Well, this is not good:
Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev won’t be indicted within the 30-day period prescribed under the Federal Speedy Trial Act but prosecutors said Friday they would ask for more time.
Sunday marks 30 days since Tsarnaev was arrested following the April 15 twin bombing that killed three people and injured more than 260.
U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz’s office did not specify the exception under which they would seek more time but those available to prosecutors include delays related to the defendant’s physical capacity.
Gee, I wonder why the indictment is taking longer than a month to put together… oh, right: they’re still trying to figure out whether the Boston Marathon bombing was a private act of war, or whether it was part of a larger terrorist campaign. Which is not the Speedy Trial Act’s fault: back in 1974 they had a rather more hard-nosed attitude towards international** terrorists and civilian courts. Ah, sometimes I almost miss the cheerfully ruthless Manichean dynamic of the Cold War (the constant threat of nuclear annihilation, not so much).
Needless to say, they’re not going to throw out Tsarnaev’s case simply because it’s a bad fit for the civilian criminal justice system (unless, of course, Barack Obama does want to flip the Massachusetts Congressional representation from Blue to Red in one fell swoop). But the problem here is that forcing this particular square peg through this particular round hole may damage the hole for future pegs, metaphorically speaking. Do we really want terrorism cases to have a thirty day window from capture to indictment? I mean, we still don’t really publicly know if the bombers were part of an organized terror campaign, with a timeline. And possibly now we won’t know. I’m not going to lie, and say that I don’t see any problem with this. Then again, I was never very big on the idea of treating terrorism as a crime in the first place.
Uh oh. Prosecutors say they won’t be able to indict Tsarnaev w/in the 30-day “Speedy Trial” limit. goo.gl/OmpWV
— Gabriel Malor (@gabrielmalor) May 20, 2013
Moe Lane (crosspost)
[*Crud. My bad.]
**As near as I can tell, the tacit rule for domestic terrorists seems to have been If they can survive getting arrested by the cops, then they can have their trial, moderately long jail sentence, and eventual tenured status at a major American university. Admittedly, the cops were often quite creative when it came to that ‘if.’