January 31, 2003

LESSONS FROM THE RICHARD REID PROSECUTION: TalkLeft notes:

The lesson is this: Our federal courts and our criminal justice system are well equipped to handle terror cases. There is no need to keep the suspects in military custody, cut off from lawyers –or to try them in secret military tribunals. Reid pleaded guilty to all counts and received no promises of leniency or other sentence concessions. Reid had excellent appointed counsel and a U.S. District Court Judge presiding over his case. The proceedings were open to the media and public. Important court filings by both the Prosecution and the Defense were available on the Internet. The Government got the conviction and the life sentence it sought.

For terrorists of the Richard Reid variety, I think this is right. I think, though, that it’s perfectly appropriate to deal with terrorists who are still an active threat via, say, Hellfire missiles.