Zacarias Moussaoui's brief to the Fourth Circuit
June 4, 2003 10:00 AM   Subscribe

Zacarias Moussaoui's legal brief to the Fourth Circuit regarding his right to question witnesses and the United States' reply. [warning: PDF]
posted by mhaw (4 comments total)
For some reason my pdf viewer really hates the things... Can you give some kind of summary of these 200-some-odd pages?
posted by kaibutsu at 12:17 PM on June 4, 2003

Well, Moussaoui's brief basically argues that the U.S. Government should let him use as witnesses people the U.S. is holding overseas (i.e. Unlawful Combatants). His view is (among many arguments) that since the U.S. Government could call them as witnesses, he should be able to call them as well. His view is informed by some pretty interesting bits of the constitution, and Judicial opinions, etc.

The position of the U.S. Government is that for technical, legal, and security reasons, he can not call these witnesses. The U.S. Government seems to argue that Moussaoui's request is much like attempting to call as witness a criminal at large (who, of course, might never be caught), a delay tactic previously found not to be constitutionally protected or a requirement of due process. Notably, the U.S. claims that being forced to provide access to these witnesses would be a violation of the separation of the Judicial and Executive branches. The U.S. also seems to be implying that, gee, it would be too much work.

One interesting feature of both documents is the moderate amount of black-out covering sections still secret. Notably, the name of the witness being called seems to be missing. Wouldn't it truly be spooky if the hidden name was some big-shot we claim to still be searching for?

I haven't read either document in detail, so don't take my summary as writ. Hope that helps.
posted by jupiter at 1:16 PM on June 4, 2003

NPR gave the name in a report yesterday. The requested witness was cited as the 9/11 planner and has claimed Moussaoui was too incompetent to participate in the events of 9/11. This guy is apparently at Camp X-Ray.

Apparently the government claims (in a nutshell) that National Security trumps the rights of the 6th Amendment and that potential witnesses overseas cannot be called. The interesting part is the government can easily access anybody in the prison facility in Cuba so I don't see how they can claim a witness at large defense.

This does not come from the PDF file which may reference other witnesses and issues. It is my memory of the report broadcast last night.

Only the government can have its cake and eat it too.
posted by infowar at 1:32 PM on June 4, 2003

I agree with infowar's recollection of the NPR broadcast and interpretation of it.

The administration's approach to the Constitution and international treaties like the Geneva Convention really disturbs me. I believe those documents are statements of belief in the values the documents represent. While it may be legal to say that the Geneva Convention or Constitution don't apply to certain people, I believe it's immoral to do so.

So in this case, my view is that when Sixth Amendment says "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor," it should apply to all people tried by the United States, regardless of their citizenship. (Emphasis mine.)
posted by kirkaracha at 2:41 PM on June 4, 2003

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