teenage suspect who secretly recorded his interrogation on an MP3 player has landed a veteran detective in the middle of perjury charges, authorities said Thursday.
Unaware of the recording, Detective Christopher Perino testified in
April that the suspect "wasn't questioned" about a shooting in the
Bronx, a criminal complaint said. But then the defense confronted the
detective with a transcript it said proved he had spent more than an
hour unsuccessfully trying to persuade Erik Crespo to confess—at times
with vulgar tactics. Once the transcript was revealed in
court, prosecutors asked for a recess, defense attorney Mark DeMarco
said. The detective was pulled from the witness stand and advised to get a lawyer.
Perino, 42, was arraigned Thursday on 12 counts of first-degree perjury
and faces as many as seven years on each count, prosecutors said. He
was released on $15,000 bail. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]
Unaware of the recording, Detective Christopher Perino testified in April that the suspect "wasn't questioned" about a shooting in the Bronx, a criminal complaint said. But then the defense confronted the detective with a transcript it said proved he had spent more than an hour unsuccessfully trying to persuade Erik Crespo to confess—at times with vulgar tactics.
Once the transcript was revealed in court, prosecutors asked for a recess, defense attorney Mark DeMarco said. The detective was pulled from the witness stand and advised to get a lawyer.
Perino, 42, was arraigned Thursday on 12 counts of first-degree perjury and faces as many as seven years on each count, prosecutors said. He was released on $15,000 bail.
Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]
sptimes.com: The first County case to test Florida's "stand your ground" law ended last year with a manslaughter conviction and 15-year prison sentence for James Behanna.
But Friday, exactly two years after Behanna fatally stabbed 21-year-old Robert Mears Jr., an appellate court granted the Tampa paralegal a new trial.
Hillsborough Circuit Judge Daniel Sleet "abused his discretion" by refusing to allow jurors to hear evidence that bolstered Behanna's self-defense argument, a 2nd District Court of Appeal panel said.
Behanna, 38, will ask Sleet on Monday to release him from prison as he awaits his next trial, said James Felman, his appellate attorney.
His chances seem good. The 2nd DCA, after finding recently that Behanna had significant grounds for appeal, ordered the circuit court to hold a hearing and grant a reasonable bail.
"We're just very hopeful," said Behanna's wife, attorney Aida Rodriguez.
On Dec. 7, 2005, Mears trespassed onto Rodriguez's law office property on N Florida Avenue, where Behanna worked as a paralegal. During his October 2006 trial, Behanna recalled how Mears screamed and had a "real wild-eyed" look.
Behanna went outside, carrying a small shovel, and asked Mears to leave. Mears, who was intoxicated according to a forensic toxicologist, threw Behanna to the ground.
After more tussling, Mears walked about 150 feet off the property. At trial, prosecutors said Behanna should have gone into the office for safety. Instead, he followed Mears in an attempt to detain him for police.
The crux of the criminal case against Behanna revolved around what happened next. The defendant said Mears grabbed him by the throat and threatened to kill him. But one witness for the prosecution said Mears only pushed Behanna back.
Behanna, known by friends as MacGyver because he carried a pocketknife, pulled out his knife and stabbed Mears twice.
Jurors could have acquitted Behanna under the "stand your ground" law, which allows people to meet force with force when they feel threatened.
But the jury didn't know that Mears had badly beaten his roommate and a woman immediately before heading to the law office. The roommate was described as having been "pulverized."
Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]
Sunday, December 9, 2007
CrimProf Kevin K. Washburn, the College's William C. Canby Distinguished Scholar in Residence, will deliver the lecture, "American Indians, Crime, and the Law: Five Years of Scholarship on Criminal Justice in Indian Country," on Thursday, Jan. 24. The program will begin at 4:30 p.m. in the Great Hall in Armstrong Hall at the College of Law, with an introduction of Washburn by Judge William C. Canby Sr. of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Washburn, who is on leave from the University of Minnesota Law School, where he is an associate professor, is the Oneida Nation Visiting Associate Professor at Harvard, where he teaches American Indian law, gaming law and criminal law. He will be joined at the Canby lecture by Diane J. Humetewa, nominee for U.S. Attorney for Arizona, and Jon M. Sands, Federal Public Defender for the District of Arizona.
The speakers will address issues of interest to tribal officials, tribal court prosecutors and defenders, tribal attorneys, Indian law attorneys, law enforcement officials on or near tribal lands and students of American Indian studies, criminal justice and Indian law. [Mark Godsey]
From wsj.com: Cellphones, which often contain personal information like contact lists and call histories, have long served as a valuable police tool in criminal investigations. But the spread of built-in cameras -- which in some newer phones can even record video -- is providing investigators with new ammunition, thanks to simple human behavior. Apparently even criminals like snapping cellphone photos of themselves.
The result in many police precincts is an unexpected windfall. In the small city of Nashua, N.H., one prosecutor estimates that cellphone photos provide useful evidence 40 or 50 times a year. At least a half-dozen small software companies are now peddling programs designed to help investigators download data from suspects' cellphones without compromising the evidence. Earlier this year, the federal government's National Institute of Standards and Technology issued a paper outlining techniques for doing forensic work on cellphones.
Cellphone forensics do present some challenges. Unlike personal computers, cellphones feature a multitude of proprietary operating systems, requiring investigators to use different methods for extracting data from different phones. By law, police making an arrest aren't allowed to examine a phone's photos without a search warrant. And police must remember to obtain the phone's charger; retrieving information isn't easy if the battery goes dead.
