Civil Liberties Courts Criminal Justice National Politics

The Judge…and the Student…


As we think about what kind of Attorney General Judge Mukasey
might make, it is worth reading today’s troubling New York Times story, the heart of which has to do with a student from San Diego, California, who was held in detention as a possible federal witness and it, appears, beaten, before being cleared of perjury five years later. (He has recently graduated with honors from San Diego State University). I’m running off for the day, so am not commenting further than simply to post the piece, but the situation speaks for itself:

The 21-year-old Jordanian immigrant was in shackles when he was brought into the courtroom of Judge Michael B. Mukasey in Federal District Court in Manhattan.

It was Oct. 2, 2001, and the prisoner, Osama Awadallah, then a college student in San Diego with no criminal record, was one of dozens of Arab men detained around the country in the days after the Sept. 11 attacks as potential witnesses in the terrorism investigation.

Before the hearing, Mr. Awadallah told his lawyer that he had been beaten in the federal detention center in Manhattan, producing bruises that were hidden beneath his orange prison jumpsuit. But when his lawyer told this to Judge Mukasey, the judge seemed little concerned.

Here’s the rest of the story.


  • Did the judge do anything illegally? Did he recommend the proper venue for complaints? You guys are more concerned with attacking the individuals than the process. If the process works, then the individuals are mere tools towards justice–UNLESS THEY ARE LIBERAL ACTIVIST JUDGES. I just had to add that.

  • When the case finally reached trial this year, the jury spent six days in heated deliberations but remained deadlocked, with a single juror voting not guilty.

    But in a stark reversal of sentiment, a new jury of nine women and three men took less than seven hours over two days before finding Mr. Awadallah not guilty.

    This usually means that in the second trial, evidense was not allowed that was seen by the first jury. Please correct me if I am wrong!

  • The government states that, “There is no dispute that Awadallah had bruises on his upper arms as of October 4, 2001.” In addition, a Special Investigative Agent prepared a report that found Awadallah had “multiple [bruises] on arms, right shoulder, [and] both ankles,” a cut on his left hand, and an unspecified mark near his left eye. [These bruises appear to have been sustained during at various prisons in transit to New York.]

    When the government repeatedly asked whether he knew anyone named “Khalid Al-Mihdar” or anyone named “Khalid,” Awadallah said no. … the government produced an examination booklet that it had received from Awadallah’s teacher, eight days earlier, on October 2. Inside the booklet, Awadallah had written: “One of the quietest people I have met is Nawaf. Another one, his name Khalid. They have stayed in San Diego for 6 months.”

    The government subsequently charged Awadallah with two counts of knowingly making a false material declaration before the grand jury for: (1) testifying that he did not know Khalid’s name, and (2) testifying that he did not write the word “Khalid” in the exam booklet.

    On December 3, 2001, Awadallah moved for an evidentiary hearing “to suppress:
    (1) all physical evidence found by law enforcement officers who searched his home, computer and cars, and
    (2) all statements that he made to any government agent from September 20, 2001 through October 3, 2001,” as well as to dismiss the indictment.

  • This guy is as much of a “student” as were the people who kept our Iranian embassy personnel as hostages during Carter’s administration and who were called students by the media. Does the press label terrorists as students to try to sanitize them? Why, unless it’s true that they want Bush to fail more than they want to protect Americans?

Leave a Comment