Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Mistrial in HLF terror funding case

After 19 days of deliberations and a two-month trial, jurors in the Dallas federal courthouse remained divided on most of the 197 terrorism-financing charges against the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, which has ties to Hamas. US District Judge Joe Fish, in accordance with federal law which requires a unanimous decision of the jury to convict a suspect, was forced to declare a mistrial on Monday.

Nihad Awad, CAIR executive director, had this to say "today's declaration of a mistrial in the case against the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation (HLF) Muslim charity a "stunning defeat" for the prosecution." and said the jury agreed with other "observers of the trial who believe the charges were built on fear, not facts." Touting the Texas trial as their latest victory against the government, "failed in Chicago, it failed in Florida, it failed in Texas," You may recall, CAIR was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the case.

In early October, nine days into deliberations, jurors indicated that a member of the panel was refusing to vote. There are 3 possibilities for the reluctant juror,

1) Fear of retaliation by the terrorist groups whose financiers are on trial. 2) Religious sympathy with the accused. 3) Some liberal notion of moral equivalence.

The verdicts, which were handed in by the jury on Thursday and read by the court on Monday, were voided after Judge Fish polled the jurors and discovered that three of them disagreed with the verdicts as they were submitted. After the judge allocated time for further deliberations to break the deadlock, 11 of 12 jurors agreed that their decisions were no longer subject to change, leading to the mistrial. Prosecutors said they would probably retry the case against five out of the six defendants from the foundation.

It seems to me the government overplayed their hand. They had so much evidence against the defendants, the jury couldn't see the forest for the trees. I would like to know a little more about the juror who refused to pass judgement on the defendants. Next time the prosecutors need to keep it simple, a cut and dry case.


Malott said...

One of the jurors in the jury I served on last week voted "not guilty" at first - and subsequently confessed that she was afraid the guy might come after her.

Never rule out threats - or perhaps subtle intimidation - when it comes to Islam and their feelings toward the infidels.

Great post... per ususal.

Malott said...

Lest I be misunderstood...

My case involved drugs... But if a two-bit drug user can cause fear... Imagine the intimidation radical Islam can muster.

janice said...

I agree.

I was called to jury duty twice. Even glances across the court room can intimidate.

The next trial has to be iron-clad and not so many details.