It is one of the most serious crimes a person can commit in the United States–terrorism. The recent explosions in New York and New Jersey sent shockwaves throughout the country. While it is fortunate nobody was killed, it was a further reminder the threat of terrorism is not just a problem in the Middle East or Europe. It is also an American problem. Criminal defense attorneys have an extremely challenging job. Each day, they must provide legal representation and counsel for people accused of some of the most heinous crimes. But with the overwhelming emotions of public safety and patriotism, the challenges for a terrorism defense attorney are even more intense.
Federal prosecutors have charged Ahmad Khan Rahami in connection with the detonation of a pipe bomb in New Jersey on Saturday September 17 along with a pressure cooker bomb in New York City later that evening. The explosions left 31 people injured in New York City. A second pressure cooker bomb was discovered in Manhattan, but did not explode. Police in New York and New Jersey are also looking for two men who were captured on surveillance video admiring luggage left by Rahami at the second pressure cooker bomb scene. The men are being sought as potential witnesses and not as suspects. A public defender has requested a courtroom appearance to hear the federal charges against Rahami, an Afghan-born U.S. citizen. He has been moved to New York to future federal charges.
Federal terrorism laws carry severe consequences, including life in prison, even without previous offenses. The laws of federal terrorism fall under 18 U.S. Code Chapter 113B, which define both domestic and international terrorism. Domestic terrorism is defined as the following:
- Acts that occur within the United States
- Violent acts of kidnapping, intimidation, assassination and mass destruction used to influence civilians or government policy.
- Acts that are dangerous to human life and or violate United States criminal laws.
Rahami faces a mountain of overwhelming evidence. However, it is important to understand he is presumed innocent until proven guilty. It is the responsibility of every defense attorney to protect the rights of each client. It will be their duty. The primary goal is to help bring doubt to the jury of whether the suspect violated any federal or state laws that prohibit terrorism.
Terrorist suspects face another major obstacle. Prosecutors tend to avoid giving any type of leniency to those accused of domestic or international terrorism. However, an experienced and skillful defense lawyer may be able to negotiate a plea bargain to lessen the penalties. Since September 11, 2001, Americans are on higher alert. Media scrutiny also makes it extremely difficult for terrorist suspects to get a fair trial. But ask yourself this question. What if you were wrongly accused of an act of terrorism? Protecting the rights of terrorist suspects is a crucial component of our justice system. If you have been accused of terrorism or a violent crime, it is vital to have an experienced Salt Lake City defense attorney who will protect your rights and look after your best interests. To learn more, contact criminal defense lawyer David Paul White and explore your legal options.