Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Shoot all the...hold on a second

Much as I have a problem with lawyers (too goddamn many of 'em; were I the King, I'd close every law school save Yale and Harvard), there's sort of a love/hate thing going on in my house (the vagaries of insurance law pay a lot of bills in the Fixer household). However, thanks to the Republican Congress, I think one of the only remedies to King George is the courts:

Last week I predicted that defense lawyers would soon start filing motions related to Bush's warrantless NSA surveillance. The New York Times reports lawyers from coast to coast are getting ready to hit the courts, and some will seek to reopen cases in which the defendants have been convicted and are serving their sentences.


Some federal prosecutors tell the Times the NSA warrantless surveillance could be a problem for the Government in both past and future cases.


While Jeralyn goes on to say some of the probable defendants have lost their access to an appeal thanks to guilty pleas, the demand for discovery might lead to the government dropping charges considered shaky in the first place. She then directs us to one of my favorite legal beagles, ReddHedd:

In a NYTimes article that should come as no surprise to the legal minds in the audience, defense counsel for a number of charged and convicted terrorism suspects are planning to challenge cases based on the latest revelations on the NSA spying domestically. To do less would be malpractice, because many of these defendants were American citizens, so this ought to be no shock to anyone who has spent time as defense counsel in criminal matters.

But as someone who has also been a prosecutor, I can tell you that this scenario is your worst nightmare in those shoes. No matter how solid your case, no matter how dirty the defendent might be, no matter how clean you thought your case was, the US Attorney is going to have to combat the perception by defense counsel that the defendant found his way into the government crosshairs through a dirty wiretap -- which hamstrings the government's case at the start.


So all I have to say to defense lawyers is litigate your asses off. It's time to open another front in the Second American Revolution. It's time to send King George back where he came from.

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