Public defense for terror suspect blasted

Jan. 10, 2010 at 7:21 PM
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DETROIT, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- Critics say it's outrageous to spend U.S. taxpayer funds on three public defenders for a Nigerian terrorism suspect.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, charged with trying to destroy a Northwest Airlines flight on Christmas Day as it prepared to land in Detroit, was represented by a trio of public defenders when he appeared for an arraignment hearing last week, drawing criticism from some, the Detroit Free Press reported Sunday.

Critics said the resources given to Abdulmutallab at a time when public resources are scarce for indigent criminal defendants in Michigan is indefensible.

"It's nauseating," Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich., told the newspaper, adding she believes Abdulmutallab should be tried in a military court, not a civilian one.

Rev. Wendell Anthony, president of the Detroit branch of the NAACP, told the Free Press, "Does that mean that people who are in the system now will not get all of the service that they need? Quite frankly, I think it does."

But, Anthony added, "For us not to give (Abdulmutallab) his day in court, for us just to cut him off at the knees ... without a hearing, if we do that, then we become what our enemies are."

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