At least two 9/11 plotters may plead insanity

If they are found to be incompetent to stand trial, what then? Does the government put them in a mental institution?

Jess Bravin of the Wall Street Journal has the details:

When five defendants are brought before a New York federal judge to face charges for the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the first question may be whether some of them are competent to stand trial at all. Military lawyers for Ramzi Binalshibh, an accused organizer of the 9/11 plot, and Mustafa al-Hawsawi, the conspiracy's alleged paymaster, say their clients have mental disorders that make them unfit for trial, likely caused or exacerbated by years of harsh confinement in Central Intelligence Agency custody.

The issue already has arisen in military-commission proceedings at the military's detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. According to an August ruling by a military judge, prosecutors have made an "apparent concession" that Mr. Binalshibh "suffers from a delusional disorder-persecutory type" disorder. Mr. Binalshibh has been prescribed "a variety of psychotropic medications used to treat schizophrenia and/or bipolar disorder, including Haldol, Abilify, risperidone and Ativan," according to commission records.

In October 2008, a military medical board reported Mr. Binalshibh may suffer from "severe mental disease" that could "impair his ability to conduct or cooperate intelligently in his defense."
A military attorney for Mr. Hawsawi, Lt. Cmdr. Gretchen Sosbee, said the military judge ordered a mental evaluation of her client, but its results haven't yet been entered into the record.

The dilemma for the prosecution is do they separate the two terrorists claiming incompetence or try all 5, establishing each individual's mental state? Either way, it's just more headaches for the prosecution.

The Justice Department is keeping mum about any sanity defense that might be used but it is presumed that prosecutors have independent evidence of the competency of the terrorists, else they would not have transferred the case to civilian courts.

The rate these guys are going, would the trial take 2 years or more to get started. If so, that would certainly make it an issue during election year.

 




If they are found to be incompetent to stand trial, what then? Does the government put them in a mental institution?

Jess Bravin of the Wall Street Journal has the details:

When five defendants are brought before a New York federal judge to face charges for the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the first question may be whether some of them are competent to stand trial at all. Military lawyers for Ramzi Binalshibh, an accused organizer of the 9/11 plot, and Mustafa al-Hawsawi, the conspiracy's alleged paymaster, say their clients have mental disorders that make them unfit for trial, likely caused or exacerbated by years of harsh confinement in Central Intelligence Agency custody.

The issue already has arisen in military-commission proceedings at the military's detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. According to an August ruling by a military judge, prosecutors have made an "apparent concession" that Mr. Binalshibh "suffers from a delusional disorder-persecutory type" disorder. Mr. Binalshibh has been prescribed "a variety of psychotropic medications used to treat schizophrenia and/or bipolar disorder, including Haldol, Abilify, risperidone and Ativan," according to commission records.

In October 2008, a military medical board reported Mr. Binalshibh may suffer from "severe mental disease" that could "impair his ability to conduct or cooperate intelligently in his defense."

A military attorney for Mr. Hawsawi, Lt. Cmdr. Gretchen Sosbee, said the military judge ordered a mental evaluation of her client, but its results haven't yet been entered into the record.

The dilemma for the prosecution is do they separate the two terrorists claiming incompetence or try all 5, establishing each individual's mental state? Either way, it's just more headaches for the prosecution.

The Justice Department is keeping mum about any sanity defense that might be used but it is presumed that prosecutors have independent evidence of the competency of the terrorists, else they would not have transferred the case to civilian courts.

The rate these guys are going, would the trial take 2 years or more to get started. If so, that would certainly make it an issue during election year.