Today’s Phrase for Latin Lovers

Rex in Regno suo superiores habet Deum et Legem.

Translation:
The King in his Realm hath two superiors: God and the Law. -- Henry Care (1646-1688) on English liberties and the Magna Carta

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Ancient History

|Law and Order

Marine Held in Mexico Update

Andrew Tahmooressi

Yesterday, the Mexican judicial system held its third hearing in the case of Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi. The federal prosecutor and Tahmooressi’s defense attorney, Fernando Benitez, presented selected clips of surveillance footage taken from 18 security cameras showing his entry into Mexico and arrest on March 31. The Marine reservist was not permitted to attend, nor were any reporters allowed in the courtroom during the eight-hour proceeding.

As Legal Insurrection has previously reported, Tahmooressi claims that he did not intend to drive into Mexico, but there was no exit accessible to him before arriving at the border patrol station in San Ysidro. He says that he then tried to alert the customs officials that he had legal firearms in his vehicle and wished to turn around to return to the US.

In an interview with Fox News, Benitez gave his perspective on the hearing: “We are happy with the results because we can conclusively state that our client told the truth all along.”

He added:

“You can clearly see that my client’s demeanor from the beginning is calm, he is cooperative,” Benitez told Fox Wednesday. “He is clearly motioning … that he wants to go back and motions that the guns are hidden in a certain place and he cooperates with his captors.”

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports:

Mexican prosecutors have maintained silence, save for a “fact sheet” outlining the charges issued through the federal Attorney General’s Office in Mexico City in June. The statement stressed that “this is not a political or diplomatic issue. It is strictly a judicial issue that will be resolved by the Mexican federal courts.” Most accounts of the proceedings have come through Tahmooressi’s attorney, who has been granting interviews and posting information on Twitter.

Tuesday’s court proceeding was the third evidentiary hearing in the case, and likely not the last. Unlike the two previous hearings, Tahmooressi did not attend, and reportedly remained behind bars at El Hongo State Penitentiary outside Tecate. His mother, Jill Tahmooressi, arrived in a U.S. government vehicle, entering through a side door alongside Michael Veasy, consular chief at the U.S. Consulate in Tijuana as well as the family’s adviser, Philip Dunn, of the nonprofit group Serving California.

Ultimately, there was no resolution to the case as a result of the evidence introduced. Benitez plans to file more motions, seeking to get the case dismissed on grounds such as an improper arrest procedure and the need for his client to get treatment for his PTSD acquired in his two tours of Afghanistan.

However, no new hearings have been scheduled.

In the meantime, a bill introduced in Congress, HR620 by Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) has gained 61 cosponsors.

It concludes:

Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives
that–
(1) the Government of Mexico should immediately release
United States Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi and provide for
his swift return to the United States so Sgt. Tahmooressi can
receive the appropriate medical assistance for his medical
condition; and
(2) the President of the United States should utilize the
full powers and authorities of his office to immediately secure
the release of United States Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi.

UPDATE: Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi’s defense attorney Fernando Benitez appeared on On the Record with Greta Van Susteren this evening and announced that he will be returning to court on the 29th to present video footage of the route that Tahmooressi took from the parking lot where he got into his car to the border station where he was arrested in San Ysidro.

[this post originally appeared at LegalInsurrection.com]

|Law and Order | Prudence Potpourri

Surprising Supreme Court Justice Seems to Support Anti-Abortion Free Speech

Leonardo DaVinci Views of a Foetus in the WombOver 500 years ago, Leonardo Da Vinci was engrossed in sketching a series of Views of the Foetus in the Womb (sample seen at right), attempting to document the development of a human life as understood by scientists in 1510, even by the most primitive technologies they had back then.

It’s remarkable that Da Vinci’s anatomical drawings bear such a striking resemblance to the modern pre-natal ultrasound photos plastered to signs and held up at pro-life rallies in the 21st century.

Yet a Massachusetts law prohibits where these age-old images can been displayed and discussed. The law makes it illegal for pro-life activists to be on a public sidewalk within 35 feet of an abortion clinic entrance, exit or driveway. Today, the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) heard a challenge to the Massachusetts law in the case of McCullen v. Coakley.

(As a bit of background for today’s hearing, in 2000, SCOTUS upheld a different free speech buffer zone that Colorado had passed. Five Justices in that case still remain on the Court, three of whom were dissenters in the decision.)

At the SCOTUSblog, Lyle Denniston summed up the conservative position on the Court:

Justice Antonin Scalia (one of the dissenters when the Court upheld a different kind of buffer zone in 2000) led the verbal attack on the Massachusetts law on Wednesday, repeatedly insisting that what the anti-abortion challengers want to do is not to protest at all, but just “to talk to the people.” If they actually were staging protests, he said, it might be permissible to require them to stand back for thirty-five feet. Justice Alito also said explicitly that “what these people want to do is speak quietly.”

If that perspective forms the basis for a decision on the power to insulate abortion clinics, it would create a considerable degree of freedom to engage in what anti-abortion organizations call “sidewalk counseling.”

The biggest surprise to courtroom observers came with liberal Justice Elena Kagan’s comments and questions. Reuters reported:

At one point she noted the Massachusetts law “does have its problems.”

Kagan’s main concern appeared to be the size of the buffer zone.

“I guess I’m a little bit hung up on why you need so much space,” she told Massachusetts’ lawyer, Jennifer Miller.

A ruling should be issued by June.

Over 1.2 million babies are aborted each year in the US. That’s 22.4 abortions per 100 pregnancies, according to the Guttmacher Institute.