Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Lodi's Judicial Travesty

I've always said that terrorist's shouldn't be "brought to trial". The people who bring up arms against the United States during wartime barely deserve a military tribunal. But I believe the tribunal would be the best option.

Stop The ACLU
, Michelle Malkin and Sacramento Bee

A mistrial was declared Tuesday in the federal terrorism trial of a Lodi man charged with lying to protect his son, who authorities say attended an al-Qaida training camp in Pakistan.

The announcement came one day after the jury told U.S. District Court Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. that it could not reach a unanimous decision in the case of Umer Hayat.

"Their jury declared that it was hopelessly deadlocked this morning," deputy court clerk Carol Davis said.

Burrell questioned each member of the jury and then discharged them, she said. Jurors were led out of the courthouse by armed security officers and escorted to their cars. Burrell discouraged them from talking to reporters because the jury considering Hamid Hayat’s fate is still deliberating.

The Constitutional basis of jury trials is doling out justice to criminals, not making decisions regarding National Security. The fact that an admitted enemy combatant is being cosidered for bail is illustrative of America's deep denial of the fact that we are at war. The MSM's blind eye to this storyexacerbatess this ignorance, putting our nation at greater risk.

A bail hearing was set for Friday on the potential release of Hayat, who will remain in custody until that time. A status conference will be held the following Friday to determine whether the government can retry the case.
Former FBI agent James Wedick, who was the lead investigator for the defense team, said he talked to the jury forewoman. He said she told him the jury was evenly split.

Hayat told his attorney, Johnny Griffin III, he was glad he may be going home soon. Griffin said he was "feeling good" about the mistrial.

"The government literally threw in everything in including the kitchen sink in its attempt to convict Umer Hayat," Griffin said outside the courtroom. "In a post 9-11 world, 12 unbiased independent members of the community carefully considered all the government's evidence and decided not to return a guilty verdict. It sends a strong message to the government not to retry the case. It demonstrates the public is very sensitive to allegations to terrorist activity."

No, he got off on a technicality.

Throughout the trial, lead prosecutor David Deitch refused to comment on any aspect of the case. When asked if it was time to comment now, Deitch replied Tuesday, "It may never be time."

Umer Hayat, a 48-year-old ice cream vendor, is charged with lying to FBI agents about whether his son attended the terror training camp while on a visit to Pakistan in 2003. His son, 23-year-old Hamid Hayat, stood trial before a separate jury. That jury continued to deliberate on Tuesday.

Umer Hayat faced up to 16 years in prison if he had been convicted of the two counts against him, both related to making false statements to federal agents.

His son faces one count of providing material support to terrorists by allegedly attending the camp while visiting Pakistan in 2003 and three counts of lying about it. He faces up to 39 years in prison if convicted of all charges against him.

Both men are U.S. citizens and were standing trial before separate juries.

"They couldn’t prove it because it didn’t happen," Griffin said. "He’s not a terrorist. There is no evidence to demonstrate he is a terrorist."

Of course, he was vacationing in Pakistan no doubt.

"The government put its best foot forward, and in my view slipped and fell in their efforts to obtain a conviction," Griffin said.

The case against the father and son initially generated widespread interest because it raised concerns about a potential terrorist cell centered in the agricultural town about 35 miles south of the state capital. No such evidence arose during their trial.

Prosecutors say Hamid Hayat returned to the U.S. in May 2005 to await orders for carrying out attacks at grocery stores, hospitals and banks.

Their defense attorneys say the government failed to produce any evidence that Hamid Hayat ever attended the camp during the nine-week trial that began in mid-February.

The case instead centered on videotaped confessions the men gave last June to FBI agents and a government informant who secretly recorded hundreds of hours of conversations but whose credibility was challenged by the defense.

Defense lawyers' biggest hurdle was trying to persuade jurors to discount the men's videotaped confessions. The statements were given separately last June during lengthy interrogations at the FBI's regional headquarters in Sacramento.

Defense lawyers said the confessions were made under duress, after the men had been questioned for hours in the middle of the night.

The father and son eventually told the agents merely what they thought they wanted to hear, without realizing the legal consequences, their lawyers argued.

The trial is the result of what the government initially thought might be a much larger case. Its investigation into Lodi's 2,500-member Pakistani community began after agents received a tip in 2001 that Lodi-area businesses were sending money to terrorist groups abroad.

That investigation ultimately produced no results, but it eventually led to the Hayats.

Prosecutors described Hamid Hayat as having long-standing anti-American views and sympathy for terrorist groups.

His family said Hayat was merely a directionless young man who traveled to Pakistan between 2003 and 2005 to find direction in life and a wife. At the time of his arrest last June, he was working at cherry-packing shed in Lodi.

It's important to consider that our great land has taken these people into our embrace, allowed them to practice their faith openly, given them governmsubsistenceance if they needed it, and in return? Hatred. The Hayat family are Muslims, commanded by the Koran to slay the unbelievers wherever they find them. There is no mention of this in the news reports, untiltill there is we can expect a lot more of this kind of thing.


Stop The ACLU has a follow up. A twist in the trial, as the father Umer Hayat gets a mistrial, his son Hamid Hayat is found guilty.


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