NYDailyNews/courtesy of Counter Jihad
BYÂ JOHN MARZULLI
Three judges take a pass on trying terror suspect
Jitterbugs: federal judges Sandra Townes, Nina Gershon and Carol Amon all declined to take the Najibullah Zazi terror case.
It was the case nobody wanted.
Three federal judges balked at handlingÂ Najibullah Zazi‘s case after they were randomly assigned by a courthouse computer, the Daily News has learned.
Nina Gershon,Â Carol Amon andÂ Sandra Townes all declined to take the case on Wednesday – a day before the indictment charging Zazi with planning a bomb attack was made public.
They are not required to give an explanation, but according to federal law, the judges have the right to step aside if their “impartiality might reasonably be questioned.”
“It’s extraordinarily unusual,” said a criminal defense lawyer who has handled terrorism-related cases.
“I know of no judge who owns stock inÂ Al Qaeda, so that’s not the reason. And there’s nothing different about a terrorism case from any other criminal case other than jury selection possibly.”
“Frankly, I’m amazed,” the lawyer said.
“Muslim Community Shocked and in Fear of Backlash”
FintonÂ obviously doesn’t know the true meaning of Islam. He calls himself “Talib Islam” or student of Islam. Now the community has to work to repair its image.
Leaders fear backlash from the neighbors. (My heart bleeds…/ed)
Counter Jihad Links:
Federal cases are typically assigned to a judge at random by a computer system referred to as “the wheel.”
Gershon was selected first, followed by Amon and then Townes.
The high-profile case eventually fell to a fourth choice -Â Raymond Dearie, chief judge of the Eastern District ofÂ New York.
Dearie served asÂ Brooklyn U.S. attorney from 1982 to 1986 before he was appointed to the bench by formerÂ President Ronald Reagan.
“It’s a personal decision for every judge,” Dearie told The News Friday.
Amon and Townes are not considered shrinking violets.
Amon prosecuted members of theÂ Irish Republican Army as an assistantÂ U.S. attorney. Townes, a former state appellate judge, has a fearsome reputation for handing out hard-hitting sentences.
Gershon presided over the 2006 trial ofÂ Shahawar Matin Siraj, a Pakistani immigrant convicted of plotting to blow up theÂ Herald Square subway station.
Gershon sentenced Siraj to 30 years in prison, and the verdict was upheld by theÂ U.S. Court of Appeals.
She is now a senior judge and can have a lighter caseload.
Two sources told the News that Gershon did not want to handle a terrorism case. She did not return a call. Amon and Townes declined to comment.
Dearie was twice rushed to the hospital from the courthouse this year after feeling faint, but he dismissed a question about his health. “I’m fine,” Dearie said.