Friday, June 4, 2010

Federal judge in Posada Carriles case: Just trust us.

U.S. District Court Judge Kathleen Cardone said earlier this week it would be "impractical" to hold the Luis Posada Carriles trial any earlier than Jan. 10, 2011, according to this June 2 order.
It's difficult to evaluate the judge's decision because an overwhelming number of documents in the Posada Carriles case are secret.
I went through the Posada Carriles file in February and found that about 90 percent of the filings - 376 out of 419 - were sealed.
That means ordinary folks - people who pay taxes to finance the federal courts - can't read or follow what's going on in the case.
Keeping all this stuff secret is a sensitive issue because Posada Carriles is a former CIA operative. People have a right to know what, if any, ties Posada Carriles had to the U.S. government as he continued on his lifelong quest Fidel Castro and undermine the Cuban government.
Prosecutors accuse Posada Carriles of perjury, immigration fraud and other charges. Delays have plagued his trial, which at one time was set to begin during the summer of 2009.
Announcing the latest delay, Cardone said:
the unavailability of a government witness, as well as the unavailability of counsel for both the government and the defense, makes trial impractical until January 10, 2011.
...the interests of justice outweigh the interests of Defendant and the public in a speedy trial.
This is an unusual and complex case due to the nature of the prosecution and the potential for novel questions of fact and law, such that it is unreasonable to expect adequate preparation for trial at an earlier date; that the failure to grant such continuance might result in miscarriage of justice; and that an earlier date would deny counsel for Defendant and the government the reasonable time necessary for effective preparation, taking into account the exercise of due diligence.

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