The Pentagon’s model “judicial” system at Guantanamo Bay has many fascinating features, virtually all of which are contrary to the rights and guarantees in the federal system established by the Constitution. Among the features in the Pentagon’s system are a presumption of guilt for the accused, no right to confront witnesses, the use of hearsay evidence, the use of evidence acquired by torture or coercion, no right against self-incrimination, no protection against cruel and unusual punishments, no right to bail, and no right to trial by jury.
But perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the Pentagon’s system is the irrelevancy of the trial itself. Under the Pentagon’s rules, if a person is found not guilty the Pentagon can nonetheless continue to keep him in custody for as long as it wants, even for the rest of his life. In the federal judicial system here in the United States, when a jury acquits an accused he is immediately discharged from custody, enabling him to walk out the courtroom a free man.
Granted, it is highly unlikely that any defendant is going to be acquitted, given that U.S. military personnel are serving as prosecutor, judge, and jury. Nonetheless, every American should take note of this critically important part of this model “judicial” system established by the Pentagon. If the accused is acquitted by the military tribunal, the Pentagon can continue to treat him as if he had been convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
Obvious questions arise: If the Pentagon can continue imprisoning a defendant who has been acquitted, then what’s the point of a trial? Isn’t the trial more in the nature of a show trial, similar to those conducted by the Soviet Union? Isn’t the Pentagon simply using a fake trial, one whose outcome is preordained and irrelevant, to convince people that its punishment of a person is done pursuant to principles of justice?
The Pentagon’s model “judicial” system makes a mockery of the principles of justice that America is supposed to stand for. Heaven forbid that the Pentagon is ever permitted to import it to our country.