The Democrats claim they want to treat terrorism as a criminal law problem, but when we give them an American citizen convicted of aiding terrorists -- as happened this week -- a Democrat judge gives her a slap on the wrist. Or he was going to give her a wrist slap until someone told him that wrist-slapping was banned under the Geneva Conventions, so he let the wrist off with a warning.
Last year, a New York jury found Lynne Stewart guilty of helping her former client, Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, communicate with his Egyptian-based group of murderous terrorists, appropriately known as "the Islamic Group."
The blind sheik needed to instruct his followers to abandon a truce and resume murdering innocents, but he couldn't get the message through because, by sheer coincidence, he was in prison for conspiring to murder innocents here in America by plotting the first World Trade Center bombing. So Stewart and a "translator" met with her former client in prison and took his messages for transmission to his followers in Egypt.
With the full constitutional protections Democrats want for terrorists in Guantanamo, Stewart was convicted by a New York jury last year.
This week, Judge John Koeltl -- appointed to the bench by President Bill Clinton in 1994 -- spurned the prosecution's request for a 30-year sentence and gave Stewart 28 months for being a terrorist's mule. Now she'll clog up the criminal justice system with endless appeals for the next several years -- using procedures that liberals also want for Guantanamo detainees.
At Stewart's sentencing, the judge noted that the defendant's actions had not resulted in any deaths. I'll have to remember that in case I'm ever on trial for attempted murder. "Hey, your honor, did I mention that the guy lived? Yeah, the darn gun jammed on me. Go figure, huh?"
In rejecting a 30-year sentence in favor of a 28-month sentence, the judge commended Stewart for her "public service, not only to her clients, but to the nation" for representing members of the Black Panthers and the Weather Underground. In a sane world, that would have justified a longer sentence, not a shorter one.
If only Democrats could turn the entire war on terrorism over to the courts, they could release terrorists and terrorist sympathizers with wild abandon -- and Nancy Pelosi or Hillary Clinton would never have to take a position.