"Irvine 11" Jury Trial's Opening Statements are Today

Categories: Court
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Opening statements begin this afternoon in the misdemeanor criminal trial of the Irvine 11, whittled down to 10 Muslim student-defendants from the University of California at Irvine and Riverside since the February 2010 speech at UCI by Israel's Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren that drew the charges.

The jury is expected to begin hearing the opening arguments at 1:30 p.m. today in Judge Peter Wilson's courtroom at the Central Justice Center in downtown Santa Ana.

Mohamed Mohy-Eldeen Abdelgany, Khalid Gahgat Akari, Aslam Abbasi Akhtar, Joseph Tamim Haider, Taher Mutaz Herzallah, Shaheen Waleed Nassar, Mohammad Uns Qureashi, Ali Mohammad Sayeed, Osama Ahmen Shabaik and Asaad Mohamedidris Traina are charged with disrupting and/or conspiring to disrupt a public speech by Oren. They have pleaded not guilty.

They were arrested as Oren was being interrupted 16 times while delivering a lecture in the UCI Student Center on Feb. 8, 2010. The case hinges on whether the jury decides the free-speech rights of the students trumps those of Oren. Their attorneys argue Oren's speech was political, so the student's should be protected under the U.S. Constitution. But no less than constitutional scholar Erwin Chemerinsky, the dean of UCI's law school, has opined that it was Oren's rights that were violated.

Convictions could bring sentences ranging from probation and community service to months in jail.

The 11th defendant, 20-year-old Hakim Nasreddine Kebir, settled his case in July, agreeing to complete 40 hours of community service at the Someone Cares Soup Kitchen in Costa Mesa by Sept. 23 in exchange for having the charges against him dropped.

The students and the Muslim Student Union chapter many of them belong to were previously disciplined by UCI's administration, and a coalition of local and national peace, Islamic, educator and human rights organizations has stated that's enough.

Support for the students will be heard on the courthouse steps before today's hearing by representatives from Stand with the Eleven, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), UCI's faculty, the Muslim Public Affairs Council and Jewish Voice for Peace.

Other groups, most notably those that are pro-Israel, have applauded Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas' decision to prosecute the students.

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39 comments
Guest
Guest

this is a ridiculous waste of time and money, students were sanctioned by the university. They probably used poor judgement, as students often do, however this is about the fact that they were Muslim students challenging a pro-Israel speaker. As an InterFaith speaker on Islamic issues I can tell you that I, and others, have been heckled, shouted down, harassed, on numerous occasions. Never did I consider suing.

Sensible Muslimah
Sensible Muslimah

I won't go so far as to say that the students should do jail time, but what they did was not exercise their right of free speech - rather it was to ensure that someone else was denied the right to his free speech.  The victims were those who came to hear the speaker, and could not. The Irvine 11 could have chosen to voice their opinions in response to the speaker, but instead chose to childishly yell like spoiled babies to drown out another person's free speech.  Actions have consequences, and should they be punished for their actions, it's something they should have considered before acting like 3 year olds.  And by the way, I am a Muslim.

Shiekllc
Shiekllc

My allah protect our brothers from the racist system of satan

909Jeff
909Jeff

No no and No... A foreign diplomat has diplomatic immunity, this does not clear the way for them to operate with impunity. 

 Case in point, In January 1997, in the U.S., the Deputy Ambassador of the Republic of Georgia, Gueorgui Makharadze, caused an accident that injured four people and killed a 16-year-old girl. He was found to have a blood-alcohol level of 0.15% but was released from custody because he was a diplomat. The Georgian government waived his immunity upon request from the U.S., and Makharadze was tried and convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 7-to-21 years in prison. After serving three years of his sentence, he was returned to his home country, where he spent two more years in jail before being paroled.

  Everyone in our country is afforded the same protections under our constitution.

Try your smoke an mirrors bullshit somehere else. 

irshad alam
irshad alam

How does a Foreign ambassador have any constitutional right? All such constitutional rights belong only to people under the jurisdiction of the United States. Foreign diplomats are not under the jurisdiction of the United States. For example, If an ambassador commits murder, US may not try him. All US can do is to deport him, as he is not under the jurisdiction of the US.

An Anonymous Lawyer
An Anonymous Lawyer

Enforcement of any particular law, depending on your point of view, could be called a waste of time and money; for example, some believed (prior to the revision of the law) that all marijuana prosecutions were a waste of time and money. However, in a civilized society, we should not base enforcement upon cost. As far as you not choosing to sue, that is a private choice and a private right of action sounding in civil law, vastly different than enforcement of criminal laws. In this instance, the allegation is that a conspiracy was formed to shut down a speaker's right to be heard, and the listeners' rights to hear. On the issue of probably poor judgment by college students, that same argument could be made by the accused date rapist, so it is hardly a defense or reason to abrogate law enforcement. It speaks well of this country that the accused have their day in court, and that they will be adjudged guilty, or innocent, by a jury. 

