Showing posts from February, 2009

Plea Likely from Iraq Terror Suspect

The Washington Post reports that a Dutch national accused of planting roadside bombs in Iraq is expected to plead guilty today. The case represents the first prosecution of an alleged Iraqi insurgent in a U.S. Courtroom. Wesam al-Delaema, 36, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Washington on charges that include conspiring to murder U.S. citizens and possessing a destructive device during a crime of violence. . . . [Delaema] was arrested by Dutch authorities in May 2005 and extradited to the United States in early 2007. Authorities have alleged that Delaema traveled to Iraq in 2003 and was a member of the group Mujaheddin From Fallujah, which deployed roadside bombs. On a videotape seized from his Dutch home, Delaema and other alleged insurgents were shown making, planting and discussing explosives intended to harm U.S. troops operating near Fallujah, authorities have said. On the video, Delaema said in Arabic that "we have executed several operations, and most of them were s

Should Plea Bargains Be Available On-Line?

Doug Berman over at the Sentencing Law and Policy blog has an interesting post regarding a National Law Journal article about a federal judge who has defied the DOJ's wishes and ordered all plea agreements to be posted online. Here is a portion of the National Law Journal article. Chief Judge Federico Moreno of the Southern District of Florida, bucking the wishes of the U.S. Department of Justice, has ordered all plea agreements to be posted online. In an order issued on Jan. 22, Moreno stated that as of Feb. 20, all plea agreements "will be public documents, with full remote access available to all members of the public and the bar, unless the Court has entered an order in advance directing the sealing or otherwise restricting a plea agreement." Moreno's order rescinds a previous order of April 2007 taking all plea agreements offline and making them accessible for physical viewing only at the courthouse. The issue of whetherplea agreements should be publicly avail

South Dakota Post-Conviction DNA Testing - But What About Plea Bargains?

According to the Argus Leader , South Dakota may soon get post-conviction DNA testing. Some inmates in the state prison system could have DNA evidence tested to determine whether they were wrongly convicted if a bill in the Legislature becomes law. House Bill 1166, introduced Wednesday, has four Republican sponsors in the House and two Republicans and one Democrat in the Senate. The bill would let felony convicts petition for DNA testing if the evidence exists and if there were questions about identity in their prosecutions. The bill has the backing of the local chapter of the Innocence Project, a national group that has pushed to expand post-conviction DNA testing at the state and federal level. Evidence lockers across the nation contain evidence of rapes and murders that were committed before science enabled investigators to use DNA to identify perpetrators. DNA testing has enabled law enforcement agencies across the nation to solve old cases. But the tests also have helped those who