News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: Justice Miscarries in Lodi Terrorism Case

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Justice Miscarries in Lodi Terrorism Case

The fact that one of the most distinguished and decorated FBI agents finds the government's case against two Pakistani immigrants full of holes should provoke not only shame but also anger. Miscarriages of justice will only lead to further erosion of trust in the US legal system's legitimacy as the US moves forward in its so-called "war on terror." ...

According to the LATimes, "James Wedick had been a star at the FBI. When his former colleagues prosecuted a suspected terrorist, he came to the side of the defense and was branded a traitor."

Wedick couldn't look Hamid Hayat in the eye. He had pledged to him months earlier that he was going to do everything he could to see injustice righted, even if it meant turning his back on 35 years in the FBI. "Hamid is a hapless character, but, my God, he isn't a terrorist. The government counted on hysteria, the 1,000-pound gorilla, to be in the room. And it worked. Damn, it worked."

He saw one juror holding back tears and made a straight line for her apartment. She wouldn't let him in at first, talking through a crack. Two hours, four hours, finally she opened the door and told him what he suspected. She didn't believe Hamid was guilty. So intense was the pressure from fellow jurors to convict him that she had to check into the hospital. Throughout the trial, she said, the foreman kept making the gesture of a noose hanging. "Lynch the Muslim," she took it to mean. Wedick persuaded her to write it all down and sign it. Then he filed the affidavit with the federal court, hoping it might lead to a new trial.

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