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Appeals Judge Seeks Secret Trials (Not)

Posted Jul 2, 2007 6:17 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A 7th Circuit judge reportedly created a stir amongst visitors from the Australian legal community at a recent Chicago conference, when he allegedly advocated secret trials for terrorists, among other non-traditional approaches to deal with this relatively new threat to the United States.

Speaking of the possibility that terrorist plots are being discussed among some of the roughly 3 million members of the Muslim community in the U.S. and Canada, Judge Richard Posner told the group, according to the Australian newspaper:

"What we have to do is discover the extent of the terrorist threat to the U.S. There is a danger, and it demands a rethinking of some of our conventional views on the limits of national security measures. We should think of surveillance as preventative, not punitive. We should think of controls that have nothing to do with warrants or traditional criminal justice to prevent abuses."

Posner, though, says the report of his alleged advocacy of such methods is highly exaggerated. "The report of my talk in the Australian newspaper ... is a complete garble," Posner is quoted as saying in an e-mail to the Chicago Sun-Times, which ran a brief story today about his talk. "I don't advocate secret trials, profiling, or the characterization of the conflict with terrorism as a 'war.' "

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