The Trials of Rasmea Odeah, Part Four — Prosecution and Defense

That is the fourth of 5 posts on The Trials of Rasmea Odeh. Half One is right here; Half Two is right here; Half Three is right here.

Rasmea Odeh’s trial within the Jap District of Michigan started on November 5, 2014. The presiding choose was Gershwin Drain, an African American appointed by President Obama, who had tried over 150 circumstances to verdict throughout his earlier profession as a federal public defender. The protection had been optimistic when Choose Drain changed Choose Paul Borman, who had recused himself when he found that his household held inventory in Supersol’s father or mother firm. They had been quickly disenchanted when Choose Drain held that Odeh couldn’t testify about her torture by Israeli interrogators. The one problem within the case was Odeh’s concealment of her conviction and imprisonment, he dominated, not the legitimacy of the Israeli legal course of. Deutsch lamented on Chicago Public Radio that the court docket had “reduce the guts out of our protection.”

The prosecution case was uncomplicated, based mostly nearly solely on digitally introduced paperwork. The prosecution launched Odeh’s visa and naturalization functions, highlighting the false solutions to the questions on legal convictions and imprisonment. The naturalization officer who performed Odeh’s citizenship interview couldn’t bear in mind the main points of the session in 2005, however she testified that she had at all times requested the identical questions in-person, and that she would have flagged any modified or corrected solutions on the shape. Lastly, the prosecution supplied licensed copies on the Israeli indictment, conviction, and sentence, together with a set of Odeh’s fingerprints, which had been produced pursuant to a Mutual Authorized Help Treaty.

Nonetheless reeling from Drain’s pretrial ruling, the protection was not with out stratagems. Deutsch repeatedly tried to boost the torture problem in testimony and argument, at occasions drawing rebukes from the court docket.

Concerning the precise proof, Odeh testified that the solutions to the visa software had been given to her in English by her brother – who had handed away earlier than trial – and she or he had merely copied them onto the shape with out understanding what they mentioned. The cross examiner tried to undermine her testimony, however Odeh insisted that she had solely the barest data of English on the time.

In the middle of my analysis, I found proof that Odeh had been mendacity, which was evidently unknown to the prosecution. Odeh graduated highschool simply earlier than the Israeli occupation, and was sufficiently completed to be accepted to medical college. Her training had been below the Jordanian curriculum, which required every day English instruction starting in fifth grade. By the point she graduated, she would have acquired over 2000 hours of English instruction. She additionally attended a yr of medical college in Lebanon and graduated from regulation college in Jordan, each of which concerned instruction in English. The declare that she couldn’t learn or perceive the questions on a easy type was ridiculous, however the information exhibiting her language proficiency weren’t raised by the prosecution.

Odeh couldn’t declare comparable illiteracy relating to the naturalization type, as a result of she needed to cross an English proficiency take a look at to acquire citizenship. As an alternative, her attorneys situated a psychologist who put ahead the novel principle that Odeh’s PTSD had resulted in a kind of “automated filtering” that precipitated her to misread the questions.

The shape requested these and several other comparable questions, boldface and capitalization authentic:

Have you ever EVER been charged with committing any crime or offense?

Have you ever EVER been convicted of any crime or offense?

Have you ever EVER been in jail or jail?

Based on the protection psychologist, Odeh’s PTSD filter would have precipitated her to dam her experiences in Israel and reply solely about her life in the USA, when she had not gotten a lot as a parking ticket. Due to this fact, though her denials had been inaccurate, they weren’t intentional falsehoods.

I explored this principle myself, interviewing nationally distinguished consultants on PTSD and reminiscence, once more discovering highly effective proof that had eluded the prosecution.

How effectively did the “automated filtering” protection fare in court docket? That would be the topic of tomorrow’s fifth and ultimate publish.