One Hand Clapping

Norm Pattis: Defense Attorneys Overlooked In Judge Selection Process

, The Connecticut Law Tribune


Word that U.S. District Judge Janet Arterton will soon take senior status makes this a good time to ask Senators Richard Blumenthal and Christopher Murphy why it is that no criminal defense lawyer ever makes the cut for nomination to the federal bench. It's been so long since a defender was nominated that the failure cannot be explained away as insignificant.

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  • BillBoy Baggins

    You raise a good question, but the object of it is a poor choice. Adegbile did a lot more than just prepare a brief. From: The Adegbile nomination: Rejecting race-baiting
    By Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (PA) March 11, 2014 6:39 am
    "The unvarnished truth for Debo Adegbile was that he had engaged in a blatant case of race-baiting. And that was too much for even seven Senate Democrats . . .

    Adegbile supervised an NAACP legal team that argued that the 1981 murder conviction of Philadelphia cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, the former Black Panther, was tainted by racism.

    Now, it‘s one thing to represent a client to the best of your legal ability. And we would expect no less. But it‘s quite another to recklessly fan the flames of racism where none exists. Mr. Abu-Jamal is neither the hero nor political prisoner he was painted as and he certainly is no victim. He is a ruthless and unrepentant murderer."

    From Should a cop killer‘s advocate be appointed to the DOJ?
    By Washington Times (DC) February 17, 2014 6:55 am

    "Mr. Toomey said Mr. Adegbile and his staff at the Legal Defense Fund "spread misinformation" about Abu-Jamal‘s trial and "blocked justice for Danny Faulkner and Danny Faulkner‘s family."

    "These LDF lawyers promoted the myth that Mumia Abu-Jamal was somehow a heroic political prisoner, that he was framed," Mr. Toomey said. "In fact he was a coward and an unrepentant murderer. I do not believe that Mr. Adegbile‘s nomination is consistent with the goal of promoting truth and justice in America."

    Mr. Adegbile told the committee that his work on Abu-Jamal‘s behalf "was about the legal process."

    Abu-Jamal, born Wesley Cook, is a former member of the Black Panthers. From his prison cell, his rise as an international cause celebre among liberals sometimes obscures the facts of Officer Faulkner‘s murder, which are not in dispute.

    In the early morning hours of Dec. 9, 1981, the officer pulled over a car in Center City Philadelphia. The driver, who was Abu- Jamal‘s brother, resisted arrest. Abu-Jamal, who happened to be nearby on the street, approached Officer Faulkner and shot him in the back.

    The officer fired a shot and wounded Abu-Jamal, but not seriously. Abu-Jamal then stood over the fallen officer and shot him several more times, including once in the face, killing him. The policeman was 25.

    Police quickly apprehended Abu-Jamal at the scene. A jury convicted him of first-degree murder and sentenced him to death.

    Appeals dragged on for decades.

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