"Doogie Howser of Terrorism Cases" Defendant Gets 15 Years Less Than Government Asks For

I've written a lot about the "Doogie Howser of terrorism cases", the Albany, New York sting prosecution of pizza owner Yassin Aref on charges of providing material support to terrorists, because Terry Kindlon, an excellent criminal defense attorney and frequent commenter at TalkLeft, represented him. Terry also filed the first motion in the country in Aref's case challenging the NSA warrantless wiretapping program. (U.S. News Article here in which Terry credits TalkLeft for giving him the idea for the challenge.)

The case is known as the Doogie Howser of Terrorism cases because the Government's terrorism expert has been compared to Doogie.

Aref was convicted at trial and the sentencing range was 30 years to life in prison. The Government asked for 30 years. At sentencing Thursday, the Court sentenced Aref to 15 years.

"Obviously 11-years is a significant sentence, but 11-years is a whole lot better than 30-years, or even life," says Terry Kindlon, Yassin Aref's attorney.

11 years is no walk in the park, yet but for Terry's exceptional advocacy skills, I'm sure it would have been a lot worse. Terry was able to establish to the Judge's satisfaction, that his client wasn't motivated by wanting to help terrorists.

Judge Thomas McAvoy told Hossain, "you submitted to crimes out of greed, not a desire to support terrorism."

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    A question (none / 0) (#1)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Mar 09, 2007 at 07:47:31 AM EST
    From the link:

    Mohammed M. Hossain, 51, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Bangladesh who arrived in the United States more than 20 years ago aboard a cargo ship, was found guilty on all 27 counts he faced, including conspiracy to support terrorism.

    And even Judge Thomas McAvoy told Hossain, "you submitted to crimes out of greed, not a desire to support terrorism."

    Given that a jury convicted him, is it typical for a Judge to state the jury was wrong?

    And doesn't that comment indicate why he received the greatly reduced sentence?

    not necessarily (none / 0) (#2)
    by Deconstructionist on Fri Mar 09, 2007 at 08:43:36 AM EST
     Knowledge and intent are different than motive.

      I can knowingly and intentionally do something i know will support whatever but MY MOTIVE might be merely to make money. I think a lot of illegal arms dealers, for example, would fall into that category. i could care less whether my "customers" succeed or even perhaps hope they fail but still just want the money.

      Does that make it "better?" That's certainly a matter of some question.



    My question had to do (none / 0) (#5)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Mar 10, 2007 at 08:10:11 AM EST
    with the Judge saying one thing, while the guilty verdict was something else.


    was found guilty on all 27 counts he faced, including conspiracy to support terrorism.


    Judge Thomas McAvoy told Hossain, "you submitted to crimes out of greed, not a desire to support terrorism."

    That looks like the Judge is making an excuse for their actions, and for his sentence.


    No (none / 0) (#6)
    by Deconstructionist on Sat Mar 10, 2007 at 08:20:49 AM EST
      Juries do not make findings as to motive. The jury found that he knowingly and intentionally did the acts charged. The judge offered his opinion as to the motive for doing the acts.

      Clearly, it does sound as if the judge's opinion as to motive influenced the sentence imposed. I have no problem with finding the judge's opinion that the motive was a mitigating factor questionable. I'm sure a lot of people would disagree with him.

      In fact, some people might even think doing such things out of greed is worse than doing them out of, even a misguided, sense of political purpose.

      I'll assume the judge felt that the greed motive meant future offenses are less likely because someone who doies things just for money is more likely to be deterred by a 15 year sentence than someon who does it out of devotion to a cause.



    "Doogies" at Guantanamo? (none / 0) (#3)
    by profmarcus on Fri Mar 09, 2007 at 08:48:16 AM EST
    unfortunately, nobody's going to be able to tell how many "doogies" will be representing our dedicated-to-preserving-detainee-rights-and-our-valued-system of-justice at these proceedings...
    A group of 14 top terrorist suspects face their first hearings Friday before US panels with reporters barred from proceedings shrouded in as much secrecy as their years of imprisonment.

    The 14 detainees -- described as "high-value" suspects -- were transferred to the prison at the remote US Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in September after spending years held in secret CIA prisons.

    The suspects will go before "combatant status review" panels of three military officers who will decide whether they should continue to be held as "enemy combatants" at Guantanamo. But no defense lawyers or reporters will be present.

    The Pentagon has closed the proceedings to the media for the first time since the panels started in 2005, so the only account of the hearings will come from the US military. Lawyers for the suspects also have been shut out.

    And, yes, I DO take it personally