[Pnews] Devastating pre-trial rulings against Rasmieh Odeh in naturalization prosecution

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue Oct 28 11:21:23 EDT 2014

    Devastating pre-trial rulings against Rasmieh Odeh in naturalization

Posted by William A. Jacobson 
<http://legalinsurrection.com/author/bill/> Monday, October 27, 2014 at 

Court shuts down defense attempt to contest her Israeli bombing 
conviction in prosecution for making false statements on naturalization 

The trial of Rasmieh Odeh, an American citizen of Palestinian descent 
convicted in Israel decades ago of involvement in a terrorist group (the 
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) that bombed a supermarket 
in the late 1960s, starts November 4.

Odeh was convicted in Israel, but now claims she was tortured into 

The U.S. government is prosecuting Odeh for failing to disclose the 
conviction when she applied for naturalization.

Several key rulings came down in Court this afternoon (full embeds to be 
added at bottom of post:

 1. In what is possibly the most devastating ruling against the defense,
    the Court granted the government's motion to reconsider
    a prior ruling on what types of intent the government needed to
    prove.  The court had ruled that the government needed to show that
    Odeh made a false statement for the purpose of obtaining
    citizenship.  The judge corrected that ruling, finding that "in
    order to establish the intent element of the instant offense, the
    Government need only prove Defendant made a false statement knowing
    it to be false."  The prior ruling had been viewed as damaging to
    the prosecution, since it is hard to prove why someone made a false
 2. In light of the ruling on the type of intent the government needed
    to prove, the Court rejected Odeh's request to present evidence that
    at the time she filled out the naturalization application, she
    suffered from PTSD.  "In light of the Court's decision concerning
    the mens rea required for proving a violation of § 1425, the Court
    must deny Defendant's Motion for Offer of Proof, which seeks to
    admit the testimony of a clinical psychologist concerning her
    conclusions with respect to Defendant's defense related to
    post-traumatic stress disorder. It is well settled that this type
    of defense is inadmissible to negate the mens rea of a general
    intent crime, thus the expert's testimony is irrelevant to the
    issues herein and inadmissible at trial."
 3. The Court rejected Odeh's request for a jury questionnaire
      "Defendant has failed to come forward with any evidence, nor even
    explain why this Court's usual practice of conducting voir dire is
    insufficient to uncover juror biases or other reasons precluding
    suitability to serve on Defendant's jury. This failure, coupled with
    the lack of extensive pretrial publicity, leads the Court to
    conclude that a jury questionnaire is unwarranted under the
    circumstances present here."
 4. The Court will not allow Odeh to put the merits of her conviction in
    Israel into issue
    in the current case, even though the court viewed as credible her
    claim that she was coerced into confessing. "The Court of course
    agrees that confessions obtained through the use of torture and rape
    are antithetical to the concepts of fairness, due process and basic
    human rights. Moreover, the Court accepts as credible Defendant's
    claims of torture and is not unaffected by the inhumane
    circumstances of her detention in the West Bank. However, the issue
    here is whether Defendant provided false answers on her Visa and
    Naturalization Applications. The validity of Defendant's conviction
    is not an issue for the jury's  determination. As the Court noted
    during the hearing in this matter, it will not be retrying
    Defendant's convictions for membership in an unlawful organization
    and her activities related to the bombings of the Supersol grocery
    store or the British Consulate in Jerusalem in the early part of
    1969." As we previously wrote
    there is evidence other
    than the confession to support the Israeli conviction.
 5. The Court ruled that Israeli records may be used to prove the
    pursuant to a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty. "The Government
    maintains that the documents at issue were produced in accordance
    with the Treaty, do not require further authentication and are
    admissible. The Court agrees."
 6. The Court will allow the government to introduce the specific
    charges of which she was convicted in Israel
    "As such, contrary to Defendant's arguments, the specific crimes for
    which she was convicted in 1969 are directly relevant to the
    materiality element of unlawful procurement of naturalization....
    Lastly, Defendant's contention that the unfair  prejudice resulting
    from the admission of the specifics of her conviction outweighs the
    relevance of her convictions is without merit. Her conviction for
    participating in the bombing of the SuperSol grocery store and the
    building housing the British Consulate are directly related to the
    elements of materiality and procurement. The probative value of this
    evidence is overwhelming. Without this evidence, the Government will
    be unable to establish two elements of the crime of unlawful
    procurement of naturalization."
 7. The Court ruled that the government may not use the words
    "terrorist" or "terrorism"
    as those terms are prejudicial.  That's not much of a victory
    considering the bombing conviction can be admitted in evidence. "The
    Government's suggestion that the terms "terrorist" and "terrorism"
    will not improperly influence the jury because those terms are used
    by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act is without merit.
    These terms are highly prejudicial and create a danger of improperly
    influencing the jury's verdict. The Government will still be able to
    establish the elements of materiality and procurement without using
    these terms. As previously discussed, Mr. Pierce is free to testify
    that Defendant's conviction for bombings render her ineligible to
    immigrate under the Immigration and Nationality Act. As such, if she
    had disclosed her 1969 conviction, she could not establish
    her eligibility for citizenship because she was not lawfully
    admitted as a permanent resident. Based on the foregoing
    considerations, Rule 403 of the Federal Rules of Evidence preclude
    the admission of the terms "terrorist," terrorist group" and
    "terrorist activity" and Defendant's Motion is granted." (In a
    separate footnote to one of the other rulings, the Court noted that
    the defense also could not refer to herself as a freedom fighter.)

Odeh has requested a delay of the trial. As of this writing, there has 
been no ruling on that.

The mainstream media is focusing 
on the bar of the terms "terrorist" and terrorism," but as demonstrated 
above, that ruling is meaningless.

All in all, these rulings are devastating to the defense. The government 
now only needs to introduce evidence of her convictions in Israel and 
her application in which those convictions were not disclosed. The 
defense cannot counter with claims that the convictions were wrongful, 
or that she suffered any form of PTSD as a result of her alleged coercion.

Couple this with protections the Court has put in place to protect 
jurors from influence by pro-Palestinian activists 
and there doesn't seem to be any viable defense.

But that's what they said about O.J. Simpson.

Rasmieh Odeh Case -- Order Granting Govt Motion for Reconsideration and 
Denying Def's Offer of Proof.pdf 

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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