quasi in rem

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

The LegalTimes.com (registration required) reports in "After 'The Wall': DOJ's New Reach in Terror Cases on the federal prosecution of Sami Omar Al-Hussayen. Sami is a Saudi graduate student who is currently on trial in an Idaho federal court for allegedly supporting terror groups by maintaining a number of radical Islamic Web sites.

While Sami is in a world of hurt over this prosecution, his attorney is facing his own problems. SAMI is being prosecuted on evidence obtained through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and while the Patriot Act tore down the wall that prevented such information from being shared in between governemt agencies, that wall still exists for defense counsel.

The article notes, "For lawyers such as those representing Al-Hussayen, taking on a FISA case can seem like battling an unseen enemy. Material gathered through the act is classified and, unlike in a standard criminal proceeding, there are few established rules that dictate how much of that evidence must be disclosed to the defense."

That is a rough road to hoe for a defense attorney. Depending on the panel of the Ninth Circuit who will hear the multiple and various appelas in this case, and it is not entirely clear they will even get to trial, FISA may face some substantive challenges in the coming months.


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