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American Kafka: Susan Lindauer Demands "The Trial"

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American Kafka: Susan Lindauer
Demands "The Trial"

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Part 1

Michael Collins
"Scoop" Independent News

(Wash. DC)  Accused "unregistered Iraqi agent", Susan Lindauer, is now challenging the September 15th decision of federal district court Judge Loretta Preska, which continues to find Lindauer to be "incompetent to stand trial."  Lindauer's attorney Brian Shaughnessy has now filed a Motion for Reconsideration of Preska's Kafka-like ruling. Preska found that Lindauer is "incompetent" because of Lindauer's belief and plea that she is "Not Guilty."  Lindauer also demands her right to a "Speedy Trial," as guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

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Nominated for Federal appeals court by President Bush just days before her ruling in this case, Preska's Sept. 15 opinion effectively denied Lindauer her right to a "speedy and public trial," which is required by the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  Judge Preska's expanded interpretation of "incompetence" to stand trial may now open the gate for competency challenges by defendants throughout the federal court system.

The judge opined that Lindauer lacked "a connection to reality" in the specific area of assisting in her own defense.  The following passage from the decision reveals the types of Kafka-like, "Catch 22" double binds that the government and this judge create in this case.   From the Sept, 15 decision by Judge Preska:

"Also during that court conference (Dec. 19, 2007), after the court admonished Ms. Lindauer not to speak out in court without first discussing it with her attorney, the transcript reflects that Ms. Lindauer, upon being admonished again, stuffed Kleenexes into her mouth, which, again, is not the response of someone rationally connected to the proceedings." p. 171, lines 5-10)

Hon. Loretta A. Preska, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, Sept. 15, 2008

The "court conference" referenced by the judge was the conference of Dec.19, 2007.  Lindauer had fired court appointed attorney Samuel Talkin and retained attorney Brian Shaughnessy of Wash., DC, a former federal prosecutor with four decades of courtroom experience.  According to Lindauer, Shaughnessy had informed the court that he could attend court any day of the week but Wednesday.  The judge insisted on holding the hearing on the one day attorney Shaughnessy could not be in court.  Therefore, for all intents and purposes, Lindauer had no attorney in court to defend her.  After all, she had already fired attorney Talkin.

Hearing objectionable requests and statements at that conference, Lindauer spoke up to defend herself.  One of those requests was a suggestion by the prosecutor that she be sent back to Carswell Federal Medical Center, the place of her original seven month pretrial incarceration for psychiatric evaluation.   It was made by assistant U.S. attorney Ed O'Callahan (now with the McCain campaign in Alaska, working for the Palin "truth squad") who had sought to forcibly drug Lindauer with psychoactive drugs in May of 2006.

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Would Judge Preska have preferred that Lindauer use a cell phone to call her lawyer in D.C., tell him her objection, and then hand the phone to the judge so that Lindauer's new defense counsel could make the objection?  Or would Judge Preska have preferred that Lindauer rely on terminated attorney Talkin who, despite being fired by Lindauer, showed up in court that day?

How is it that this defendant, judicially found to be legally incompetent to stand trial, was without her new defense counsel at a pretrial conference?

How is it that the Judge insisted on meeting on the only day of that week that Lindauer's new defense counsel said was impossible to make?

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