understatement of the day

by twit

From the New York Times on January 22, 2008:

Administration officials had long maintained that some terrorism suspects could be properly handled only with military detention and trials by military commissions, not in the civilian justice system. But the verdict against Mr. Padilla seemed to undercut the administration’s insistence and, in the eyes of critics of the administration’s approach, proved that the criminal justice system should have handled the case in the first place.

What seems to have happened, to put it more bluntly, is that the judge told the government things like “the worse you treat somebody, the quicker I’ll let them go” and “you need to show more evidence than this if you want to incarcerate someone for life.”

MIAMI — Jose Padilla, the Brooklyn-born convert to Islam who was once accused by the government of plotting to detonate a “dirty bomb” in the United States, was sentenced on Tuesday to 17 years and four months in prison…

… The sentence was more lenient than the federal sentencing guidelines recommended … the government … had requested the maximum penalty of life imprisonment…

Judge Marcia G. Cooke of Federal District Court in Miami acknowledged the gravity of the crimes Mr. Padilla had committed. But she questioned the range and impact of the conspiracy, saying that there was no evidence linking the men to specific acts of terrorism anywhere or that their actions had resulted in death or injury to anyone.

… Over the objections of prosecutors, Judge Cooke gave Mr. Padilla credit for time served during his 3 1/2-year detention in a South Carolina military brig following his arrest in 2002 on suspicions that he had been involved in the “dirty bomb” plot, allegations the government eventually discarded.

During that detention, Mr. Padilla was subjected to prolonged isolation and intensive interrogations in conditions that the judge called “harsh.” The conditions, she said, “warrant consideration in the sentencing.”

Not to get carried away or anything, but it looks like the US Constitution may yet have some fight left in her.

5 Responses to understatement of the day

  1. twitterpaters says:

    well, if we want the Constitution to stick around, I figure we should treat her like a lady…

    and isn’t liberty often incarnated in female form? and the chick who holds the scales of justice, she’s a chick.

  2. twitterpaters says:


    there’s a picture at that link that i can’t figure out how to embed in the comments.

    ashcroft standing beneath the unveiled breasts of lady liberty.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I was surprised to hear that Padilla received 17 years. Shoot, I was surprised to hear that a judge actually heard the case and the sentence was made public. I was expecting something like, “A UFO was spotted over Jose Padilla’s jail cell this morning. Witnesses saw him being lifted out of the cell by, what looked like, a tractor beam. Once inside the UFO, the UFO headed south to Cuba. In other related news Brittany Spears was seen eating the brains of small African children in L.A. hot spot. Brittany was quoted as saying, ‘At least I am not eating the brains of my own kids. That would just be gross.'”

    I am glad that out of all of this mess, at least one person was treated “fairly” according to the Constitution.

    Like Twit says, maybe the old girl has a little life left in her.

  4. twitterpaters says:

    The fact that Brittney is still allowed to roam free at this point seems like evidence that we still have a fair amount of liberty, especially if one is rich and/or famous…

    and the UFO ended up in Texas, btw:


    “Several dozen people — including a pilot, county constable and business owners — insist they have seen a large silent object with bright lights flying low and fast. Some reported seeing fighter jets chasing it.”

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