Apparently Jews cannot be impartial enough, at least according to Frederick Cohn (yes he is Jewish). Cohn is attorney for Abdel Hameed Shehadeh, who’s accused of lying about trying to join jihadists in Pakistan. Cohn will present a motion today in Brooklyn Federal Court asking the Judge to ban Jews from the Jury.
“Given that there’s going to be inflammatory testimony about Jews and Zionism, I think it would be hard for Jews to cast aside any innate antipathy,” said Cohn, who is Jewish.
“The American Jewish community is heavily aligned with Israel and Zionism. Here is a guy who is a Muslim, who is opposed to those things.”
So is he saying that Jews have a dual loyalty or is he saying they cant be impartial?
The subject of the controversial ban first arose at a recent court hearing.
“Your Honor . . . as you know, I’m not wild about having Jews on the jury in this case,” Cohn told Brooklyn federal Judge Eric Vitaliano in February.
Federal prosecutors William Sarratt and James Loonam reacted with alarm.
“I don’t think Judge [Robert] Levy will be ready to violate the Constitution and exclude people from the jury on the basis of their religious beliefs,” Sarratt told the judge.
Magistrate Judge Levy will begin selecting the jury this week.
The Shehadeh trial is not the first time jurors’ religious views have taken center stage at a court proceeding.
At the initial trial of two black men accused of civil-rights violations stemming from the Crown Heights killing in 1991 of Hasidic scholar Yankel Rosenbaum, Brooklyn federal Judge David Trager tried to balance the religious and racial composition of the jury.
But an appellate court overturned the verdict, saying the approach violated the Constitution.
Cohn conceded that his proposal is a “long shot.” But he argued that rules governing methods of selecting juries don’t allow attorneys to delve deep into the private recesses of a potential juror’s mind to determine if they are biased.
“I don’t know of a gentler way to deal with this, and sometimes you have to wield a meat ax,” Cohn said of the difficulty in ascertaining the deeply held beliefs of a potential jurist.
His client is a US citizen born and raised in New York who is charged with three counts of making false statements in connection with a terrorism offense.
Using this logic, Cohn would argue that African-Americans could not serve on a jury in the trial of a Skin-head, take if far enough a Republican could not serve on the Jury deciding the fate of a Democrat.
That is not what our Justice system is about. We are supposed to be judged by a jury of our peers (twelve people who cannot get out of Jury Duty). They are asked if they can be fair and their answers (under oath) are assumed to be true (and usually are) no matter the race creed or political affiliation. The saddest part of it all is only a Jew would make such a charge against fellow Jews.
UPDATE: A lawyer’s request that Jewish people be excluded from a jury that will hear a case of a suspected terrorist, accused of lying about plans to kill Americans in Afghanistan, was rejected today by a New York City judge.
“The judge denied my application,” Frederick Cohn, the lawyer representing Abdel Hameed Shehadeh, told ABC News.com.
So my Jewish brethren I guess its back to trying to get out of Jury Duty.