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Government The Courts United States

Snowden Would Return To US If Government Guarantees Fair Trial (thehill.com) 488

An anonymous reader writes: Edward Snowden said if the government would guarantee him a fair trial, he would return to the United States. Snowden spoke via Skype from Russia on Saturday at the New Hampshire Liberty Forum, WTOP reported. "I've told the government I would return if they would guarantee a fair trial where I can make a public interest defense of why this was done and allow a jury to decide," Snowden said.
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Snowden Would Return To US If Government Guarantees Fair Trial

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, 2016 @11:04AM (#51558123)

    But he still wouldn't get it.

    • But would Assange return to the UK if he was guaranteed enough publicity?
  • Still a bad idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, 2016 @11:05AM (#51558135)

    The US works hard to ensure that Fully Informed (of their right to vote based on conscience rather than facts) jurors are pretty much banned. If you show any signs of being fully informed, you will never be a juror. Easiest way out of jury duty, if you wanted out of it, to be honest, and no worries about penalties either. Just show up and loudly proclaim "I believe in my right to vote not guilty to stop a bad law". You'll never have to show up again, and might even get to leave early.

    • by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @11:23AM (#51558325)

      My father got called up for jury duty once. He was asked what his profession was. He said he was an electrical engineer working for RCA. Both the District Attorney and the defense attorney wanted him tossed out. My father told me that anyone with half a brain got tossed of the potential jury pool.

      There's your fair trial for you . . .

    • The last time that I was called up for jury duty, they asked a question that seemed to me to be weeding for people who know about jury nullification. Unfortunately, I don't remember what the wording of the question was.

      (I don't think it was the 'can you judge the issues only based on the facts presented' ... I think it was something where they specifically mentioned something about only judging the law given.)

      They fully seated the jury before they got to me, though. I expected to be kicked as my dad &

      • by sjames ( 1099 )

        Last time I was in voir dire, I was asked to swear to judge only the facts and not the defendant or the law. When I said I couldn't conscionably swear to that, the judge briefly engaged me in a philosophical discussion of where my responsibility for the defendant's fate ended. When I was not persuaded, I was dismissed.

    • "I believe in my right to vote not guilty to stop a bad law".

      Agreed. If I happened to be on a murder trial I would vote not guilty because the person wasn't being given the death penalty.

      Since the law is a bad law, allowing someone who murdered someone else to be kept around on the taxpayer dime, I would vote not guilty to force the law to be changed.
  • by zenlessyank ( 748553 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @11:08AM (#51558179)
    And I still wouldn't believe them. There is no such thing as a fair trial when the US Govt. is involved. They will hang you, shoot you, or put you to sleep. I understand you are homesick, but that ship has sailed. Unless they offer to make you president, just stay in Russia.
  • Might as well ask if you can discuss the merits of the 2nd Amendment being a final check by The People on an out of control government at the trial because you shot the city dog catcher.

  • Not a good idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by robinsonne ( 952701 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @11:09AM (#51558189)
    A "fair trial" for him ends with him in prison for life, or worse. Stay in Russia and enjoy what little freedom you have Mr. Snowden.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Maybe he understands that freedom is not simply an object of enjoyment, but also intrinsically worthy of the struggle towards it, and not just for himself but also for everyone else?

  • If the judge actually was a kangaroo! That would be adorable!

  • Nope. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, 2016 @11:19AM (#51558281)

    Espionage Act it is. The only defense allowed being "I didn't do it". Which would be rather ridiculous.

    And judge and jury only get to decide "did he do it?".

    There is nothing in store for Edward Snowden but a sham trial with hardwired "Guilty" verdict. The U.S. won't clean up their ridiculous laws allowing the government to get predetermined results when they really want it. Most certainly not in order to benefit Snowden or any old whistleblower;.

  • IANAL, but my understanding of criminal trials is that the accused - not the law - is on trial. My understanding is that the jury needs to decide whether or not the state presented a solid argument for the accused having committed the offense(s) they are accused of. I am not aware of a situation where the jury is tasked with evaluating the validity of the law under which the accused is charged.

