Monthly Archives: August 2007

Vick pleads

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Michael Vick, whose plea deal was released last Friday, formally plead guilty today before U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson in Richmond.  He is due back in court December 10 for sentencing.

Washington Post story here.

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Posted in Courtroom

A new court for Gitmo

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The U.S. Court of Military Commission Review held its first hearing yesterday in a borrowed courtroom a half block from the White House.

Back in June two military judges at Guantanamo ruled that the detainees brought before them could not be tried by the new Military Commissions, created  by Congress and the White House after the Supreme Court rejected the previous Commissions, because they had not been properly declared unlawful enemy combatants. At the time the government filed an appeal there was no court, just a mailing address in Virginia.

Meanwhile all war crime cases at Gitmo are on hold  because none of the more than 550 status review hearings determined that the detainees were “unlawful”.

AP story is here.

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Posted in Appellate Courts

Abu Ghraib court-martial

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A military jury heard opening arguments yesterday in the court-martial of the only senior officer to face criminal charges in the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal. Lieutenant Colonel Steven Jordan “was the officer in charge … He was
the highest ranking officer on the ground,” prosecutor Colonel John
Tracy told the panel of nine Army colonels and one brigadier general.

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Colonel Thomas Pappas, an intelligence brigade commander who was the highest-ranking officer at Abu Ghraib  -seen here on the witness stand as Lt. Col. Jordan, left, listens- testified that he took over as director of the center because Jordan wasn’t focusing on it enough. Pappas has been reprimanded and fined $8000 for his part in the scandal, but not charged with any crimes.

AP story here.

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Posted in Military

Padilla guilty on all counts

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Jose Padilla, seated in the middle, and his co-defendants, Adham Amin Hassoun on the left and Kifah Wael Jayyousi on the right, were found guilty on all counts by a Miami jury in less than twelve hours of deliberation after a three month trial in which hundreds of pages of evidence were introduced.

There was little emotion shown as the verdicts were read by the Judge’s clerk. Jayyousi who had been out on bond hugged the defense lawyers before being taken into custody.  All three face life in prison when they are sentenced in December.

WaPo story here.

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Posted in Courtroom

Padilla goes to the jury

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The government’s case against Jose Padilla and two co-defendants went to the jury today after closing arguments. Pictured is Padilla, center, and his two public defenders : Anthony Natale and Michael Caruso.

 

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Posted in Courtroom

Noriega back in court

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I’m in Miami for the conclusion of the Padilla trial, but when I heard that Manuel Noriega was making an appearance in the same courthouse I headed up to the 9th floor courtroom and made this sketch. Noriega, in military uniform, is seated next to one of his attorneys, Frank Rubino, while his other attorney, John May, tries to persuade Judge Hoevler to allow the former dictator to return to Panama when he is released from prison here early next month.

AP story can be found here.

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“El Chino”

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The Chinese-born  pharmaceuticals mogul dubbed “El Chino” by Mexico’s media was in U.S. District Court yesterday to set a date for his trial on drug charges.  A Mexican citizen since 2003, Zhenli Ye Gon is accused of importing at least 86 metric tons of restricted chemicals into Mexico for the manufacture of methamphetamine destined for the US market. A search of his Mexico City home turned up $207 million, most of it in $100 bills that had been stashed behind false walls and in closets. He was arrested at a Wheaton, MD restaurant two weeks ago before he could finish his dinner of codfish and baby carrots.

No trial date was set at yesterday’s hearing. The government said it would take at least  six months to gather evidence from China, Mexico, Switzerland and Germany.  The defense, meanwhile, has refused to waive Ye Gon’s right to a speedy trial. Another hearing has been scheduled for September 7.

In the sketch Ye Gon is on the far left, in the orange jumpsuit. The attorneys at the podium are, left to right, Paul Laymon for the US and, representing Mr. Ye Gon, Martin McMahon and Ning Ye Ynyale. Presiding is Judge Emmet G. Sullivan.

WaPo has the Mexican side of the story here.

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Posted in Courtroom
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