"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

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“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ghailani: Another Comment

Ed Brayton, who can be counted on for level-headed commentary, also took a look at wingnut reaction to the verdict, and came up with a nice, succinct statement of what it's all about:

More importantly, it's important to note how badly these conservatives misunderstand the purpose of the criminal justice system. The purpose is not to obtain convictions, it is to ensure that justice is done. Some people who are tried are actually innocent and it is not a "failure" of the system when it finds someone innocent. Scott Horton explains:
The take-away message from the Ghailani verdict should be this: the system worked exactly as it should. The jury sorted carefully through the evidence, reviewing hours of transcripts and apparently having some heated argument about it. They rendered a verdict for the government on the charge which was, in their view, best supported by the evidence, and they acquitted on charges where the evidence was unpersuasive. This is exactly how the criminal justice system is supposed to work.
Horton also notes that civilian trials for terrorism suspects actually have a better conviction rate than military tribunals. And he points out that it's not clear at all that Ghailani could be tried under the military tribunals because his crimes were committed prior to 9/11.

Whether or not Ghailani could be tried by a military tribunal is moot anyway: he had a trial in civil court, and was convicted. The sentence will likely be enough to keep him behind bars for the rest of his life. And somehow this means, to the likes of Reps. Peter King and Pete Hoekstra, that the system isn't working.

Somehow, the logic doesn't quite fall together. Of course, I guess if you're a U.S. Congressman, right wingnut variety, logic isn't part of the toolbox.

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