Tuesday, July 12, 2005

You Go Judge

I received an e-mail with this story and immediately thought - urban legend. Snopes says it is true, so there you go. It must be true. Apparently, shoe bomber Richard Reid was sentenced by Judge William Young for his effort to light his shoe bomb during a transatlantic flight. Here is an excerpt of the Judge's comments, which I did not see on any major media outlet, but read the whole thing.

Ruling by Judge William Young, US District Court.

Prior to sentencing, the Judge asked the defendant if he had anything to say.

After admitting his guilt to the court for the record, Reid also admitted his "allegiance to Osama bin Laden, to Islam, and to the religion of Allah," defiantly stated "I think I will not apologize for my actions," and told the court "I am at war with your country."

Judge Young then delivered the statement quoted below:

January 30, 2003, United States vs. Reid. Judge Young:

Judge Young began by sentencing Reid to 3 life sentences, four 20 years sentences to run consecutively (so, 80 years), plus another 30 years, plus fines and restitution totalling more than $2 million. He then continued.

"The Court imposes upon you five years supervised release simply because the law requires it. But the life sentences are real life sentences so I need go no further. This is the sentence that is provided for by our statutes. It is a fair and just sentence. It is a righteous sentence.

Let me explain this to you. We are not afraid of you or any of your terrorist co-conspirators, Mr. Reid. We are Americans. We have been through the fire before. There is all too much war talk here and I say that to everyone with the utmost respect. Here in this court, we deal with individuals as individuals and care for individuals as individuals. As human beings, we reach out for justice.

You are not an enemy combatant. You are a terrorist. You are not a soldier in any war. You are a terrorist. To give you that reference, to call you a soldier, gives you far too much stature.

Whether it is the officers of government who do it or your attorney who does it, or if you think you are a soldier. You are not----- you are a terrorist. And we do not negotiate with terrorists. We do not meet with terrorists. We do not sign documents with terrorists. We hunt them down one by one and bring them to justice.

So war talk is way out of line in this court. You are a big fellow. But you are not that big. You're no warrior. I've know warriors. You are a terrorist. A species of criminal that is guilty of multiple attempted murders.

In a very real sense, State Trooper Santiago had it right when you first were taken off that plane and into custody and you wondered where the press and where the TV crews were, and he said: "You're no big deal." You are no big deal.

* * * *

And I ask you to search your heart and ask yourself what sort of unfathomable hate led you to do what you are guilty and admit you are guilty of doing. And I have an answer for you. It may not satisfy you, but as I search this entire record, it comes as close to understanding as I know. It seems to me you hate the one thing that to us is most precious. You hate our freedom. Our individual freedom. Our individual freedom to live as we choose, to come and go as we choose, to believe or not believe as we individually choose. Here, in this society, the very wind carries freedom. It carries it everywhere from sea to shining sea. It is because we prize individual freedom so much that you are here in this beautiful courtroom. So that everyone can see, truly see, that justice is administered fairly, individually, and discretely.

It is for freedom's sake that your lawyers are striving so vigorously on your behalf and have filed appeals, will go on in their representation of you before other judges. We Americans are all about freedom. Because we all know that the way we treat you, Mr. Reid, is the measure of our own liberties. Make no mistake though. It is yet true that we will bear any burden; pay any price, to preserve our freedoms. Look around this courtroom. Mark it well. The world is not going to long remember what you or I say here.

Day after tomorrow, it will be forgotten, but this, however, will long endure. Here in this courtroom and courtrooms all across America, the American people will gather to see that justice, individual justice, justice, not war, individual justice is in fact being done. The very President of the United States through his officers will have to come into courtrooms and lay out evidence on which specific matters can be judged and juries of citizens will gather to sit and judge that evidence democratically, to mold and shape and refine our sense of justice.

See that flag, Mr. Reid? That's the flag of the United States of America That flag will fly there long after this is all forgotten. That flag stands for freedom. And it always will.

Mr. Custody Officer. Stand him down."

A little heavy on the idealistic, but just fine by me when staring at a terrorist.


At 11:02 AM, Blogger Jehane said...

KJ, it's not at all long on the idealistic.

This is exactly what I meant when I got into it with my friend about Oliver Wendell Holmes' statement that he feared this nation would become "a nation of ideologues".

I very much fear the day when we no longer believe in anything, and I fear that day is fast approaching. It is the quality of our ideals which raises us above the level of animals, which makes us better than the Richard Reids of this world.

As long as our ideals are worth the candle, I don't fear idealism one bit. I loathe the cynicism that thinks there are no ideals worth defending.

At 11:49 AM, Blogger KJ said...

I wasn't suggesting that, Cass. I guess I was thinking of the fact that most Americans aren't really that pumped up about freedom anymore. If they were, they wouldn't ask the Federal (or even local) govt to take care of every single problem they face.

But I will gladly stand and hum a patriotic song in the background with this judge gives that speech. We do need idealism, you are right. But we also need to vote that way.

At 12:12 PM, Blogger Jehane said...

I'm sorry.

As usual, I didn't express myself very well.

I was trying to say that I liked your post very much - I didn't think it was too idealistic.

At 1:29 PM, Blogger KJ said...

Oh. Well now. That wasn't so hard, was it?

At 2:54 PM, Blogger Jehane said...

Sorry, I'm very tired.


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