Jeffklives
Jeffklives

well stated.

These dopey students are like the Muslim version of the Westboro Church.   They are loud and think they are doing something good but they are clueless. 

I am for a the creation of a Palestinian state that would peacefully co-exist with Israel as its neighbor.

These nimrod wantabe rebel students repeatedly invite speakers on the campus who do not support the two state solution, which imo is the best way there would be peace  They repeatedly invite guys like Malik Ali who openly supports terrorist organizations and he glorifies suicide bombers.   CAIR has denounced Malik Ali but these dolts have repeatedly invited him to speak on the campus year after year.

I don't really care what these dopey kids think or think they have to say.   They have shown they are not reasonable and are not sincerly looking for a peaceful resolution to this conflict.   It is time that moderate Muslims are given a platform to be heard.   I don't know why this story gets so much coverage.  

It is time that guys like Sensible Muslimah be given a platform instead of these self appointed moral crusaders and their nutty supporters. 

missx
missx

If non-Muslims responded in the same way to a Muslim speaker they'd be charged with a hate crimes. 

909Jeff
909Jeff

Finally!  Thank you very much for this post I couldnt agree with you more! 

909Jeff
909Jeff

May Allah protect the millions of muslim women who are sadistically treated like second class citizens in the muslim world... See the great documentary on HBO called "Love crimes of Kabul"... I rest my case!

Cow Dung
Cow Dung

Did you pass 8th grade?

Did schools fail you?  Is your understanding of the First Admendment that limited?  Or are you just trolling?

Shlomo
Shlomo

Like many Zionists in the Israeli government, Michael Oren was born in the USA and has dual citizenship.

An Anonymous Lawyer
An Anonymous Lawyer

The listeners have a constitutional right to hear the speaker, regardless of their diplomatic status, under the First Amendment. The First Amendment does not confer a "shouter's veto." Moreover, constitutional rights are afforded to all within the borders of the United States; for example, one needn't be a citizen to be entitled to the protections of the Fourth Amendment. The jurisdictional issue you raise is a red herring. 

Sensible Muslimah
Sensible Muslimah

Juvenile behavior such as screaming so a speaker can't be heard does not rise to the level of a hate crime.  There was no threat of violence or bodily harm.  While the behavior was an embarrassment to me as a Muslim, legally it doesn't qualify as a hate crime, nor would it had the speaker been Muslim; however, please feel free to continue to exercise your First Amendment right to post more irresponsible, inaccurate comments.  

909Jeff
909Jeff

what are you doing after work Sensible? you want to make me a victim and violate my rights?

Sensible Muslimah
Sensible Muslimah

Jeff, please don't confuse cultural misogyny with Islam.  Islam brought equality and dignity to women, and those who act otherwise, even if they call themselves Muslims, are acting in direct violation of the Qur'an.  Honor killings and stoning adulteresses have NOTHING to do with Islam.   

irshad alam
irshad alam

 also, while as a general rule, the listeners possibly have a constitutional right to hear the speaker, its not clear if they have a such a right when the speaker is a foreign diplomat. For example, Us government could constitutionally have banned him to travel to LA to speak, constitutionally. Or even forbid him to make any speech at all. This matter also needs to be researched and argued

irshad alam
irshad alam

Foreign diplotas given diplomatic immunity are not in the jurisdiction of the United States and have no constitutional rights. While its true that one need not be a citizen to enjoy the rights, foreign diplomats are specifically excluded. For example, anytime the government wants, it can declare a diplomay persona non grata and eject him from the country.

bored again
bored again

I am bored with the persecution complex some religious folks suffer.  

The Muslims acted like 3 year olds.   It isn't their religion that many people are upset about.  

It is their lame attempts the student supporters defend their actions when they say:

(a) the students were exercising their rights of free speech (wrong - this type of "protest" is not protected free speech).   

(b)  their attitude that Oren is a "war criminal" so he shouldn't have been given the right to speak on the campus (I don't like when a group of students decides for the entire campus who can speak on the campus and who cannot). 

Suppose there was a Jewish group on the UC Irvine campus that supported the Kahane party who invited speakers who presented their viewpoint.

If someone like Fayyad came on to the campus to give a lecture and many people in the community came to the campus to hear what he had to say but the pro-Kahane group deliberately preplanned to not let his opinions be heard on the campus so repeatedly disrupted him, you would see a lot of Jewish groups pissed off at the pro-Kahane group at UC Irvine.   You would see a lot of other pissed off too.

