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Our New Double-Standard for Justice

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(Article changed on January 7, 2013 at 10:20)

  By Bill Fisher

I received an urgent email last week from Khalil Meek, the Executive Director of the Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA).

What Khalil was busting out to tell me (and hopefully several thousand others) was Glenn Greenwald's conclusion that a New York Court of Appeals case containing "a fascinating new ruling (that) unwittingly illustrates the separate system of 'justice' invented for Muslims in the US after 9/11."

Intriguing, right? Read on!

The case involved a "gang-related murder trial in which prosecutors charged the defendant with terrorism. The alleged gang member was convicted, but the New York Court of Appeals completely threw out the terrorism and non-terrorism convictions because, they said:

-        Terrorism charges do not apply because the defendant and his acts do not meet the "collective understanding' of what terrorism is (in other words "violence committed by Arabs or Muslims against the west"), and  

-        Trials that involve terrorism charges allow for otherwise inadmissible evidence that prejudices juries in favor of the prosecution (in other words, terrorism trials are rigged to be unfair, to deny Muslims their legal rights, and to ease the way for convictions)."   

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Got that? Once more, with feeling:

  "We now have it on the books: terrorism charges are reserved primarily for Muslims, and the rules of trials involving terrorism charges are different than non-terrorism trials -- the main difference being that terrorism trials are designed to be unfair so that prosecutors can easily get convictions."

Is this true? Most non-lawyers -- and many lawyers -- remain unaware that this metamorphosis is taking place "in plain sight." Here's proof:

Listen to the editorial page editor of The New York Times, Andrew Rosenthal, writing about Liberty and Justice.

He says, "It's rarely acknowledged that the 9/11 attacks have also led to what's essentially a separate justice system for Muslims. In this system, the principle of due process is twisted and selectively applied, if it is applied at all."

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In order to understand the significance of this case, it's necessary to get down in the weeds a bit. Here's how the New York Times presented it:

"Last month, New York State's highest court ruled that the Bronx district attorney's office erred in trying to use a state terrorism charge to prosecute street gangs.

The Bronx district attorney, had "argued that Mr. Morales's gang, the St. James Boys, met the somewhat vague definition of "terror' in the state statute because it sought to intimidate or coerce the entire Mexican-American population around St. James Park.

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William Fisher has managed economic development programs in the Middle East and elsewhere for the US State Department and the US Agency for International Development. He served in the international affairs area in the Kennedy Administration and now (more...)

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