[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]
Now, I am a lawyer, but my expertise drops off a cliff when I start talking about foreign countries. I mean I can watch Law and Order: UK and feel things are reasonably familiar, but the moment we are outside the common law, my knowledge falls off sharply.
But according to this article over at Pajamas Media, one of the judges prosecuting Geert Wilders was caught in ethical lapses related to the case, making it clear that the judge should have disqualified himself months ago. When Wilder’s attorney sought to introduce evidence showing the judge should have disqualified himself, all three judges refused to hear it. So all three judges were removed from the case, at this late stage—the case was all but over, with the Prosecutors—who never wanted to bring the case in the first place—telling the court that Wilders should be acquitted (to know why that recommendation might not mean a damn, read here).
So Geert had a judge hearing his case who should have disqualified himself. And how do they remedy this? According to that same article, by making the entire case start over.
Now, this probably doesn’t technically violate Mr. Wilders’ double jeopardy rights. Under American law, the chances of winning a motion to dismiss the new case on those grounds are pretty slim. But this is still wrong. The Prosecutors never wanted to bring this case, but were forced to, and at the end of the case the Prosecutors were still unconvinced. And it is because of the misbehavior of the judges, not Wilders, that this whole trial has been flushed down the toilet. Wilders should not pay the price for that misconduct. The state should.
As a few commenters noted the last time I talked about Wilders, sometimes the process is the punishment. He shouldn’t have been tried in the first place. He really shouldn’t be tried, twice. Heed the prosecutors’ advice and let him go free.
And to those who accuse me of believing in freedom of expression with a fanaticism that is almost religious, I say this: guilty as charged. When I read that we are endowed by our creators with certain unalienable rights, when I say that among our God-given rights is freedom of expression and freedom of religious expression in particular, I am not just using a flourish. I believe they are ours, given to us by God, and cannot by right be taken or bartered away.
Update: Links and minor mistakes fixed.
[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]