[freedomtowernight_edited.jpg] 26th Parallel: Cuban Spies Get Retrial

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Cuban Spies Get Retrial

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta overturned the conviction of the five Cuban spies, the "Miami 5" as they are known in Cuba. The reason: community pressure and bias in Miami against the defendants.

Read the court's decision here.

I'd like to quote the last paragraph of the court's release.

"The court is aware that, for many of the same reasons discussed above, the reversal of these convictions will be unpopular and even offensive to many citizens. However, the court is equally mindful that those same citizens cherish and support the freedoms they enjoy in this country that are unavailable to residents of Cuba. One of our most sacred freedoms is the right to be tried fairly in a noncoercive atmosphere. The court is cognizant that its judgment today will be received by those citizens with grave disappointment, but is equally confident of our shared commitment to scrupulously protect our freedoms. The Cuban-American community is a bastion of the traditional values that make America great. Included in those values are the rights of the accused criminal that insure fair trial. Thus, in the final analysis, we trust that any disappointment with our judgment in this case will be tempered and balanced by the recognition that we are a nation of laws in which every defendant, no matter how unpopular, must be treated fairly. Our Constitution requires no less."

Does anyone else note a condescending tone to that paragraph, or is it just my paranoia?

Here's what I read:
"Yes, Cuban-Americans, you're good citizens, but please remember that this is a nation of laws and your past acts have forced us to make this decision for retrial outside of your community where your potential influence and bias may hamper due process."

If you didn't trust us, why wait 4 years to make that determination? Everyone knows that Cuban-Americans are just a bunch of right-wing intransigents who bully everyone around in their community. Didn't we make that clear in April of 2000?

OK, enough sarcasm.

Never mind the fact that no Cuban-Americans were in the jury, the appeals court still thought that the perception of a "pervasive" Cuban-American pressuring jurors to rule in favor of conviction was too much to ignore. Never mind the fact that non-Cubans were much more likely to be less sympathetic to the Cuban-American cause, and therefore be more sympathetic to the defendants.

I put perception in bold because in essence, that is what the court is basing its ruling on. No hard facts, just perception. I'm sure that's acceptable legal grounds for a retrial, but it doesn't make me feel 100% confident that it's correct.

I understand the reasons for wanting to move the trial. But, then again, who's truly unbiased? In highly-publicized trials such as the Michael Jackson and OJ Simpson cases, were the juries truly unbiased? I don't think so.

In the end, I say OK to a retrial outside of Miami, if that's what it takes to convict these spies once and for all. I trust our judicial system, warts and all. I just wished they would have had the foresight to see the potential conflict before the original trial.

I also wish that our Cuban community in Miami could be seen in a more favorable light. Things like this only serve to plant more doubt and cynicism among a group of people that have made good and significant contributions to this country.

I refuse to accept that we are anything but solid, honest, and hard-working contributors to our community and our country. The 11th Court of Appeals doesn't seem too enthusiastic in sharing my feelings.

3 Comments:

Anonymous daniel said...

robert i need your help send word to cuban american pundits, every time i try to open their page my browser freezes, its just them, on their page.. thanks

9:40 AM, August 10, 2005  
Blogger Robert said...

daniel,

when you call up their page, give it a little while, I sometimes have a hard time loading their page, but it does come up after about a minute or so.

1:15 PM, August 10, 2005  
Anonymous Kathleen said...

Robert, I don't see anyway that this is not a slap to the Cubin American community. If you substiute African American or Jewish American this unpredidented decision would not have happened. It's outrageous.

12:43 PM, August 11, 2005  

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