    I'm not saying that the acts of the NSA were justified or constitutional, I'm just saying that the criminal cas
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, 2016 @11:25AM (#51558345)

      It's called jury nullification, and the legal system really, really, really doesn't like it, even though its totally a thing.

      • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

        Are you sure its legal to tell people about that? It will probably get them kicked off the jury.

    • Every jury has to judge the quality of a law as well as the consequences of punishments. There are moral outrages in our system. There are actually people serving life with no hope of parole who have done next to nothing wrong at all. There are people serving very long sentences who had cops plant evidence to bury them alive. Recently a man was released who had spent 40 years in an isolation cell in Louisiana. Cruel and unusual punishment leaps to mind. Here is why laws sometimes need to be
    • IANAL, but my understanding of criminal trials is that the accused - not the law - is on trial. My understanding is that the jury needs to decide whether or not the state presented a solid argument for the accused having committed the offense(s) they are accused of. I am not aware of a situation where the jury is tasked with evaluating the validity of the law under which the accused is charged.

      I'm not saying that the acts of the NSA were justified or constitutional, I'm just saying that the criminal case against Snowden is not the place where that is to be evaluated.

      The jury can vote any way they want, and they literally rule in the court room. The judge is basically a referee. (In most jurisdictions in the US) The jury might judge based on the law or they might judge based on the fact that they think the law is wrong. I recently read about one case where a guy was being prosecuted for having an extremely small amount of marijuana and they let him off because they thought it was a monumental waste of time and money to prosecute a guy for having a roach.

      They can lit

    • by fnj ( 64210 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @12:15PM (#51558931)

      For pete's sake, inform yourself. Prosecutors and judges try to railroad jurors by lying to them about their powers and duties all the time, but the truth is that a jury, once empaneled, is completely free to reach a finding of not guilty for ANY REASON, and it does not have to reveal what that reason is. A jury's responsibility is awesome, and its power of decision is absolute. That decision cannot be invalidated just because the judge disagrees with it, or disagrees with the process used.

    • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @01:02PM (#51559341) Homepage Journal

      Look up jury nullification. It is deeply embedded in common law (The U.S. has common law) and has on more than one occasion been used to prevent a miscarriage of justice.

      On a more practical level, there is no way to stop it while offering a fair trial. The judge is not entitled to hear the jury's deliberation and may not direct the jury to give a guilty verdict (including by threatening punishment).

  • by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @11:24AM (#51558335)

    Offer him a fair trial with a standing executive order that says that the Attorney General must conduct an after the fact review of the US Attorney's conduct and bring criminal charges for even the slightest technicality from Brady violations on down. The slightest misconduct and you're fucking crucified by order of the President.

    It would give Snowden no excuse, make us look fair and still accomplish their goal of prosecuting him. They just lacked imagination, I guess.

    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      They missed what chance? What would they gain? The way the duopoly works is that you blame the others and that is about it.

      All you need to do is say once in a while what you know people want to hear and then when it becomes law, change it to what you were paid to do. All the while pointing fingers.

      This goes for both parties.

      Meddling with womething liek Snowden will gain them nothing. The best scenario is that he is found guilty and people will say that it was setup and they loose. The worst is that he is se

    • Actually a very interesting angle. Publicly pledge to take the high road (maybe even on more things than just Snowden!). Promise to do it fairly, by the absolute letter of the law, to give the defendant every opportunity to defend himself--and secure not only his return but an unimpeachable conviction (if they can get it).

      Is it just me, or is it incredibly sad that a candidate publicly, specifically committing their future government be fair and honorable would be a headline-worthy occasion?
    • by DewDude ( 537374 )
      They have plenty of imagination. They imagined they're going to execute him as a traitor the moment he steps on US soil; and that's what they set out to do.

      They don't want to give him a trial; they don't want to do anything fairly. In their opinion; he's committed treason against the US....that has a punishment of death. And due to his treason against the US; they will deny him all constitutional rights and there will be no trial. The plane will land, some MP will put a bullet in his head. We will be tol
  • I just rewatched the pilot episode of Star Trek: TNG - I know how "fair trials" work.

  • They promise that you'll get your day in a closed courtroom (with press barred) at some point after many years of sitting lock-up in a pre-trial detention.

