Hugh Hewitt

Outrage is growing at the intersection of ideology and incompetence that is the jury's collapse in the trial of Ahmed Ghailani, declared acquitted in the murders of 224 innocents, including a dozen Americans.

The outrage is growing as Americans learn more and more about how utterly avoidable this outrageous miscarriage of justice was. John Podhoretz's and Jennifer Rubin's criticisms are among the most pointed and both employ the damning word "debacle" in the title, and Powerline's Scott Johnson and John Hinderaker weigh in with "The Failure Option." Eric Holder who repeatedly declared his confidence in this process should resign and the president should apologize to the nation and especially to the families of the victims whose killed now has been declared not guilty

An email from an individual very experienced in federal criminal proceedings comments:

This smells like a compromise verdict to me. On Monday you had the report that a juror asked to be excused, claiming she was the lone holdout and she feared continuing verbal assaults on her by the other jurors for refusing to agree with them.

I suspect the 11 jurors wanted to convict on all counts, and this one juror refused.

In order to reach a verdict, the 11 jurors agreed to join her in acquitting him on all counts but one, in exchange for her agreeing to convict him on the one count -- which sounds the least serious based on its description in the indictment.

But, the potential sentence for that count is a minimum of 20 years and a maximum of life. Its up to the district judge to determine how much time he will give him, and the judge can consider all the evidence at trial, including the evidence on the acquitted counts.

To take those counts into consideration in determining what sentence to impose, the judge is only required to find by a preponderance of evidence that the defendant was involved in the criminal conduct for which he was acquitted. He's not being punished for the acquitted conduct, rather, that conduct is to inform the judge about the nature of the defendant's character.

I expect the judge will give him life when all is said and done.


Hugh Hewitt

Hugh Hewitt is host of a nationally syndicated radio talk show. Hugh Hewitt's new book is The War On The West.