November 27, 2013 1:06:16 PM by
On November 13th the United States Court of Appeals in Boston affirmed the conviction of young Sudbury pharmacology student Tarek Mehanna. Mehanna was convicted on charges of rendering “material support” to terrorism – a dangerously broad and vague provision of the Patriot Act – though nothing Mehanna did came close to posing actual danger. In our op-ed for the Boston Globe, my paralegal Juliana DeVries and I argue that the tragic Mehanna verdict was made possible by the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Humanitarian Law Project v. Holder. The Humanitarian Law Project decision opened the door for federal prosecutors to criminalize a wide range of previously protected expressive activities, such as those in which Mehanna engaged.
You can read our op-ed at: http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2013/11/27/ruling-terrorism-that-throttles-civil-liberties/LXmml8hiFCkugBmvmYEt5J/story.html
May 14, 2013 9:00:27 AM by
Americans conceive of our struggle against terrorism as an us-versus-them battle between our civilization and those who would seek to destroy it. But the recent controversy over the burial of Tamerlan Tsarnaev shows that our civilization can also fall victim to our own sometimes brutish impulses.
My latest column for Forbes.com, co-authored with my research assistant Zachary Bloom, addresses the ethical obligations that we as a civilized society must remember to obey in the wake of terrorist attacks. You can find it on my “Injustice Department” blog.
May 13, 2013 4:32:40 PM by
Civil libertarians are used to sounding the alarm about pervasive government surveillance in the era of cellphones, drones and the Internet. But, as alleged Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s classmate Robel Phillipos is now discovering, an equal threat to liberty is the FBI policy forbidding recording of interviews.
My latest column, which ran in this Saturday’s (May 11th) Boston Globe, explains the danger faced by witnesses and defendants who talk to the FBI. You can find it on the Globe’s website.
May 03, 2013 12:04:54 PM by
Former Probation Department Commissioner John O’Brien was recently federally indicted for bribery and racketeering, after a series of Boston Globe stories and an official investigation showed that the probation department under O’Brien was giving preferential treatment to job candidates recommended by legislators and some judges in exchange for favorable treatment by the legislature in budgetary decisions. In my most recent column for Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, coauthored with my friend and former law partner, Judge Nancy Gertner, we argue that, though the Probation Department’s hiring practices were not crimes under the present federal criminal code. It would be hard to find a government official who would not be subject to prosecution under such a large and nebulous definition of “corruption” and “fraudulent pretenses” as the U.S. Attorney describes in the O’Brien indictment.
The column after the jump...
April 22, 2013 11:35:06 AM by
Public confidence in the justice system suffered a major blow when the late-1990s trial of Stephen Flemmi revealed the federal government’s cozy relationship with Whitey Bulger and the Winter Hill gang. Federal Judge Denise Casper, the new judge recently assigned to Bulger’s trial, now has a golden opportunity to help restore that confidence. Casper’s upcoming first major ruling will be pivotal. She has to decide whether to reconsider a decision by her predecessor, Judge Richard Stearns, that Bulger and his lawyers will not be allowed to present Bulger’s asserted immunity defense to the jury unless they first convince the judge that the federal government actually granted Bulger effective immunity. In my most recent column for Mass Lawyers Weekly, I argue that Casper must take a second at this ruling.
The column after the jump...