[Pnews] Rasmea Odeh Defense Committee thanks you! - Case Update
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Dec 30 10:44:44 EST 2015
Rasmea Defense Committee thanks you!
Dear Friends and Supporters,
*You’ve done everything we’ve asked for!* You filled the courthouse over
and over again, in Detroit and Cincinnati, at preliminary hearings and
the trial. You made phone calls to the prosecutor Tukel and his boss
McQuade, to the county jail in Michigan, to the confused Arab “civil
rights” organization that gave McQuade an award this year. You wrote
letters of support urging leniency from the judge, and letters to Rasmea
directly. You organized educational events, fundraisers, and protests.
You took on anyone and everyone who challenged your support for Rasmea.
You crowdfunded over $5,000 when we needed to get folks to Cincinnati,
raised over $100,000 all told for defense lawyers and defense
organizing. *Like we said, everything we’ve asked for!*
In addition, Rasmea’s defense team—Michael Deutsch, Jim
Fennerty, Dennis Cunningham, Bill Goodman—and so many other People’s Law
Office and National Lawyers Guild attorneys, legal clerks, assistants,
researchers, etc., have been invaluable in ensuring that Rasmea is home
in Chicago, organizing her Arab Women’s Committee, as work on the case
moves forward. We’re going to need at least another $50,000 in the days
ahead, for the legal and community organizing expenses.
*So we’re again asking for your support, and to **donate
generously to Rasmea’s defense**as we prepare for the next round
of this fight. * <http://www.justice4rasmea.org/donate>
All of you know that she was unjustly convicted last year, and that we
just presented our appeal a couple of months ago. There have been some
intermittent updates on the legal proceedings since then, but as we ask
for your continued support (*because there is much legal and political
work still to be done*), we want to give you the latest summary.
*What the appeals court can decide*
Usually a decision from the appellate court—in this case the 6^th
Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati—comes down one to four months
after the oral arguments, which means that the latest we expect to hear
from the three judges who heard the appeal is mid-February of 2016.
Best case scenario is that they overturn the conviction and the
sentencing; then the case gets sent back to the prosecution to decide
whether it will re-try Rasmea. We are sure that McQuade will
re-try—since this is a high-profile political case that she wouldn’t
want to lose—and then the entire process begins anew, with the original
trial judge, Gershwin Drain, again presiding. But this time, it is
certain that Rasmea’s experience with torture, plus the expert witness
on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), at least, would be allowed
into the courtroom to be heard by a new jury.
Another option for the appellate judges would be—without reversing the
conviction—to simply compel Judge Drain to allow for another evidentiary
hearing with Dr. Mary Fabri, the world-renowned torture expert who
diagnosed Rasmea with chronic PTSD. The purpose of the hearing would be
twofold: to determine if Fabri truly is an expert, and whether her
testimony is relevant. The prosecution, we are sure, will be allowed to
have one of its own psychiatrists assess Rasmea as well. There is no
guarantee that the judge will allow Fabri to testify in front of a jury
after the evidentiary hearing, but we believe it is highly unlikely
that, if compelled to grant this hearing, he will again rule that her
testimony is irrelevant and inadmissible. If he does, we can appeal
again. So this route could also lead to a new trial, and if a new jury
gets to hear the evidence that so far has been suppressed in open court,
it can find her innocent!
Alternatively, there is a tiny chance that the appellate judges uphold
the conviction but disagree with the sentence. If this happens, the
appellate judges send new guidelines back to Drain for re-sentencing,
which will almost certainly be less than the 18 months in prison Rasmea
currently must serve if the conviction is upheld.
And that brings us to the worst-case scenario, that her conviction and
sentencing is upheld, and that she would have to serve 18 months in
prison and then be deported. If this happens without the decision being
unanimous, Rasmea could ask the entirety of the 6th Circuit appellate
court, not just the three panelists who heard the
oral arguments, to review the case. If they refuse or if their decision
is the same, then a last ditch effort would be to file a writ asking the
U.S. Supreme Court to allow her to file an appeal of the 6^th Circuit’s
decision. Unfortunately, these writs are only accepted in about 2% of cases.
If there is no reversal or no evidentiary hearing, then Rasmea would be
compelled to turn herself in, and may have only 48 hours to do so, even
if we are asking the entire 6^th Circuit to review the decision. We will
of course file to continue her bail and stay the sentencing, to attempt
to keep this from happening.
*What is our argument?*
The main argument that Rasmea’s lead attorney, Deutsch, made in
Cincinnati relates to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on a similar,
administrative immigration case. There, the ruling stated that the
government must show that a lie is “willful” (meaning that the lying is
done for a purpose)—which clearly indicates that the Supreme Court
believes that the violation is a “specific intent” one.
Deutsch argued that if this administrative case called it a specific
intent violation, then Rasmea’s criminal case must call it that as well.
And if it’s a specific intent violation / crime, then the “willfulness”
comes into question, and Rasmea’s state of mind at the time of the
alleged crime must be understood. That is, did she “knowingly” and
“willfully” lie? Hence, our justification for the jury to hear the
expert witness and Rasmea’s FULL story
*What is our task?*
*Our responsibility here is to continue organizing.* Our movement is
truly national, even international, and although it may seem like our
political defense work has slowed down a tad since the appeal, it
hasn’t. In Chicago and Minneapolis, the #BlackLivesMatter movement is
surging, and we have been asked to talk about Rasmea’s case at many
actions for #LaquanMcDonald, #RekiaBoyd, Ronald Johnson (#RonnieMan),
#JamarClark, and others by the gracious leaders of Black organizations
like Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (CAARPR),
Black Youth Project 100, We Charge Genocide, Southside Together
Organizing for Power / Fearless Leading by the Youth (STOP / FLY), and
Black Lives Matter.
At Chicago’s People’s Thanksgiving, Rasmea gave a keynote address
<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJKDTFl6YS8&feature=youtu.be> that has
been making the YouTube rounds. The national Bill of Rights Defense
Committee honored Rasmea
with its Patriot Award. In San Jose on December 10^th , at an
International Human Rights Day event, Rasmea’s case was featured along
with the legendary Leonard Peltier’s. Members of the Rasmea Defense
Committee and of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression (CSFR) are
presenting on the case all the time, in all parts of the country.
Rasmea’s battle was even discussed at a rally on the International Day
of Solidarity with the Palestinian People in *Manipur*
a state in the northeast of India!!!* And of course we’re getting blog,
Twitter, Facebook, and other media hits all the time.
*But we can and will do more! *Please continue to visit
www.justice4rasmea.org <http://www.justice4rasmea.org>, organize public
events, pitch her story to the media or write about it yourself, and
*donate to the legal and political defense!*
<http://www.justice4rasmea.org/donate> Just as it’s shouted at every
#BlackLivesMatter protest in the country every day, it’s also true in
the fight for #Justice4Rasmea: “We believe that we will win!”
The Rasmea Defense Committee
<http://justice4rasmea.org/defense-committee/> is led by United States
Palestinian Community Network (USPCN) <http://uspcn.org/>, Committee to
Stop FBI Repression (CSFR) <http://www.stopfbi.net/>, and Coalition to
Protect People’s Rights (CPPR)
December 29, 2015
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415
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