Many bad men are getting their day in court this week, some much overdue. I already mentioned that the George Zimmerman trail will start next week with jury selection. Today the judge denied the defense’s request to allow certain witnesses to testify confidentially, out of the public eye, because of personal safety issues. Maybe she will allow them to wear a paper bag over their head while in the courtroom.
Many of those cases being tried this week have the specter of the death penalty hanging over all of them. We can certainly go that route if needed, but in all these cases I expect justice will be served.
First up is the Ft. Hood shooter, Maj. Hasan. At least now we know that this is not a “workplace violence” incident, having used his opening statement to admit the motive, that Islamic leadership was in imminent danger and his attack was to protect the Taliban. I got no problem allowing himself to have a fool for a client, seems natural to me. His Constitutional protections are in place (too bad he isn’t getting the opportunity to say ,”Hell no, I ain’t taking no stinking survey”) so yes, he does get the chance to confront witnesses against him. The judge seems capable enough to figure out at what point he turns the trial into a recruitment circus. KSM, Zacharias Mousaui, this tactic has been tried before, keep him on a short leash, and they will be fine.
Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, entered his guilty plea this week in his murder trial for the killing of 16 Afghan civilians. Given the method at which he carried out the murders, I can’t think of a better example of someone flipping his lid while in a combat theater. In an earlier post concerning Bales, I mentioned that I am against any death penalty sentence for war crimes involving a onetime incident of insanity (yes, the death camp commandants would not qualify) and am glad he worked out a deal for his life. The Afghan people are naturally screaming bloody murder, but that has no probative value for me. And yes, I guess Hasen would meet that criteria, except that he was a terrorist, had pre planned his attack and looked at his actions as a positive in further jihad. But still, I don’t want him put to death either. Hard time for the rest of his breathing days, is his fair punishment.
James Holmes is next. The judge accepted James Holmes’ plea of not guilty by reason of insanity on Tuesday and ordered him to undergo a mental evaluation. I see an instant replay of Jared Loughner, some medical evaluations, a finding that he is sane enough to stand trial for his crimes, then a quick guilty plea deal to spare him the death penalty.
And lastly we have that new media darling, the guy that the Hollywood crowd all want to be like, Bradley Manning. Funny, but I don’t hear these defenders slamming the defense strategy of “stupid while being gay”, he should have taken up gum chewing or smoking instead. First off, the shear size of the intelligence dump is just staggering,leaking of hundreds of thousands of classified digital files to WikiLeaks . This is why I think the whistle blower defense is such horse shit, there is no way the guy read all these documents, then said to himself ,”Gee, this stuff just seems wrong, the American people have a right to know”.
Manning has already plead guilty to several charges, the lesser offences to which Manning has pleaded guilty carry a maximum sentence of 20 years.But this trial involves the most serious of those counts, namely, aiding the enemy, which if convicted carries a life sentence. We will be reading about this trial piecemeal, since due to the classified nature of the evidence against him, it will not be televised, and many witnesses will be allowed to testify privately. With what we know now, what do you think is the appropriate time behind bars for Private Manning?
Comment on any or all. I made a statement in an earlier post that our judicial system, although not perfect, has served us well. I think these trials bare out that fact, a systematic process is played out without influence from the mob or a deference to passion.