This blog …

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

Weighing in on the Ghailani Verdict

CBS News piece on November 20 entitled "Ghailani Trial Reignites Terror Justice Debate," proposes two ways to look at the Ghailani verdict:

On the one hand, the conviction guarantees a long prison sentence, possibly life, and proves to some that civilian trials can still work for war on terror captives. Ghailani was captured in Pakistan in 2004 and spent five years in custody before his transfer to the federal jail in Manhattan, a period the jury heard nothing about.

On the other hand, Ghailani's acquittal on 99 percent of the counts emboldens the belief held by some that military commissions in Guantanamo – a place the jury never heard mentioned – may be a better option to secure tough justice, although the track record of military commissions is thin and punctuated by light sentences.

 For the full text of the article, click here

The New York Times writes on November 19, in an article entitled "For Judges, Lawyers and Fellow Jurors, the Challenges of Dealing With a Holdout," discusses the juror who may have held out in the Ghailani trial who sent a note to the judge last Monday asking to be excused. The Times writes that this is "a reminder of the stubborn place of the holdout in the legal system and the roiling emotions that can come to play behind the jury room door." The Times writes: 

"Holdouts can be oddballs and misfits. But they can also be people devoted to the principle that a just conviction requires true unanimity, not compromise."

For the full text of the article, click here

The New York Times CityRoom blog proposes, "Some Verdicts Just Make You Scratch Your Head:"

"How could jurors convict Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani of conspiring to blow up buildings, but not of conspiring to murder the people in them?…Trials in the American justice system are usually settled with one or two words: guilty or not guilty. But those endings can often leave a curious public feeling a bit empty, and perhaps even baffled."

For the full text of the article, click here

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