It goes without saying that when the available facts accrue and weigh so heavily against a defendant, like the alleged Fort Hood killer Nidal Hasan, one can begin to think of the upcoming trial as something of an afterthought.
Yet, there's this thing called the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution that provides defendants -- even the unlikeable and the ultimately guilty -- with all sorts of inviolable rights, one of which is the right to legal representation. And so, the duty of defending Hasan in open court would have become someone's responsibility. That's just a fact.
And yet, it seems like we're obliged to endure the odd and illogical spectacle of people like CNN's Wolf Blitzer, mounting something of a shame campaign against Colonel John Galligan, who is presently engaged as Hasan's defense attorney.
BLITZER: They asked me, how could a retired U.S. military officer, a full colonel, go ahead and represent someone accused of mass murder? And I want you to explain to our viewers why you're doing this.
GALLIGAN: Wolf, I will tell you what I have told, consistently, anyone who's asked that same question, and that is, as a former military JAG officer, former military judge, former prosecutor, former defense counsel, and now currently actively involved in the civilian practice of criminal defense work, I fully appreciate the importance of ensuring that everybody has a fair trial. I think that's particularly important when it applies to anyone in uniform, officer or enlisted. Their profession is to defend us, we owe it to them as either fellow servicemembers or as U.S. citizens to ensure that they properly defend them. The rights that I'm asking be accorded to Major Hasan are the rights that service members live and die for.
Galligan went on to attest to his experience in the military justice system, and express confidence in the fact that at the end of the trial, observers would have no doubt that a "fair and impartial hearing" would be rendered. All of which should have been sufficient! But then Blitzer felt the need to beat his chest a little bit:
BLITZER: I'm sure he will get a much fairer hearing than those 13 Americans who were brutally gunned down the other day. I'm sure he will get all of the rights that are applied by the military code of justice.
Galligan retorted, "The difficulty that I have, of course, is when people end discussions with me with references like the one that you just made," adding, "We wanna make sure that everybody watching the process unfold feels comfortable and confident that it's going to be fair and just. The minute we try to isolate certain cases in the process and say, well we can make a judgment before the trial, or assumptions before the trial, I think it leads to the wrong result."
What I don't understand is this: Why is Wolf Blitzer trying to steal Nancy Grace's thunder? I thought howling about what monsters defense attorneys are was her schtick.
WATCH, via TPM
Anyway, if you don't like our criminal justice system, maybe move to Iran? KTHXBAI.
Wolf Blitzer Questions How Hasan's Lawyer Can Represent 'Someone Accused Of Mass Murder' [Talking Points Memo]
A Bad Moment Today at CNN [Josh Marshall]
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