  • can he pay a jury more then $50 a day? for a long trail?

    To get a good one you may need to pay $100-$150 a day to people so they don't try to get out of it.

  • Same as Julian Assange, who will leave Ecuadorian embassy under some conditions. Until either of those things happens, it's just talk. My guess is that Snowden would return for a fair trial under laws where disclosing state secrets to journalists is potentially legal if it's in public interest, even in a non-emergency situation.

  • I hope he already knows that the difference between what promises they will make to get him to the US, and what they will actually do after they have him in custody, are two totally different things.

  • by slashdot_commentator ( 444053 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @01:27PM (#51559581) Journal

    On Saturday, Snowden said some of his former colleagues at the NSA and CIA said "the Constitution doesn't really matter."

    If you don't believe the COTUS really matters, then you don't believe in "the rule of law" and that law must be followed in all situations. What it really means is what people currently in power consider important overrides "the rule of law".

  • by Whatchamacallit ( 21721 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @07:39PM (#51563097) Homepage

    Snowden broke many laws and confidential secrecy agreements, he put lives at risk, he notified enemies of the state about tactics, methods, and abilities in intelligence gathering. That allowed our enemies to change their tactics to avoid detection and to go after those names that were leaked. Not going to change the fact that he will spend the rest of his life in prison. Any trial that would occur would be purely about him breaking those laws and proving it. It is irrelevant that he uncovered shady government practices proving the spy agencies broke laws (well laws known to be public anyway). He won't be allowed to testify about any of the secrets he stole in a public court. This is intelligence and that game has always been less than legal. Spy agencies break laws, it's what they do and in the real world it is a necessary evil. So there is no way he will get a fair trial because his idea of a fair trial is to put the government on trial during his defense and he simply won't be allowed to do that. He cannot present secret evidence even if it is now public knowledge. In the 1940's he would have had a speedy secret clandestine trial and taken out back and shot by firing squad and his next of kin would have been fed a lie if his body was even returned. Enemies of the USA would have just disappeared him entirely. Maybe sending his personal belongings, teeth, jewelry, and a bit of ash back to the family in a cigar box delivered by a Nazi Youth courier on a bicycle.

    9/11 changed things, the enemy is among us. The spy agencies now have to spy on Americans. The shooter in San Bernardino was an American with an immigrant wife from Pakistan. Americans are traveling to Syria to train and fight with ISIS. Americans are providing material support to terrorists. Enemies are crossing the Mexican and Canadian borders unopposed. Just look at the public list of terror attacks since 2000 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrorism_in_the_United_States#2000s). What do you think they are going to do? Of course they are going to spy on Americans, they have no choice. How many attacks have they prevented or stopped? We may never know...

    Where do I stand on Apple's iPhone encryption? I like the fact that its heavily encrypted to protect my privacy but I hate the fact that terrorists will now use a newer iPhone 6 and up, disabling the finger print scanner, setting a strong password with a wipe after 10 attempts set, utilizing the secure enclave chip, turning off iCloud backup and Find my iPhone features, disabling GPS Location Services, disabling the control center and notifications while locked and using Messages iOS iOS for end to end encryption or maybe a third party app with similar encryption. Apple provides a pretty darn good solution for the terrorists. At the same time, I want that protection for myself but I also want the bad guys to get caught. It's a real world Catch-22 for sure... What's behind all this pressure on Apple? Well the 3 letter agencies are plenty cheesed off they can no longer spy on iOS devices like they used to. I mean a smartphone is a gold mine to them. Imagine turning on the microphone and using it to eavesdrop or obtain your GPS coordinates showing where you have been. The metadata alone is super useful. Snowden revealed they were accessing smartphones at will for quite some time!

    At this point, it is not legal for the government to force Apple to comply there is no law that says they have to comply. The request is not a warrant because obtaining a warrant in this case is going to be difficult. I don't care what anyone says, this is not about one iPhone, not at all. Apple is right, once they do what the government wants it will open up thousands of additional requests and then foreign governments will do the same. Then the government will ask for more, they will want master private keys to iOS Messenger traffic and other encrypted data on iOS and iCloud. That's exactly how corporate America encrypts their systems with a PKI server issuing keys to each user. When a

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