Saturday, January 23, 2010

Biden in Iraq, Announces US will retry Blackwater guards dismissal

In a fit of politics over substance, Vice President Biden while in Iraq announced that the Blackwater guards alleged to have improperly opened fire while on convoy duty in Iraq, whose cases were dismissed by a Federal district Court judge due to prosecutorial misconduct will be appealed.

Biden: US to appeal dismissal of Blackwater case
The U.S. will appeal a court decision dismissing manslaughter charges against five Blackwater Worldwide guards involved in a deadly 2007 Baghdad shooting, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said Saturday.

Biden's announcement after a meeting with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani shows just how diplomatically sensitive the incident remains nearly three years later. A lawyer for one guard, noting that word of the intended appeal came in Iraq, accused the Obama administration of political expediency and said the U.S. was pursuing an innocent man, rather than justice.

You'll recall the case was dismissed in December 2009:
Judge Ricardo M. Urbina of Federal District Court in Washington wrote that the government’s mishandling of the case “requires dismissal of the indictment against all the defendants.”

In a “reckless violation of the defendants’ constitutional rights...Judge Urbina found that “in their zeal to bring charges,” investigators and prosecutors had extensively used those statements, disregarding “the warning of experienced, senior prosecutors” that “the course of action threatened the viability of prosecution.”

“The explanations offered by the prosecutors and investigators in an attempt to justify their actions and persuade the court that they did not use the defendants’ compelled testimony were all too often contradictory, unbelievable and lacking in credibility,” Judge Urbina wrote.

The judge also criticized prosecutors for withholding “substantial exculpatory evidence” from the grand jury that indicted the defendants, as well as for presenting “distorted versions” of witnesses’ testimony and improperly telling the grand jury that some incriminating statements had been made by the defendants but were being withheld. ”

Its certainly peculiar that an American Vice president would announce the continued persecution of Americans in America after a massively flawed process in the underlying case, while he is in Iraq for the benefit of politics. After all Vice President Biden while in Iraq was clear in that he didn't want to interfere in Iraqi politics. lets hope that Iraqi politics doesn't interfere with American justice.

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