“An embarrassment to the rule of law.” Yes. This kind of shoddy effort by prosecutors not only victimizes people who are possibly innocent — Khader Hamide and Michel Shehadeh — but it victimizes the rest of us if they are guilty. From AP, with thanks to Mackie:
LOS ANGELES (AP) — An immigration judge ordered the federal government Tuesday to halt its 20-year effort to deport two Palestinian men accused of terrorist ties.
Judge Bruce J. Einhorn ruled the government had denied Khader Hamide and Michel Shehadeh, members of the so-called “L.A. Eight,” due process by keeping them in legal limbo for so many years and being unprepared to prosecute the case.
In his 11-page opinion, Einhorn described the proceedings as “a festering wound on the body of respondents and an embarrassment to the rule of law.” He scolded the government for failing to release evidence favorable to the men after he had ordered it.
The two men, five other Palestinians and a Kenyan faced deportation since 1987. They were arrested on suspicion of association with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a radical offshoot of the Palestine Liberation Organization, which has opposed peace negotiations between the PLO and Israel. The U.S. government considers it a terrorist organization.
The eight have denied being members, and immigrant rights groups have called the case politically motivated.
Attorney Marc Van Der Hout, who represents the “L.A. Eight,” said the judge’s order will make it safer for immigrants to express political views.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement “finds the judge’s decision troubling as a matter of fact and law, and the agency is considering its legal options,” according to an agency statement.