Thursday, August 11, 2005

The Secret Trial of Judith Miller: What is This?

Okay, I understand that nobody will go to bat for Judith Miller in the Plame case; conservatives don't like anyone who works for the Times, and liberals hate her guts for obvious reasons, but I have to say I'm very disturbed by the circumstances that led to her jailing. If I understand this article correctly (and I'm quoting verbatim):

Testimonial privileges require a court to weigh the government's evidence as to why they need her testimony. Yet Judith Miller was tried, convicted and sentenced to prison based exclusively upon written evidence from witnesses whose identities and testimony were kept secret from her and her lawyers. They were given no opportunity to defend her against, question, or rebut the secret evidence the courts relied upon exclusively in convicting her. Indeed, a full eight pages of the D.C. Court of Appeals decision discussing and analyzing this secret evidence was redacted from the published opinion.

Judith Miler is unique, the first American ever to be sent to jail based on facts she never saw and a federal appellate opinion she was not permitted to read. She won't be the last. Make no mistake: This will happen again and again whenever a case involves "national security,""the war on terror," or any combination thereof. This is too big a weapon for the executive branch to ignore, especially since it was fashioned by the most prestigious of the U.S. Courts of Appeals and approved by the Supreme Court. Let's face it. If they can do it to a reporter for The New York Times, they sure as hell can do it to anyone else.

So now Americans can be jailed without facing the charges against them? Seriously, what does this mean for American citizens? Do the secret detainee trials now apply to every one of us?

Here's what's been said about this sort of thing before:

In 1983, in In re Kitchen, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in New York reversed a contempt conviction before a grand jury where some of the government's evidence was secret. The Court stated:

We hold that in the sort of case now before us, a fair opportunity must at least include...the right to confront all of the government's evidence, both documentary and testimonial, unless particular and compelling reasons peculiar to the grand jury function require some curtailment of the latter right.

I don't like the way the wind out of Washington is blowing lately.

Posted by crimnos @ 7:44 PM

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Happy Thanksgiving!!

Posted by Anonymous Ron Carcamo @ 6:20 AM #
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