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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Terrorist Mom's Objection on Sentencing: Chutzpah Plus Arrogance

On the afternoon of the Boston Marathon terrorist attack (April 15th), two northern New Jersey men were sentenced in Newark federal district court to prison terms of in excess of 20 years for terrorism-related charges (technically, the charge was conspiracy to damage property of a foreign government).

As the sentencing occurred at roughly the same time as the bombing, the defendants' lawyers pointed out the prospect of prejudice in the sentencing.  This was -- on the facts -- stretching the bounds of properly zealous representation.

But now the mother of one of the defendants claims that her son's harsh sentence was due to the bombing.

This claim shows absolute chutzpah. However, the facts surrounding the case and the claim really show how ridiculous -- and disrespectful and insulting -- the mother is.

The sentencing of this woman's son, and his co-defendant, was scheduled months in advance -- January 11, 2013 at 10:00 am, to be exact. (Source: federal district court docket.) The report from the court shows that the sentencing hearing for these two convicts began at 1:30 PM on April 15th. The Boston Marathon bombing occurred minutes before 2:00 PM on April 15th.  For the mother's claim to pass the laugh test, one would have to suspend the sense of disbelief and accept the possibility that within minutes of the bombing, that news reached a closed courtroom and influenced the federal judge to jack up the sentences.  One would further have to believe that the judge's sentencing decisions were not already fairly set based on the objective facts, plus the sentencing memoranda submitted by the Justice Department and the lawyers for each defendant.  It is just ridiculous.

The mother's claim is a new height (or low) of audacity, that her son's guilty plea to a terrorism charge ENTITLED him to a postponement of sentencing because of an unrelated (at least that's the presumption) terrorist attack that occurred after the hearing began. This is rubbish.   It is ridiculous -- and frankly, frivolous and warranting sanctions on the lawyer bringing this up -- to make this claim.

This woman is entitled to her feelings, to her shame. But she is not entitled to her facts. And she is not entitled to have the nation, the same nation her son attacked and victimized, show contrition and honor such an offensive claim. Enough.

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