This story would have died a long time ago if the students said that they messed up.  They were sorry and showed some remorse.   Instead their supporters have tried to make them martyrs for fighting for "justice".    Do these students or their supporters really think they have done anything to promote a resolution to this conflict? 

 

 

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

Fair enough. You make valid points and I appreciate your respectful response. But I still wonder how these events would have played out differently if it had been a pro-Israel group of students who interrupted the speech of a pro-Palestinian speaker. It's something worth thinking about, in my opinion....soul searching, if you will.

An Anonymous Lawyer
An Anonymous Lawyer

The rhetoric and hyperbole surrounding the propriety of this prosecution is unyielding from those holding disparate points of view; there is anti-Muslim, anti-Israel, and anti-Jewish rhetoric abounding with respect to this case, as well as frequently in general at UCI. Without intending to flame your remark, perhaps the reference, if indeed it existed, to "the Muslim Case," is shorthand for the the "Muslim Student Union," members of which -- as members and not as individuals -- it is alleged, conspired to stop the ambassador's speech.

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

Yes, ideally this case is strictly a legal matter with the intent of meting out proper punishment for people who broke the law. However, I'm afraid the sad reality may be that more than a few people think these students should be prosecuted not for breaking the law, per se, but because they are Pro-Palestinian Muslims who dared to challenge Ambassador Oren. I've read some of the most shameful anti-Muslim rhetoric spouted over and over again by bloggers/commenters whenever this case is mentioned and I'm supposed to believe this is strictly about interrupting a speech? The DA's office clearly showed its bias when it kept referring to the matter as "The Muslim Case". If this is strictly about enforcing the law and not the content of their protest, as the DA's office and others would claim, why refer to the religion of the defendants in legal documents?

909Jeff
909Jeff

Lets also clarify that freedom of speach has no bearing here.  The 11 protesters in question are not being prosecuted for what they said... But the manner in which they chose to do it. 

Mark
Mark

please take your gat comments somewhere else.

Sensible Muslimah
Sensible Muslimah

That's true, Fish, and let's not forget what religious group has proudly brought us 100% of the Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members and pedophilic priests.  Any guesses, Emma?

Sensible Muslimah
Sensible Muslimah

Careful who you call a liar, Emma.  Before the Qur'an, there were no limits on the number of wives a man could have.  Only national law prevents Jews and Christians from having an unlimited number of wives.  I guess you never read a bible.  In addition, a man can waive his right to any additional wives as a condition of marriage.  Any other untruths you care to spread, ma'am?

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

And Christianity is above reproach? There's all kinds of misogynist content in the Bible, too! And keep in mind that this good "Christian", freedom-loving United States of America didn't give women the right to vote until the 20th Century!

Emma Garcia
Emma Garcia

muslimah, you're a liar. q-Ran 2:282, 4 wives, talaq talaq talaq, just to name a few examples. 

909Jeff
909Jeff

Agreed, and I do remember that thread.

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

Now do you believe me when I said it was happening to ME the other day? But I'm glad we can at least agree that it's immature to use someone else's pseudonym to post a bunch of immature junk instead of engaging in an actual dialogue like with the person you don't agree with...like grown-ups.

909Jeff
909Jeff

Um as often happens around here someone cannot make valid arguements on their own and they resort to posting obscenities under anothers name... Unfortunate as it may be.  

909Jeff
909Jeff

Must be Gustavo posting under my name...

909Jeff
909Jeff

bro i will suck off every muslim man and he can put his stones on this chin.. You want some? i'll show you how the 909 does it punk.

irshad alam
irshad alam

Whatever right Ambassador Oren had stems from US government permission allowing him to speak. He has not been granted that right by the US constitution. So no violation of anyones constitutional right happened, though his right to speak for which he has been given permission by the State Dept --- that has been possibly violated. 

An Anonymous Lawyer
An Anonymous Lawyer

The issues you raise, while perhaps interesting to some, do not even rise to the level of a worthy Bar Exam hypothetical. Your right to swing stops at the end of my nose (paraphrasing Oliver Wendell Holmes); that is, if Ambassador Oren was permissibly speaking, and he was, he had the right to be heard, and the listeners that he was addressing likewise had the right to hear him. Moving the analogy to the college classroom, a student does not have the right to a shouter's veto in a biology class about evolution, disrupting the professor's lecture even if the student knows creationism, and not evolution, is the only truth. Lastly, anticipating the oft cited refrain that the one quarter suspension of an organization (replaced during that period by others) and other illusory penalties imposed by university were punishment enough, ponder whether the university, to the exclusion of the criminal law system, has the exclusive right to punish an assault, for example, on campus. Such would be folly.

An Anonymous Lawyer
An Anonymous Lawyer

Again, relevance? Diplomats may have the ability to avoid responsibility in the U.S. as well as in most countries,  but nonetheless benefit from the rights afforded to all.

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