Saturday, October 07, 2006

Righteous justice - a life sentence that means life

Remember Richard Reid? The guy who got on a plane with a bomb built into his shoe and tried to light it? Did you know his trial is over? Did you know he was sentenced? Did you see/hear any of the Judge's comments on British TV or Radio? Didn't think so.

Everyone should hear the justice dispensed by Judge William Young in the US District Court. Prior to sentencing, the Judge asked the defendant if he had anything to say. After admitting his guilt to the court for the record, Reid also asserted his "allegiance to Osama bin Laden, to Islam, and to the religion of Allah," defiantly stating, "I think I will not apologise for my actions," and told the court "I am at war with your country."

Judge Young then delivered the statement quoted below:

'Mr. Richard C. Reid, hearken now to the sentence the Court imposes upon you. On counts 1, 5 and 6 the Court sentences you to life in prison in the custody of the United States Attorney General. On counts 2, 3, 4 and 7, the Court sentences you to 20 years in prison on each count, the sentence on each count to run consecutively. (That's 80 years.) On count 8 the Court sentences you to the mandatory 30 years again, to be served consecutively to the 80 years just imposed. The Court imposes upon you for each of the eight counts a fine of $250,000 that's an aggregate fine of $2 million. The Court accepts the government's recommendation with respect to restitution and orders restitution in the amount of $298.17 to Andre Bousquet and $5,784 to American Airlines. The Court imposes upon you an $800 special assessment. The Court imposes upon you five years supervised release simply because the law requires it. But the life sentences are real life sentences so I need go no further.

'This is the sentence that is provided for by our statutes. It is a fair and just sentence. It is a righteous sentence. Now, let me explain this to you. We are not afraid of you or any of your terrorist co-conspirators, Mr. Reid. We are Americans. We have been through the fire before. There is too much war talk here and I say that to everyone with the utmost respect. Here in this court, we deal with individuals as individuals and care for individuals as individuals. As human beings, we reach out for justice. You are not an enemy combatant. You are a terrorist. You are not a soldier in any war. You are a terrorist. To give you that reference, to call you a soldier, gives you far too much stature. Whether the officers of government do it or your attorney does it, or if you think you are a soldier. You are not----- you are a terrorist. And we do not negotiate with terrorists. We do not meet with terrorists. We do not sign documents with terrorists. We hunt them down one by one and bring them to justice. So war talk is way out of line in this court. You are a big fellow. But you are not that big. You're no warrior. I've known warriors. You are a terrorist. A species of criminal that is guilty of multiple attempted murders. In a very real sense, State Trooper Santiago had it right when you first were taken off that plane and into custody and you wondered where the press and the TV crews were, and he said: "You're no big deal." You are no big deal.

'What your able counsel and what the equally able United States attorneys have grappled with and what I have as honestly as I know how tried to grapple with, is why you did something so horrific. What was it that led you here to this courtroom today? I have listened respectfully to what you have to say. And I ask you to search your heart and ask yourself what sort of unfathomable hate led you to do what you are guilty and admit you are guilty of doing? And, I have an answer for you. It may not satisfy you, but as I search this entire record, it comes as close to understanding as I know. It seems to me you hate the one thing that to us is most precious. You hate our freedom. Our individual freedom. Our individual freedom to live as we choose, to come and go as we choose, to believe or not believe as we individually choose. Here, in this society, the very wind carries freedom. It carries it everywhere from sea to shining sea. It is because we prize individual freedom so much that you are here in this beautiful courtroom. So that everyone can see, truly see, that justice is administered fairly, individually, and discretely.

'It is for freedom's sake that your lawyers are striving so vigorously on your behalf, have filed appeals, will go on in their representation of you before other judges. We Americans are all about freedom. Because we all know that the way we treat you, Mr. Reid, is the measure of our own liberties. Make no mistake though. It is yet true that we will bear any burden; pay any price, to preserve our freedoms. Look around this courtroom. Mark it well. The world is not going to long remember what you or I say here. The day after tomorrow, it will be forgotten, but this, however, will long endure. Here in this courtroom and courtrooms all across America, the American people will gather to see that justice, individual justice, justice, not war, individual justice is in fact being done. The very President of the United States through his officers will have to come into courtrooms and lay out evidence on which specific matters can be judged and juries of citizens will gather to sit and judge that evidence democratically, to mould and shape and refine our sense of justice.

'See that flag, Mr. Reid? That's the flag of the United States of America . That flag will fly there long after this is all forgotten. That flag stands for freedom. And it always will. Mr. Custody Officer. Stand him down.’

Cranmer asserts that this is righteous justice. It sets an example for the British system where life means, on average, 8 years. Thank God the shoe-bomber was not captured and sentenced in the UK. He would probably be out in 5 years, able to sue HM Government for 'racism', and acquire the status of a martyr for Islam.


Anonymous MTK said...

A fine speech.

A tiny typological quibble - did he really mean "bare" any burden? If so, is his poiunt related to the observations of our own Mr Straw in recent days?

7 October 2006 at 15:32  
Anonymous Colin said...

Wow, a remarkable document. Thank you Cranmer for bringing it to our attention.

7 October 2006 at 15:40  
Blogger Croydonian said...

I did enjoy that. Dates from 2003 by the look of things. I think Reid should count himself lucky he was on trial in Massachusetts.

7 October 2006 at 18:02  
Blogger istanbultory said...

While Massachusetts is one of the 12 US states without the Death Penalty, I think Richard Reid was tried under Federal anti-terrorism law.

Reid is presently imprisoned at the United States Penitentiary Administrative Maximum Facility (ADX) in Florence, Colorado.It is apparently known as the "Alcatraz of the Rockies". Reid is in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day. That may not be as much of a burden as it seems given that 22% of the other inmates at Florence have killed fellow prisoners in other prison facilities.

