Court Calls A Do Over In Terror Hearings After Failure To Record

from the are-they-allowed-to-change-arguments? dept

We covered how court staffers, totally spooked by FBI agents sweeping the court room for recording devices, failed to record the public portion of oral arguments in an important terrorism case (against Adel Daoud), meaning that there was no official recording or transcript of the hearing (part of which was also held in secret). But now, the court has called for a rare “do over” on the public portion of the hearing.

A federal appeals court in Chicago has rescheduled oral arguments in a terrorism case after courtroom staff failed to record a significant hearing.

The U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a notice on Friday saying it would rehear arguments June 11 in the case against Adel Daoud, who’s accused of trying to set off a bomb near a Chicago bar in 2012.

So, um, what? The original was a dress rehearsal? Do they get to make different arguments, or are they expected to basically repeat the script they did a week earlier? Will it play out like an awkward re-enactment? And, most importantly, will Judge Posner, once again yell “Look! You answer my questions, not your questions!” at the lawyers?

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Comments on “Court Calls A Do Over In Terror Hearings After Failure To Record”

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19 Comments
Michael (profile) says:

I am still baffled as to why the FBI was allowed to sweep the courtroom for bugs.

If someone was using a bug to listen into public proceedings, is that really so bad? And if the FBI is conducting business in the courtroom that they think needs to be kept secret, shouldn’t they ask the court to verify that the courtroom is secure? Am I allowed to bring my own bug detector into the courtroom?

Michael (profile) says:

I blame the video games

This is all because of the video games. People have become so accustomed to being able to simply click the ‘reset’ button on their video games that they have started to assume that it is ok in regular life.

Forgot to record the court case? Ok, let’s just reset.

These video games are ruining our society. We need to stop them – for the children!

sorrykb (profile) says:

Re: Re: I blame the video games

Anonymous Coward wrote:

without a recording or transcript of proceedings the court cannot prove that it followed the correct procedures during the trial.

Wouldn’t failing to maintain a record of the proceedings count as not following the correct procedure? How is this entire case not tainted by this? (Of course, the entire case is already tainted by secret proceedings but…) Is there precedent for such a “do-over” in a trial?

zip says:

unfair advantage to the prosecution

It would appear that this do-over could easily give an unfair advantage to the prosecution — who now get to re-craft their arguments based on knowing how the defense will respond.

It’s MUCH easier for the prosecution to revamp it’s arguments (and still appear credible) than for the defense — which is basically stuck with whatever alibi was used the first time around.

Anonymous Coward says:

I was sort of confused about how a mistrial could be handled if it was a judicial mistake, so I looked it up.
I’m certainly not a lawyer, but it sounds like this will be fought against: link

If the mistrial results from judicial or prosecutorial misconduct, a retrial will be barred. In United States v. Jorn, 400 U.S. 470, 91 S. Ct. 547, 27 L. Ed. 2d 543 (1971), the Supreme Court held that reprosecuting the defendant would constitute double jeopardy because the judge had abused his discretion in declaring a mistrial. On his own motion, the judge had declared a mistrial to enable government witnesses to consult with their own attorneys.

Anonymous Coward says:

So the FBI, Judge, and Prosecutor held a secret court room proceeding with no records. Then discovered that doing so is illegal, and the defense could call a mistrial and the defendant could walk free. So now the FBI, Judge, and Prosecutor want to have a do-over trial and pretend it never happened?

WTF! I stand by my original assessment about these secret trials in secret courts, bound by secret laws and executive memo orders. In other words, tyrannical justice.

Coyne Tibbets (profile) says:

Prosecutor's Nightmare before Christmas

‘Twas the night before trial;
And outside the court,
Prosecutors were panicked,
That the case would abort.

They’d held a long hearing;
To grind ‘neath their heel,
The defendant’s full Rights;
But they gave him appeal.

The hearing was held,
Without an epistle,
A procedural error that,
Risked a dismissal.

“What shall we do?”
A desperate cry;
A solution occurs,
“The hearing we’ll retry.”

“It just didn’t happen,
“Redone it will be;
“Because we respect,
“The Rights of the free.”

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