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First Circuit upholds Mehanna decision

First Circuit upholds Mehanna decision

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Published by Janelle Lawrence
A three judge panel has upheld the conviction and 210-month sentence of pharmacy school graduate Tarek Mehanna for providing material support to terrorists.
A three judge panel has upheld the conviction and 210-month sentence of pharmacy school graduate Tarek Mehanna for providing material support to terrorists.

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Categories:Types, Business/Law
Published by: Janelle Lawrence on Nov 13, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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02/11/2014

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United States Court of Appeals
For the First Circuit
No. 12-1461UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,Appellee,v. TAREK MEHANNA,Defendant, Appellant.APPEAL FROMTHE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTFOR THE DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS[Hon. George A. O'Toole, Jr., U.S. District Judge]BeforeHoward, Selya and Thompson,Circuit Judges.Sabin Willett, with whomSusan Baker Manning, Julie SilvaPalmer, BinghamMcCutchen LLP, J. W. Carney, Jr., and Carney &Bassil were on brief, for appellant.Alex Abdo, Hina Shamsi, Matthew R. Segal, and Sarah R. Wunschon brief for American Civil Liberties Union and American CivilLiberties Union of Massachusetts, amici curiae.Pardiss Kebriaei, Baher Azmy, and Amna Akbar on brief forCenter for Constitutional Rights, amicus curiae.Nancy Gertner, David M. Porter, and Steven R. Morrison onbrief for National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, amicuscuriae.E. Joshua Rosenkranz and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP on brief for Scholars, Publishers, and Translators in the Fields oIslamand the Middle East, amici curiae.
Case: 12-1461 Document: 00116610582 Page: 1 Date Filed: 11/13/2013 Entry ID: 5779661
 
Elizabeth D. Collery, Attorney, Appellate Section, CriminalDivision, U.S. Department of Justice, with whomMythili Raman,Acting Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, Denis J.McInerney, Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General, CriminalDivision, Carmen M. Ortiz, United States Attorney, John P. Carlin,Acting Assistant Attorney General, National Security Division, and Joseph F. Palmer, Attorney, National Security Division, were onbrief, for appellee.November 13, 2013
Case: 12-1461 Document: 00116610582 Page: 2 Date Filed: 11/13/2013 Entry ID: 5779661
 
SELYA, Circuit Judge.
 Terrorismis the modern-dayequivalent of the bubonic plague: it is an existential threat.Predictably, then, the government's efforts to combat terrorismthrough the enforcement of the criminal laws will be fierce.Sometimes, those efforts require a court to patrol the fine linebetween vital national security concerns and forbiddenencroachments on constitutionally protected freedoms of speech andassociation. This is such a case.As if that were not enough, the case presents a welter of other issues. At the risk of singling out one of many, we payparticular heed to the need to appraise the district court'sefforts —in the face of an avalanche of emotionally chargedevidence to hold steady and true the delicate balance betweenprobative value and unfairly prejudicial effect. This appraisal isespecially difficult in terrorismcases because it puts twocompeting rights on a collision course: the government's right topresent its best case in support of its theories of guilt and thedefendant's right to be shielded fromuntoward prejudice arisingout of the introduction of evidence that is, at one and the sametime, probative yet inflammatory. The stage can be set quite simply. In the court below,the government aimed a barrage of terrorism-related charges atdefendant-appellant Tarek Mehanna. Following a protracted trial,the jury convicted himon all counts. The defendant, ably-3-
Case: 12-1461 Document: 00116610582 Page: 3 Date Filed: 11/13/2013 Entry ID: 5779661

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