Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Cuban Spy case reversed!

Huge news today from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. The Court, in a 93 page opinion, reverses the convictions for the "Cuban Five" based on venue grounds. This case received quite a bit of press in Miami and was tried in front of Judge Lenard. The appeal has been pending for some time and many were starting to wonder what was going on. The defense lawyers were: Richard Klugh, Kathy Williams, Joaquin Mendez, Orlando do Campo, Phil Horowitz, Paul McKenna, William Norris, Leonard Weinglass, and Jack Blumenfeld. Richard Klugh argued the case to the 11th Circuit. Some have said this this is the first federal case to be reversed on venue grounds. I don't know if that is that case... Anyone? I haven't digested the entire opinion yet, but the last paragraph was interesting:

The court is aware that, for many of the same reasons discussed above, the reversal of these convictions will be unpopular and even offensive to many citizens. However, the court is equally mindful that those same citizens cherish and support the freedoms they enjoy in this country that are unavailable to residents of Cuba. One of our most sacred freedoms is the right to be tried fairly in a noncoercive atmosphere. The court is cognizant that its judgment today will be received by those citizens with grave disappointment, but is equally confident of our shared commitment to scrupulously protect our freedoms. The Cuban-American community is a bastion of the traditional values that make America great. Included in those values are the rights of the accused criminal that insure fair trial. Thus, in the final analysis, we trust that any disappointment with our judgment in this case will be tempered and balanced by the recognition that we are a nation of laws in which every defendant, no matter how unpopular, must be
treated fairly. Our Constitution requires no less.

Please use the comments to express your thoughts on the case. Read coverage here, here and here.

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