ARTICLE: ETHICAL ISSUES IN DEFENDING A TERRORISM CASE: HOW SECRECY AND SECURITY IMPAIR THE DEFENSE OF A TERRORISM CASE Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 2003 Cardozo Public Law, Policy & Ethics Journal 
Cardozo Public Law, Policy & Ethics Journal

ARTICLE: ETHICAL ISSUES IN DEFENDING A TERRORISM CASE: HOW SECRECY AND SECURITY IMPAIR THE DEFENSE OF A TERRORISM CASE

December, 2003

Cardozo Public Law, Policy & Ethics Journal

2 Cardozo Pub. L. Pol'y & Ethics J. 81

Author

Joshua L. Dratel*

Excerpt



My involvement as co-counsel for one of the defendants in the Embassy Bombings case 1 was an atypical experience at the time. The case concerned an alleged Al Qaeda conspiracy to kill United States nationals, and included the August 7, 1998, bombings of the United States embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The defendants were indicted in 1998 and tried in the first half of 2001 in the Southern District of New York. However, since September 11, 2001, it has become all too typical; prosecutions characterized as "terrorism-related" have become far more common in federal courts nationwide. Thus, the elements and aspects of terrorism-related prosecutions discussed in this article no longer constitute a phenomenon, but are repeated in cases throughout the federal system.

The criminal defense lawyer assumes a unique role in even the ordinary case; he is the only person in the justice system whose sole obligation and loyalty is to the defendant. While objectivity is valuable, and certainly advisable, in the preparation and analysis of any case, the criminal defense lawyer's duty is purely subjective: advancing the best interests of the client. This duty has the capacity to create tension in any case in which the crime charged is nefarious and the defendant unsympathetic. When the defendant is an accused terrorist, however, those conflicts that the criminal defense lawyer's role engenders are multiplied exponentially and become substantially more difficult to navigate.

In cases involving terrorism, the stakes are, of course, potentially far more ...
 
 
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