American Terrorism Trials: Prosecutorial and Defense Strategies

By Christopher A. Shields | Go to book overview

Chapter 1
Analyzing Trial Strategies Before
and After 9/11

The ultimate goal of this project is to provide an understanding of how different prosecutorial and defense strategies impact the judicial process. During the course of this investigation, the different strategies used by both sides proved to have a significant impact on case outcomes. While the number of strategies used by prosecutors and defense attorneys are relatively fixed, the combination of the strategies that were used is not. For example, Rightwing terrorists associated with the “common law courts” movement3 have filed motions with almost identical arguments relative to constitutional authority and jurisdiction in several federal court cases. Government responses, however, have varied from case to case. Using existing research as a guide, this project focused on three research areas.

First, it assessed the relationship between prosecutorial and defense strategies and case outcomes in terrorism trials. Although some previous research suggests that prosecutors are more apt to be successful (and efficient) using a strategy that depicts terrorists as conventional criminals, little information has been available relative to how terrorists or their defense attorneys attempt to portray themselves to a judge and a jury. Preliminary data available from the American Terrorism Study (ATS) indicated that a significant relationship exists between how terrorists attempt to portray themselves during trial proceedings and the trial outcome (Smith et al., 2005; Shields, 2009). The strategies used by defense lawyers in these cases appear to be associated with the filing of various types of motions, particularly in

3 This includes the sovereignty movement, jural society movement, and certain anti-tax groups such as Sheriff’s Posse Comitatus.

-5-

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American Terrorism Trials: Prosecutorial and Defense Strategies
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Law and Society - Recent Scholarship i
  • Title Page iii
  • Table of Contents vii
  • List of Tables ix
  • List of Figures xiii
  • Acknowledgements xv
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 - Analyzing Trial Strategies before and after 9/11 5
  • Chapter 2 - Background Research and Concepts 9
  • Chapter 3 - Three Intriguing Questions 23
  • Chapter 4 - The American Terrorism Study 31
  • Chapter 5 - Some Initial Answers 57
  • Chapter 6 - Prosecutorial and Defense Strategies 89
  • Chapter 7 - The Impact of Group Reorganization 105
  • Chapter 8 - Evolving Trial Strategies 115
  • Chapter 9 - Policy Concerns 133
  • Appendices 147
  • References 157
  • Index 165
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