Monday, February 23, 2009

In all criminal prosecutions...

I guess I'm the only one I know who remembers my Bill of Rights. You can bet that the US Supreme Court doesn't.

In a decision (or lack thereof) that would make Sharon Keller proud, the supremes declined to hear a case where a defendant was not allowed to examine the classified evidence against him. In just exactly what way is that a public trial, or how can he be informed of the nature of the accusations against him? How could he have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor when he doesn't know the evidence against him? How can he have the effective assistance of counsel if he can't see the evidence?

This case demonstrates the worst elements of trials where defendants are convicted of acts of terrorism. We eliminate the Bill of Rights and over 200 years of jurisprudence for procedures that have none of the guarantees this country was founded upon where criminal trials are concerned. Hell, even the Brits found the need for a hearsay rule to make sure evidence was verifiable--over 400 years ago.

Something about trading liberty for security...

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