Never Question

by: Alan M. Dershowitz (Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, graduate of Brooklyn College and Yale Law School):

State Attorney Angela Corey, the prosecutor in the George Zimmerman case, recently called the Dean of Harvard Law School to complain about my criticism of some of her actions.

She was transferred to the Office of Communications and proceeded to engage in a 40-minute rant, during which she threatened to sue Harvard Law School, to try to get me disciplined by the Bar Association and to file charges against me for libel and slander.

She said that because I work for Harvard and am identified as a professor she had the right to sue Harvard.

When the communications official explained to her that I have a right to express my opinion as “a matter of academic freedom,” and that Harvard has no control over what I say, she did not seem to understand.

She persisted in her nonstop whining, claiming that she is prohibited from responding to my attacks by the rules of professional responsibility — without mentioning that she has repeatedly held her own press conferences and made public statements throughout her career.

Her beef was that I criticized her for filing a misleading affidavit that willfully omitted all information about the injuries Zimmerman had sustained during the “struggle” it described. She denied that she had any obligation to include in the affidavit truthful material that was favorable to the defense.

She insisted that she is entitled to submit what, in effect, were half-truths in an affidavit of probable cause, so long as she subsequently provides the defense with exculpatory evidence.

She should go back to law school, where she will learn that it is never appropriate to submit an affidavit that contains a half truth, because a half truth is regarded by the law as a lie, and anyone who submits an affidavit swears to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Before she submitted the probable cause affidavit, Corey was fully aware that Zimmerman had sustained serious injuries to the front and back of his head. The affidavit said that her investigators “reviewed” reports, statements and “photographs” that purportedly “detail[ed] the following.”

It then went on to describe “the struggle,” but it deliberately omitted all references to Zimmerman’s injuries, which were clearly visible in the photographs she and her investigators reviewed.

That is Hamlet without the Prince!

The judge deciding whether there is probable cause to charge the defendant with second degree murder should not have been kept in the dark about physical evidence that is so critical to determining whether a homicide occurred, and if so, a homicide of what degree. By omitting this crucial evidence, Corey deliberately misled the court.

Corey seems to believe that our criminal justice system is like a poker game in which the prosecution is entitled to show its cards only after the judge has decided to charge the defendant with second degree murder.

That’s not the way the system is supposed to work and that’s not the way prosecutors are supposed to act. That a prosecutor would hide behind the claim that she did not have an obligation to tell the whole truth until after the judge ruled on probable cause displays a kind of gamesmanship in which prosecutors should not engage.

The prisons, both in Florida and throughout the United States, are filled with felons who submitted sworn statements that contained misleading half-truths. Corey herself has probably prosecuted such cases.

Ironically, Corey has now succeeded in putting Zimmerman back in prison for a comparably misleading omission in his testimony. His failure to disclose money received from a PayPal account requesting donations for his legal defense made his testimony misleadingly incomplete.

In her motion to revoke his bail, Corey argued that Zimmerman “intentionally deceived the court” by making “false representations.” The same can be said about prosecutor Corey. She too misled and deceived the court by submitting an affidavit that relied on a review of photographs and other reports that showed injuries to Zimmerman, without disclosing the existence of these highly relevant injuries.

Even if Angela Corey’s actions were debatable, which I believe they were not, I certainly have the right, as a professor who has taught and practiced criminal law nearly 50 years, to express a contrary view. The idea that a prosecutor would threaten to sue someone who disagrees with her for libel and slander, to sue the university for which he works, and to try to get him disbarred, is the epitome of unprofessionalism.

Fortunately, truth is a defense to such charges.

I will continue to criticize prosecutors when their actions warrant criticism, to praise them when their actions deserve praise, and to comment on ongoing cases in the court of public opinion.

If Angela Corey doesn’t like the way freedom of expression operates in the United States, there are plenty of countries where truthful criticism of prosecutors and other government officials result in disbarment, defamation suits and even criminal charges.

We do not want to become such a country.

Attribution: NewsMax

Contrasting Incidents

In the past few years, there have been two major tragedies involving our military personnel. One quite recently, and the other from a few years back. Although they were similar in result, I believe the motivations to be completely different.

The most recent one of course is that of Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales. The incident from a few years back, if you recall, is that of Major Nidal Hasan. You would have to be living under a rock not to know about Sgt. Bales, but when one was the last time you heard about the Major.

If you recall, in 2009 Major Nidal Hasan, yelling “Allahu Akbar!”, ran through a compound at Fort Hood Texas, killing 13 unarmed military personnel and wounded 29 more.

Refusing to call it what it was, an act of terrorism, the Obama Defense Department classified the Fort Hood massacre as “workplace violence”.

Now we have Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales who has charged with multiple counts of murder for the massacre of 17 Afghan civilians. It is doubtful that the Obama administration will tie this one up with a pretty bow.

Evidently what Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales did was far more heinous than the actions of Hasan.

How could this be? How is what Sgt. Bales did so much worse than what Maj. Hasan did?

Well, that’s an easy one to answer. The fact is Maj. Hasan is in a politically protected class. He’s a Moslem. Sgt. Bales is a white American. Yes, Sgt. Bales did allegedly kill innocent civilians, but were the Afghan civilians anymore innocent than the unarmed military personnel murdered by Hassan at Fort Hood?

To any reasonable person, the answer should surely be no.

Contrasting Sgt. Bales and Major Hasan is fairly simple. From interviews of friends and fellow military men, Sgt. Bales appeared to be a model soldier. I’m no psychiatrist, but after four long tours of duty in both Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003, not to mention a foot and head injury, it appears that Sgt. Bales may have just flipped out. That is certainly no excuse for what he did, but from all the accounts I’ve read it certainly doesn’t appear as if this was premeditated. It was still a horrible act of violence and one that he should pay a steep price. He should, however, pay no steeper price than the dear Major.

On the other hand, Major Hasan had at least 18 e-mail communiqués, intercepted by intelligence agencies, to and from known Al Qaeda terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki. I’m sure this is a common occurrence in the military. 

It happens to me every week. There are I was, just sitting in my office, when all of a sudden an e-mail appears from an Al Qaeda operative. If I had a nickel for every time that happened…

Hassan was also known to have tried to convert disgruntled military personnel to Islam and thereby radicalize them.

Major Hasan is still receiving his full military pay plus all his medical expenses are paid for, three years after the fact. I suppose that is reasonable. He is after all, innocent until proven guilty. Hasan is not due to go to trial until June of 2012, three years after the “workplace incident”. This may very well be typical of military trials but it seems to be excessively slow.

I will bet, for political expediency, Sgt. Bales trial will somehow be fast tracked.

The Hasan case sould be a slam dunk. He is guilty. There were plenty of witnesses to attest to that. There apparently are few if any in the Bales case.

If Bales and Hasan are found guilty of these brutal attacks, they should be executed. Let’s hope they both receive a fair trial and let justice prevail.

Maxed out on Maxine

It’s not often that I am truly speechless, but this one left me very close.

After watching this, if you have a brain in your head, you too will be awestruck by the colossal demonstration of idiocy that I just witnessed.

You may want to wrap you head with Duct tape prior to viewing, for your head may explode.

It may be painful, but pay strict attention to her sloganeering. Listen for words like equality & justice; right out of the socialist playbook.

We are truly doomed if we allow Marxists like Maxine Waters back into a Chairmanship.