Sunday, July 08, 2007

Fun Padilla coverage in the NYTimes

Sunday's New York Times covers some of the craziness occurring in the Jose Padilla trial. Here we go with some highlights:

Mr. Padilla looks relaxed most days, only seldom betraying tension when his jaw muscles twitch or his shoulders hunch in his business suit. He laughs softly when his lawyers joke, and he smiles at his mother when she comes to court on Fridays. He seems to follow the tortuous proceedings closely, but what he is thinking is anyone’s guess.

What kind of joke could you make to a guy who was held without charges or any real human contact for three years? And isn't it always "anyone's guess" as to what a defendant is thinking?

Where Mr. Padilla eats lunch is one mystery of the trial, . . .

That's a mystery of the trial? Well, here you go -- he's eating in the holding cells in the courthouse. And he usually gets a horrible bologna and cheese sandwich.

. . . but a far larger question looms: What must the jurors be thinking? . . . (One can imagine the jurors in deliberations, arguing over whether “eating cheese” means waging jihad or enjoying a chunk of Gruy√®re.)

Ah, we're back to wondering what others are thinking... I'm willing to bet a lot of money that no juror utters the word Gruyere. Any takers?

Since the trial began on May 14, their own lives have sometimes proved more dramatic than the case. One juror’s sister died of cancer last week; she wept during a break the next day, prompting Judge Marcia Cooke to dismiss court early. Another was injured trying to stop a car thief; he was excused.

Judge Cooke is very considerate. The jurors must absolutely love her. I know the lawyers do.

Several times now, the five women and seven men have shown up in color-coordinated outfits. One day, the men dressed in blue and the women in pink. On July 3, the first row wore red, the second white and the third blue, leading bloggers to wonder whether they were worrisomely frivolous or unified — or so patriotic as to condemn all accused terrorists.

I've been picking on the reporter a bit, but now I sorta like her. She mentions our scoop on the jurors wearing colors to court. Why no shout out!! Come on!!

The most interesting things almost always happen when the jurors are not around. That is when the lawyers complain to Judge Cooke, often bitterly, about each other’s conduct and plans. Once in a while they even fix each other with death stares, as if summoning a voodoo curse.

Now this is good stuff. Maybe I should start a new poll -- who has the best death stare in the trial? Please discuss!

Tensions erupt so often that some days it seems the jurors are filing out to their break room every few minutes. The lawyers have fought over whether the government could use the term “violent jihad” (no), whether it could show jurors a CNN interview with Osama bin Laden (yes) and whether the cross-examination of a witness could last longer than direct questioning.

They complain of insufficient warning about exhibits and accuse each other of prejudicing the jury.
“Your honor, this is insanity,” John Shipley, an assistant attorney general, said last week, complaining about a late-night e-mail message he received from one of Mr. Hassoun’s lawyers.

Some more interesting stuff, but time to pick on the reporter a little again. "Assistant Attorney General"? Nope. Try again. Shipley is an Assistant United States Attorney. But I do like the quote. STOP THE INSANITY!

Judge Cooke usually listens patiently [when the lawyers bicker out of the presence of the jury] while the jurors do who-knows-what — coordinate their outfits, perhaps — in the break room. But last week she blew up at Jeanne Baker, a lawyer for Mr. Hassoun, calling her “disrespectful” after Ms. Baker talked over a government objection.
“Tell the jurors to take 10 minutes,” Judge Cooke said, adding, “I’m taking 10 minutes.”
She adjourned court early that day. There are still weeks to go.

Oh boy. Doesn't sound good for Baker. To get Judge Cooke angry, you really have to mess something up.... Even though I picked at the article, I enjoyed it. It's interesting to cover a trial with good lawyering on both sides...


Anonymous said...

Congrats David,

You are officially one step closer to earning your Junior AUSA badge. Next you will be praising Gonzales quotes.

Where is Ken Kukec when you need him?

Rumpole said...

Now you're getting anonymous shots on your own blog. Welcome to the party, pal.

Anonymous said...

Caruso has the best death stare, hands down.

Anonymous said...

don't confuse the evil eye with the eye of the tiger