[Libs-Or] FW: [ALACOUN:15447] Judge's remarks
Tony Greiner/Mary Grant
greints at spiritone.com
Fri Jul 29 17:47:23 PDT 2005
For those libraries looking for a "Constitution Day" display or
program, printing this out in big letters would be a nice start.
Thank you for passing this on Carolyn.
>A friend sent me these remarks by Judge John C. Coughenour as he sentenced
>Ahmed Ressam, and I thought many of you would like to see them, too. His
>commitment to constitutional rights and principles is encouraging, and I
>hope more of his colleagues on the bench share his view.
>"Judge's comments in Ressam sentencing"
>By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
>U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour's comments during Wednesday's
>sentencing hearing for Ahmed Ressam, as provided by court officials.
>Ressam, an Algerian national, was sentenced to 22 years for plotting to bomb
>Los Angeles International Airport on the eve of the millennium.
>"Okay. Let me say a few things. First of all, it will come as no surprise to
>anybody that this sentencing is one that I have struggled with a great deal,
>more than any other sentencing that I've had in the 24 years I've been on
>"I've done my very best to arrive at a period of confinement that
>appropriately recognizes the severity of the intended offense, but also
>recognizes the practicalities of the parties' positions before trial and the
>cooperation of Mr. Ressam, even though it did terminate prematurely.
>"The message I would hope to convey in today's sentencing is twofold:
>"First, that we have the resolve in this country to deal with the subject of
>terrorism and people who engage in it should be prepared to sacrifice a
>major portion of their life in confinement.
>"Secondly, though, I would like to convey the message that our system works.
>We did not need to use a secret military tribunal, or detain the defendant
>indefinitely as an enemy combatant, or deny him the right to counsel, or
>invoke any proceedings beyond those guaranteed by or contrary to the United
>"I would suggest that the message to the world from today's sentencing is
>that our courts have not abandoned our commitment to the ideals that set our
>nation apart. We can deal with the threats to our national security without
>denying the accused fundamental constitutional protections.
>"Despite the fact that Mr. Ressam is not an American citizen and despite the
>fact that he entered this country intent upon killing American citizens, he
>received an effective, vigorous defense, and the opportunity to have his
>guilt or innocence determined by a jury of 12 ordinary citizens.
>"Most importantly, all of this occurred in the sunlight of a public trial.
>There were no secret proceedings, no indefinite detention, no denial of
>"The tragedy of September 11th shook our sense of security and made us
>realize that we, too, are vulnerable to acts of terrorism.
>"Unfortunately, some believe that this threat renders our Constitution
>obsolete. This is a Constitution for which men and women have died and
>continue to die and which has made us a model among nations. If that view
>is allowed to prevail, the terrorists will have won.
>"It is my sworn duty, and as long as there is breath in my body I'll perform
>it, to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.
>We will be in recess."
>Collection Services Manager
>Fairbanks North Star Borough Public Library
>1215 Cowles St.
>Fairbanks, AK 99701
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Tony Greiner/Mary Grant greints at spiritone.com
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