Friday, August 17, 2007

Lessons From Padilla - We No Longer Have To Fear... Defense Lawyers

So Jose Padilla was convicted here in Miami yesterday. The community reacted with a big loud "whatever."

He's going to prison, probably for the rest of his life. CNN reported this as a "huge victory for the Bush Administration." Padilla's mother disagreed. The prosecutors quietly left court, as did the defense lawyers, although they were heard to have voices cracking after the verdict.

One of the issues on appeal will be his lengthy stay on a Navy Brig without access to counsel or charges against him. We live in a country where that happens. We take people into custody, without charges, deny them access to lawyers, or file charges against them. They are enemies, enemy combatants to be exact.

Even speaking about this these days is deemed to be "unpatriotic" and "liberal." Bullshit.

I love this country, and hate where it is. Something wrong with that?

If anyone takes a minute to really examine this whole case, it is clear that Padilla was held without charges, and denied access to counsel, for one reason: The fear of a criminal defense lawyer.

This entire debacle was engineered to keep him away from....a criminal defense lawyer.

In essence, the government feared not terrorism, but........criminal defense lawyers.

Why? Because we do things like file motions, ask judges to look at government allegations, question law enforcement. These are things that the constitution requires, and what we have been taught to fear most.

In the end, Padilla got his criminal defense lawyer. Actually he got a few outstanding ones. In the end, the allegations against him were heard in a court of law, prosecuted by prosecutors, in front of a judge. A jury determined his fate.

And today, we no longer have to fear.......criminal defense lawyers.



Brian Tannebaum is a criminal defense attorney in Miami, Florida practicing in state and federal court. To learn more about Brian and his firm, Tannebaum Weiss, please visit www.tannebaumweiss.com