7 October 2006 at 18:50  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Mtk,

His Grace doubts very much that His Honour meant 'bare' any burden (now corrected). The speech was cut and paste verbatim, and the error doubtless made by some illiterate American (singular; not to imply that all Americans are illiterate).

Mr Croydonian,

It is indeed 2003. But His Grace has heard absolutely nothing of this fine speech in any of the UK media.

7 October 2006 at 19:57  
Anonymous Colin said...

Richard Reid looks somewhat mentally retarded to me. His stupid behavior in the airplane supports this hypothesis.

Is anything known about his grades in school or has his IQ been tested during the trial?

7 October 2006 at 20:00  
Anonymous religion of pieces said...

7 October 2006 at 20:25  
Anonymous Colin said...

Since Islamists adore Sharia instead of liberal Western law, the question arises why are they not punished according to their preferred law by stoning?

After all, all cultures are equal, aren't they?

To get an idea, what might become a favorite TV show in GB after the introduction of Sharia law, here a video showing stoning from the website Apostates of Islam.

7 October 2006 at 20:43  
Anonymous Colin said...


You might recall that we had an interesting discussion on another thread about Turkey's EU membership, the Pope and Mrs. Merkel's claim to oppose it.

She just visited Turkey and offered to help according to reports in the German media.

In conclusion, since there isn't any influential politician left in Germany opposing the making of "Turkermania" (United population of Turkey & Germania) as well as in the EU opposing Turkey's EU accession, the Islamization of the EU has been decided by our leaders despite the opposition of the European people.

What are the media reporting in Turkey?

7 October 2006 at 21:35  
Blogger Croydonian said...

Your Grace, I don't doubt it. I hadn't read it either.

Meanwhile I can find nothing on Reid's academic track record.

As a foot note, Florence County has *ten* prisons including Florence ADX, and "More than half the jobs in the county are related in some way to the corrections industry". The prison has quite the selection of grotesques, including the Unabomber, sundry WTC '93 bombers, mobsters and a bit player from the Oklahoma City bombing.

8 October 2006 at 00:03  
Anonymous old red socks said...

Your Grace,

I am pretty sure that the Judge's comments were published not so very long ago by the estimable Mr. Iain Dale. I have certainly seen them, and that would have been the likeliest place.

8 October 2006 at 00:39  
Blogger Fruning Graplecard said...

Reid was a failed human, a nobody who followed in the footsteps of his father, another nobody, who was in and out of jail during his early life. It is absurd to focus the combined ire of the American people on this never-was individual. It is like hanging a monkey for spying. Granted, he should never be let out, but not because he is evil, but because he is clearly mad.

The true evil comes from those who picked him out and groomed him. They did all this in the cold recognition of the consequences, knowing that many would die. Reid, a pathetic half-wit by all accounts, succumbed to intensive brainwashing and pressure. His greatest sin was the sin of the zeitgeist, which is the need to be a celebrity, to make one's mark in the arena that matters - Television. His comments when escorted off the plane were "will the press and TV cameras be there?"

These bombers crave meaning in a meaningless world. They know that their lives are of no consequence and they believe that the here and now has no significance. It is nihilsim with a twist - some far off promise of paradise. It is this that is at the core of terrorism and it is the essence of evil. Paradise is one thing I can promise them it wont be.

8 October 2006 at 01:24  
Blogger istanbultory said...

Religion of pieces,

You are right about the fear of ridicule. For the last 2 or 3 days, the Media and politicians throughout the Islamic world have been busy condemning and whipping up a frenzy about the following story from Denmark. The story centres around claims that members of the (far-right) Danish People’ Party, DF, staged a drawing contest to draw humiliating pictures of the prophet Mohammed during a summer camp of the DF’s youth organization in the island of Fyn on Aug. 5 2006….
In an interview with The Washington Post published on tuesday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that in the same way people consider anti-Semitism a crime against humanity, Islamophobia was also such a crime. I expect the European left will collectively submit to such a suggestion and we could see anti-ıslamophobia laws cropping up in the next few years….


Merkel’s visit was negatively perceived in Turkey. To her credit, the German Chancellor, urged Turkey to lift its boycott of Cyprus and repeated her preference for a "privileged partnership" rather than full EU membership for Turkey. If only Edmund Stoiber, the state premier of Bavaria and Jürgen Rüttgers, state premier of North Rhine- Westphalia were chancellor and foreign minister respectively.....

8 October 2006 at 08:10  
Anonymous Colin said...


Thanks for the news from Turkey.

Erdogan said that in the same way people consider anti-Semitism a crime against humanity, Islamophobia was also such a crime.

The difference is that anti-Semitism has a track record of killing Jews while Islamophobia is the fear of getting killed by Islamists.

Islamophobia is based on historic facts whereas anti-Semitism is based on phantasy.

Fears (such as islamophobia resulting from the observation of killings) is a sane reaction with the purpose to save one's life. On the other hand, fear of an unproven world-wide conspiracy (such as anti-semitism) is an insane paranoid delusion.

Islamophobia can save your life, anti-semitism does not.

8 October 2006 at 16:56  
Anonymous Colin said...


"If only Edmund Stoiber, the state premier of Bavaria .. were chancellor"

That reminds me that he did not win the election when he was a candidate because of Turkish votes. He lost by a very narrow margin of about 6.000 votes if I recall correctly.

8 October 2006 at 19:10  
Anonymous vikki said...

I agree with old red socks

9 October 2006 at 10:36  
Anonymous Bill said...

It was reported on the BBC too in 2003.

12 October 2006 at 13:25  

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