08 December 2008

Death, Death, Brig and Prison

Sir Mario Owens whose crimes, including killing witnesses, have been detailed in prior posts at this blog, became the third man on Colorado's death row today. Colorado Supreme Court review will be the next of many appeals in the case.

Five of the Guantanmo Bay detainees are in the process of trying to commit suicide by military tribunal. Rather than defending themselves, they have set out to confess that they are killers and dare George W. Bush to execute them. Apparently, they fear that President-Elect Obama would be more merciful and deny them martyr status.

The case of Mr. Al-Marri, the only person detained indefinitely in a U.S. Naval Brig as an enemy combatant, despite having been arrested through the criminal justice process as a civilian for acts committed while within the United States, will receive U.S. Supreme Court review. While his case is isolated, it is also the only case that can overturn the precedent created in the U.S. Courts of Appeal by the Padilla case that declared detention of U.S. civilians in the United States while the courts are functioning to be constitutional. The Padilla case was mooted when his enemy combatant status was withdrawn and he was tried in the criminal courts in connection with an unrelated terrorist conspiracy. Padilla's case is now on appeal. Al-Marri's case had been remanded to a trial court for consideration of the evidence on the merits in light of the standard enunciated by a closely divided appellate court. There is speculation that a President Obama might intentionally concede the case, as he differs with the Bush Administration on the scope of lawful executive detention of alleged "enemy combatants."

Finally, O.J. Simpson was sentenced this month to a prison term in a Las Vegas robbery and kidnapping case that will leave him in prison for the rest of his life. O.J. Simpson was acquitted in a "trial of the century" for killing his wife in a criminal proceeding (despite a widespread feeling among the general public watching the trial that he was guilty), and was then found liable for damages for the same acts under the lower standard of proof that applies for proof of money damages. The robbery was an attempt to reclaim some of the property he lost in the civil case.

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