By and large, however, the cellphone photo trend is welcomed by police and prosecutors. "We pray for those kinds of cases," says Debra Collins, an assistant state attorney in New Britain, Conn. Last spring, Ms. Collins obtained guilty pleas from two young men who had used a friend's camera phone to record one of them igniting a car by tossing fireworks into an open window. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]
From NYTimes.com: a bill that would exempt exonerated prisoners from paying federal income taxes on compensation received for a wrongful conviction was introduced by Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York. The measure pushes the issue of taxation to the forefront of the debate over how to compensate the wrongly convicted properly for the years they spent behind bars.
“The criminal justice system is not perfect, so at the very least, we ought to do what we can to make amends to the people who were wrongly convicted — a very small number of people who pay a big, big price for those mistakes,” Mr. Schumer said. “The compensation they receive should not be taxed; that’s certainly like throwing salt on a very deep wound.”
The bill, called the Wrongful Convictions Tax Relief Act, would also exempt exonerated prisoners who do not have prior felony convictions from paying income taxes on up to $50,000 earned each year after their release from prison (or up to $75,000 if they file joint tax returns) and provide them with an income tax credit on payroll taxes paid over the same earnings.
More than 200 people nationwide have been exonerated by DNA evidence since 1989, and more than 400 have been cleared by other types of evidence.
To date, 22 states have passed legislation establishing parameters for financial compensation; three of them — California, Massachusetts and Vermont — have provisions exempting exonerated prisoners from paying state taxes on the money they receive.
But federal laws are unclear as to whether compensation for a wrongful conviction should be considered income and taxed, like punitive damages are, or if it should be treated as a personal-injury award, which is not subjected to taxes, an Internal Revenue Service spokesman said.
Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]
Friday, December 7, 2007
Professor Yale Kamisar is the Clarence Darrow Distinguished University Professor Emeritus at the University of Michigan Law School and, since 2002, a tenured professor of law at USD. He teaches and writes in the areas of criminal procedure, criminal law, the administration of criminal justice and the politics of crime. Known as the “Father of Miranda,” he is one of the nation’s foremost authorities on criminal procedure, having written a large number of the seminal articles and texts on the subject, many of which have been quoted or cited by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Kamisar is author of Police Interrogations and Confessions (University of Michigan Press) and co-author of two widely-used casebooks: Constitutional Law: Cases, Comments & Questions (1st ed. 1964, 9th ed. 2001, West Publishing Co.) (with William B. Locklear, Jesse H. Choper, Steven Shiffrin and Richard Fallon) and Modern Criminal Procedure: Cases, Comments & Questions (1st ed. 1965, 10th ed. 2002, West Publishing Co.) (with Wayne LaFave, Jerold Israel and Nancy King). Since the mid-1960’s Kamisar’s special interest has been police interrogation and confessions.
He has also been a vigorous defender of the “exclusionary rule” against attacks by courts and scholars. In addition, Kamisar is a noted expert on issues related to euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. In 1996 he was awarded the American Bar Foundation Award for his lifetime contributions to research and writing in law and government. [Mark Godsey]
Thursday, December 6, 2007
From NYTimes.com: A Philippine court convicted 14 members of the Abu Sayaff group today in the 2001 kidnapping of 20 people off an island resort, including three Americans, two of whom were eventually killed.
The 14 were sentenced to life imprisonment. Four others were acquitted.
Robert Courtney, a Department of Justice attaché at the United States Embassy in Manila, said the verdict “sends a strong message about the capability of Philippine law enforcement to deal with terrorist activities.”
The kidnappers took their hostages to the island of Basilan, which was Abu Sayyaf’s base of operations at the time. Guillermo Sobero, a Peruvian-born American from California, was beheaded. Some of the others paid ransoms and were freed.
There were accusations of collusion between Abu Sayyaf and some elements of the military, particularly after the kidnappers managed to escape from a hospital in Basilan that had been surrounded by soldiers. A subsequent Senate investigation found “circumstantial evidence” of collusion between the militants and some civilian and military officials.
Thirteen months after the kidnappings, an
American-supported military operation tried to free the remaining
hostages, including Martin and Gracia Burnham, a missionary couple from
Wichita, Kan. But Mr. Burnham and a Filipino nurse, Ediborah Yap, were
killed. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]
From Yementimes.com: While
U.S. military in Guantanamo released hundreds of different
nationalities recently, American lawyers representing Yemeni detainees
at the remote Cuban island claim that the Yemeni government does not do
enough to release its citizens.
“We lawyers have not been given a seat at the negotiating table, so all we can do is speculate. There have been many public statements from the U.S. to the effect that Yemen and a handful of other countries are not willing to negotiate in good faith for the return of their countrymen. As I have frequently stated, if President Saleh really wants to bring the Yemeni men back home, he has to do more than have his spokesmen make empty public statements about "demanding" repatriations. Other countries -- like Bahrain, for example -- have successfully negotiated with the Americans for their citizens’ return. The plain fact is that President Saleh's government has so far failed to deliver. We measure success by results, not by the volume of public statements.” stated Northern Illinois University CrimProf Marc Falkoff, who represents sixteen Yemeni men who have been detained at Guantánamo (Gitmo) for nearly six years.
Yemen less proactive than other countries
Falkoff revealed that more than 770 men from dozens of countries have been detained at Gitmo since 2002, but more than 400 of them have subsequently been released. Saudi Arabia, for example, has had 100 of its 130 citizens returned from the prison camp. He elaborated, “Yemen is now the country with the largest number of prisoners at Gitmo and only 12 of its 110 citizens – including 1 of my clients – have been released in the last 6 years. A thirteenth Yemeni came home in a body bag, having died under suspicious circumstances in the prison. Even more frustrating, a number of the Yemeni detainees – including 2 of my clients – were designated years ago by the military as eligible to return to Yemen, yet they are still in prison on the remote Cuban island.” Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]