Farooque Ahmed, seen here at a detention hearing this afternoon in U.S.District Court, Alexandria, is charged in a plot to blow up DC Metro stations, but it seems that it was the FBI posing as al-Qaeda that first assigned him to case out Northern Virginia Metro stations, and later told him it was part of a planned terrorist attack. Clearly Ahmed had the desire to wage jihad, but appears to have been generally clueless until the FBI stepped in. Ahmed’s wife, Sahar is reported to belong to a group called “Hip Muslim Moms”.
WaPo story here.
Tagged with: Bomber
, DC Metro
Posted in Courtroom
Charles Smith, pictured on the right, and John Perrone appeared before Magitrate Judge Deborah Robinson on Monday after the makings of a drug lab, as well as a small amount of the hallucinogen DMT, were found in Smith’s Georgetown University dorm room during an early morning raid this weekend.
Smith and Perrone, both 18, are high school friends from Andover, Mass. where they were honor-roll students. Smith is a freshman at Georgetown, and Perrone a freshman at the University of Richmond. The charges they face could result in ten year sentences, but that’s unlikely. The administration of a dope slap would not be out of order.
WaPo article here.
Tagged with: DMT
Posted in Courtroom
Prospective jurors had their bags checked as the lined up to enter the courtroom in DC Superior Court today for jury selection in the trial of Ingmar Guandique.
Wapo story here.
A few sketches from today’s Supreme Court arguments in Snyder v. Phelps. Fred W. Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church, whose members are primarily family, have a practice of picketing the funerals of dead soldiers with signs reading “Thank God for Dead Soldiers,” “Fag Troops” and “God Hates You”. The father of one of those fallen soldiers, Lance Cpl Matthew Snyder, sued the church in court and won, but the judgement was overturned on appeal. The lawyer representing the bereaved father – Sean Summers, pictured below and above – began his argument : “We’re talking about a funeral. Mr. Snyder simply wanted to bury his son in a private, dignified manner”
On the other side, with the bigots, is the 1st Amendment freedom of speech. Numerous news organizations and First Amendment organizations filed briefs supporting the Kansas church. Arguing the free speech side was the daughter of the church’s pastor, Margie Phelps, pictured below.
After the argument Ms. Phelps predicted her side would win. “They’re going to uphold the law of the land that you may express a contrary view in a public forum without being sued.”
Dahlia Lithwick sums it up best here.
The new Supreme Court bench, it’s seating reshuffled after the departure of its most senior member, Justice Stevens – the Justices sit in order of seniority – and the addition of its’ newest member, Justice Kagan, began the term with a bankruptcy case that normally would not have packed the courtroom. But it was a chance to catch a glimpse of Kagan on the bench and listen for her first question which came 15 minutes into the argument. We won’t see much of Kagan on the bench for the first few weeks of this term since she has recused herself from any cases in which she had a role as Solicitor General.
At the end of the bankruptcy Kagan left the bench not to reappear until Wednesday when the Court considers the funeral protest case, Snyder v. Phelps.
AP story here.
Wearing white gloves the Supreme Court curators brought in the chair once used by Chief Justice John Marshall and in which Justice Elena Kagan would sit as her official commission was presented to the Court by Attorney General Eric Holder Jr and read into the record.
President Obama was present to witness the ceremony as well as retired Justices Stevens, O’Connor and Souter (not pictured).
Also present among the many notables was former Attorney General John Ashcroft who was seen exchanging pleasantries with the present AG.
Tony Mauro reports here.