Kendall Coffey Interview with Malzberg about Bush v. Gore and the Boston Bombings Part 3
STEVE MALZBERG: Right. Well let me ask you about something that we’ve talked about before, and that’s where this case against this surviving brother might go. And of course there was a lot of talk about him trading the death penalty for more information. And of course a female attorney has been hired—or has been added to his legal team, someone who has been able to accomplish the Laufner case and other cases—the Unibomber case—and now she’s a part of his legal team.
But there are other people who are of the opinion that this kid might already have given all that he has to offer and has nothing really else to trade before the time he was read his Miranda rights, and that there’s nothing a lot more information that he could trade for. So knowing that this specialist is now on his legal team, knowing that he wants to avoid the death penalty, and knowing Eric Holder as at least I think I do, a man who went to the FAL terrorists and asked if they want to get out of prison, a man who wanted to try Khalid Shiekh Mohammad in the civilian courts, a man who, in my mind, has never been tough on terrorists…it’s up to him whether to seek the death penalty.
Do you think this will be a capital case when all is said and done?
KENDALL COFFEY: I think it’s going to be a capital case, and the key thing is what you addressed: Did he already give away whatever information he might’ve had, if any, that he could’ve traded for life in prison? Doesn’t sound like much of a goal, to put yourself in life imprisonment, but that’s the best that can realistically be done in this case. And with all the evidence, unless he can make a deal with the government, it’s going to be very tough to avoid the very, very serious risk of capital punishment in this case.
STEVE MALZBERG: Okay, now, let’s move on. We’re talking to Kendall Coffey here over on the Steve Malzberg Show now, the Spinning the Law segment. Now California—and, you know, sometimes unfortunately as they say, as California goes, so goes the country—lots of times that doesn’t happen, thank God, but California wants to become, or could become, the first state to allow non-citizens to serve on juries.
Now I don’t know if they’re doing this out of the Obama kind of philosophy where you’ve gotta be fair or if they have a shortage of available jurors or—but if I’m on trial, God forbid, for some kind of crime, I kinda want my peers to be citizens. Is that too much to ask for?
KENDALL COFFEY: Well, I think that’s a great point of an issue: Is this a trial of your peers? But there’s just so many reasons why it’s a bad idea. Fundamentally, jury service is a privilege which someone who is not yet a citizen has not yet fully earned…and it’s also a responsibility.
A lot of people don’t want to do it, a lot of citizens. And I was struck by the idea that, well, we can’t get enough citizens who want to be jurors so we’ve gotta get non-citizens. Well, let me tell you, Steve. There is a problem with us if our citizenry doesn’t want to participate in something this important. And maybe we better do a better job about educating our own citizens so that they’ll want to participate as jurors.
But that’s where the focus needs to be, not reaching out to all the complex issues that you would have about getting non-citizens on the jury. You mentioned some, but then you get into a lot of issues about the status, what’s going on with the immigration proceedings, is the green card good enough, is a visa good enough…you know, for me, this is just a bad idea from the beginning. Let’s get our citizens better informed if they’re reluctant to serve on juries because it is an important, sacred responsibility within our system of justice.
STEVE MALZBERG: Yeah, and many are reluctant to serve on juries because, you know, they don’t have—work might allow them, I think legally they have to let them go, but I don’t know if they have to pay them, and then they get a pittance, you know, expense money, transportation money to serve on the jury….
I’m not saying they make it able to make a career of serving on juries but maybe have more consideration for the way that it’s done, and let them know the last second that they’re going to have to go in that day…but there are things that can be done, I think, to make it more appealing and easier to deal with because I know people—some, I guess, would like to be able to serve, but it’s just—it’s a work hassle, you know what I mean?
KENDALL COFFEY: Well, and you know what, to me it’s sort of like when my wife kind of insisted that I go to the opera with her—
STEVE MALZBERG: (laughs)
KENDALL COFFEY: —I kind of dread it, I don’t want to do it, but you know, after I do it, I say, you know, that wasn’t so bad, it was really very interesting. Most people actually are pleasantly surprised. However much they don’t want to do it before they serve on juries, most people are pleasantly surprised at what a positive experience it is. Probably a lot more positive for many of us than going to see the opera.
STEVE MALZBERG: (laughs) Which is the last opera you were dragged to?
KENDALL COFFEY: Uh, La Trattiata or something like that?
STEVE MALZBERG: “Or something like that,” okay, I love it. You’re like me, that’s exactly something that I would say. Something like that. Hey, Kendall—(that’s probably why we get along so well)—I thank you, sir, as always, for your time, and we’ll speak next week, sir.
KENDALL COFFEY: Okay, Steve, thank you.
STEVE MALZBERG: Thank you. Kendall Coffey, ladies and gentlemen.