A Sharply Divided House of Representatives Passes Counter-Terrorism Bill

March 15, 1996

Jimmy Landano, convicted of killing a police officer, sentenced to life in prison. On February 25, 1994, a New Jersey state court of appeal unanimously granted Jimmy Landano’s habeas corpus petition, overturning an 18-year-old murder conviction for fatally shooting Newark police officer John Snow. Although Landano was completely innocent of the crime, he was incarcerated for 13 years. Landano speaks briefly about his case and explains the term 'habeas corpus'.

Bud Welsh was one of the few to speak out publicly against the death penalty, When his daughter Julie — a translator for the Social Security Administration and Welsh’s only child — was killed in the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City.

Welsh explains that he feels victimized and taken advantage of, again, by politicians using him and other family members of the bombing victims, to put forth their own agendas, without consideration for the wishes of the grieving families.

Nick Guess — Director of Intergovernmental Relations at the Justice Department — says that the bill in question was set up, prior to the Oklahoma City Federal Building bombing to "deal with the burgeoning threat of international terrorism". He says that several weeks subsequent to the bombing, President Clinton added a "supplement" to the bill to "deal with some of the issues that are investigative needs, to cope with domestic terrorism issues as well. These will assist not only in domestic terrorism cases, but in criminal and foreign counter-intelligence matters as well". He states that they are intended to "protect American lives, without trampling on American Rights".

Leslie Hagin — Legislative Director of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers — states that the bill "did NOT strike that proper measure of being sensitive to civil rights and liberties."

The guest debate the bill. Bud Welsh closes the bill with a statement that though the bill was ostensibly passed in response to the Oklahoma City bombing, it was signed in haste, without considering any aspects relevant to the bombing.

Segment Subjects (keywords for the segment):House of Representatives, Counter-Terrorism Bill, habeas corpus, terrorism, legislation, civil rights, vested rights, Bill of Rights, Department of Justice, Congress, John Snow, Jimmy Landano, Bud Welsh, Julie Welsh, Nick Guess, Leslie Hagen, life imprisonment, wrongful imprisonment, suppression of evidence, "fighting terrorism is nothing but a smokescreen", bombing victims, USA PATRIOT Act, liberty, anti-terrorism, unconstitutional error, appeal, legal review

Guest Names:Jimmy Landano, Bud Welsh, Leslie Hagin, Nick Guess

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