A person far wiser in the ways of the legal system would need to instruct me on this, but I do wonder if the ruling of the judge in the Enron case will have any bearing from a precedence perspective on the impending torture trials (it is only a matter of time, really):
HOUSTON, Texas (Reuters) — The judge at the trial of former Enron CEOs Jeffrey Skilling and Ken Lay handed prosecutors a strategic victory Wednesday, saying he would tell jurors that “deliberate ignorance” of fraud at the collapsed energy company was not a justifiable defense.
The Bush team’s defense where the torture regiem is concerned primarily rests on the notion of “a few bad apples.” While any rational person can see that this is crap, it strikes me as a potentially viable defense. After all, if you need to prove that key officials knew about torture in the camps, that is not as easy a thing legally as it might appear at first blush. This ruling, however, bridges the gap between the realm of “criminal negligence” and direct involvement. Or so it at least appears to my eye.
Of course I know that the ways of the legal system are much more complex than just this. For example, the difference in the two cases may also bear on how precedent is weighted in reaching a decision. Or perhaps the torture case is not tried in a District Court, thereby altering the wieght of this precedent. Again, some lawyer who might be passing through would be more than welcome to enlighten me if he feels so inclined. Still, it would be nice to think that the two cases are tied from the “Deliberate Ignorance” perspective, and that justice might still be done without the need of a here-to-fore unrealized “smoking gun” memo.
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