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... supports Professor William Snyder's sections of National Security Law, Counterterrorism Law, and Prosecuting Terrorists at the Syracuse University College of Law.

Terror Verdict Tests Obama’s Strategy on Trials

Today, November 18, 2010, The New York Times reports in an article entitled "Terror Verdict Tests Obama's Strategy on Trials," that the verdict has ignited a heated debate over the Obama administration's efforts to handle terrorism cases in Article III courts.

The Times reports, "But because a jury acquitted him on more than 280 other charges — including every count of murder — critics of the Obama administration’s strategy on detainees said the verdict proved that civilian courts could not be trusted to handle the prosecution of Al Qaeda terrorists." 

Several Republicans, including Representative Peter King of New York, expressed their dissatisfaction with the system:

"This is a tragic wake-up call to the Obama Administration to immediately abandon its ill-advised plan to try Guantanamo terrorists” in federal civilian courts, said Representative Peter King, Republican of New York. “We must treat them as wartime enemies and try them in military commissions at Guantanamo.”

Moreover, the Times reports that several other soon-to-be-powerful Republican lawmakers – including Lamar Smith  of Texas, in the incoming Judiciary Committee chairman – made similar statements denouncing the use of article III courts in the context of terrorism. 

In contrast, many perceive the verdict as a victory for the system. The Times reports that Mason Clutter, the counsel of the Rule of Law Program at the Constitution Project, a bipartisan non-profit group, said that Mr. Ghailani will serve a lengthy sentence and will have far fewer arguments to make in appealing his conviction than if he had faced a military trial.

“The system worked here. I don’t think we judge success based on the number of convictions that were received. I think we judge success based on fair prosecutions consistent with the Constitution and the rule of law.”

For the full text of the Times article, click here

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