Attorney says mask will prevent AWOL soldier from receiving fair trial
By Jeremy Schwartz | Tuesday, May 22, 2012, 01:08 PM
WACO The attorney for Pfc. Naser Abdo, who faces life in prison on nine charges including possession of a weapon of mass destruction, said his client cant get a fair trial while U.S. Marshals guarding him wear protective eyewear and use their feet to maintain control of his chair. Abdo is also wearing a white medical mask that covers much of his face below the eyes.
Its clear the efforts the marshals are making are impacting the trial such that I dont dont think my client can get a fair trial if the jury sees the marshals with all these protective devices, attorney Zachary Boyd said before opening statements began this morning in federal court.
Earlier this month, Abdo was charged with biting his tongue or cheek and spitting blood at guards. In a letter to a local newspaper he claimed to have infected himself with HIV before arriving in Killeen.
U.S. District Judge Walter Smith initially said he had no control over the protective measures, but then said he would ask the marshals office about it. By the end of the morning court session, the marshals had removed their protective eyegear, though Abdos mask remained in place.
|"The chief aim of all government is to preserve the freedom of the citizen. His control over his person, his property, his movements, his business, his desires should be restrained only so far as the public welfare imperatively demands. The world is in more danger of being governed too much than too little.
It is the teaching of all history that liberty can only be preserved in small areas. Local self-government is, therefore, indispensable to liberty. A centralized and distant bureaucracy is the worst of all tyranny.
Taxation can justly be levied for no purpose other than to provide revenue for the support of the government. To tax one person, class or section to provide revenue for the benefit of another is none the less robbery because done under the form of law and called taxation."
John W. Davis, Democratic Presidential Candidate, 1924. Davis was one of the greatest trial and appellate lawyers in US history. He also served as the US Ambassador to the UK.