Wednesday, November 23, 2005

José Padilla finally indicted

It's about damned time! From the AP:
Three years after the Bush administration labeled U.S. citizen Jose Padilla an enemy combatant and denied him normal access to the courts, he's facing criminal charges that he trained as a terrorist in preparation to fight a jihad.


The spectacular allegations that led President Bush to classify Padilla an "enemy combatant" in 2002 — that the former Chicago gang member sought to blow up U.S. hotels and apartment buildings and planned an attack on America with a radiological "dirty bomb" — were not part of the indictment.

Padilla (pronounced "puh-DILL-uh") has spent more than three years in a Navy brig in South Carolina, until Tuesday held without charges and with only limited access to his lawyers. He is expected to be transferred quickly from military custody to a federal jail in Miami, where he will stand trial in September.
Emphasis mine. I've talked about this before, and my main problem is that the administration actually had the gall to argue that the Constitution did not apply to an American citizen! I am aghast and appalled by that assertion. Sure, I believe that Padilla is likely guilty as hell; however, I know he is a citizen whose constitutional rights were just sodomized.

I mean, if the government can get away with this for Padilla, who says you or I won't be next? All they have to do is make up some story about "national security risks", and our constitutional rights are discarded like a Bill Clinton mistress?

The Bush administration has argued that with national security at stake after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, terrorist suspects were not entitled to the constitutional protections given ordinary criminal suspects.
Like hell they're not! Club Gitmo detainees, fine. They're not American citizens. Padilla, however, is!

This part galls me to no end, too:
Eric Freedman, a professor at Hofstra Law School, said the Padilla indictment was an effort by the administration "to avoid an adverse decision of the Supreme Court."

Jenny Martinez, a Stanford law professor who represents Padilla at the Supreme Court, said, "There's no guarantee the government won't do this again to Mr. Padilla or others. The Supreme Court needs to review this case on the merits so the lower court decision is not left lying like a loaded gun for the government to use whenever it wants."
So if my understanding is correct, the feds held Padilla in violation of several federal laws and constitutional protections (right to a speedy trial, right to remain silent, right to an attorney, etc.) for three years, and ended up charging him with nothing related to the reason they detained him...and they even hurried those charges along so the Supreme Court wouldn't rightly whack them? Was it Alberto Gonzales prosecuting Padilla, or Patrick Fitzgerald?

Look, my heart does not bleed for Padilla. If he's found guilty by a court of law, I think he should be executed for treason. However, a court should find him guilty first!