The 'Johnnie Cochran of the Insurgency'

The New York Times calls Iraqi criminal defense lawyer Fuaad Ahmed al-Jawary, "the Johnnie Cochran of the Insurgency." The article portrays the Iraqi criminal justice system, a type of french inquisitorial process with roots in the 3,800 year old Hammurabi code, and one of the lawyers working within it.

It might be hard to imagine that in a place where bombs keep blowing up and raw sewage splashes in the streets there would be a functioning legal system, complete with subpoenas, autopsies, objections, search warrants, evidence reports and public defenders. But there is, and American officials are increasingly turning to the Iraqi courts to prosecute suspects still being held in Abu Ghraib and other prisons.

Hundreds of detainees are being shuffled from American custody into one of the three tiers of the Iraqi criminal justice system: a special tribunal for Saddam Hussein and high-ranking Baath Party members; a new national criminal court for terrorism suspects; and local courts for run-of-the-mill crimes. American officials said that right now, of about 2,300 inmates at Abu Ghraib, 580 had been scheduled for prosecution in Iraqi courts.

Mr. Jawary is the current star of the legal system. Two of his mottos: "Every man is born innocent" and "I try to take cases only where there is some doubt." The article describes his typcial day and a few of his "tricks." It's a very interesting protrait, one that makes us glad we have court in Denver tomorrow, not Iraq.

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