Do terrorism suspects deserve the same legal rights as other defendants in court?

The Obama administration has announced that it will prosecute five men charged in the 9/11 attacks in civilian court. Critics of the decision argue that accused terrorists do not deserve the legal rights afforded by the U.S. justice system. Do terrorism suspects deserve the same legal rights as other defendants in court?

  • Mark Cookson

    Absolutely! Remember the Founding Fathers would have been considered terrorists.

  • Jim!!!

    Rights are meaningless unless they apply to everyone.

  • Yes, they do. The only way to ensure the justice system remains fair is if all defendants get the same rights, regardless of the seriousness of the crime with which they are accused. By taking away these men’s rights, we run the risk of sinking to their level.

  • bsimon

    “Critics of the decision argue that accused terrorists do not deserve the legal rights afforded by the U.S. justice system.”

    What I’ve never understood is how the critics know that accussed terrorists are guilty before there’s been a trial.

  • Douglas Burt

    It depends on how you look at. Are those rights privileges earned through citizenship or are they a statement of values that define who we are as a people?

  • Katherine

    Are terrorism suspects human beings?

    Are terrorism suspects innocent until proven guilty?

    Is the United States a government that stands for equal rights and justice?

    I think the answer is obvious.

  • Curt Coolman

    The key word in that question is “suspects.” All people deserve legal rights, period.

  • KK

    Thanks fellow MPR listeners. I always love reading the comments at this site. Overall they are thoughtful and demonstrate more insight on what is driving policy than some of the other sites I look at.

    I having nothing to add over what has already been stated other than my thanks.

  • CJ Ford

    There’s a reason the goddess Justice is depicted as being blindfolded. As soon as we separate people into “us” and “them” categories, we compromise our integrity and ethics in any matter pertaining to legal rights. This route, in turn, compromises what we say we stand for as a country and opens us up to similar injustice.

  • Mary

    Our justice system defines a core value of American society. If we start picking and choosing who has legal rights under our justice system, we might as well not have a justice system, and throw all of our American values out the window.

  • aaron

    A person is a person is a person.

  • Tony

    We can not pick and choose who does or does not deserve rights. This country’s legal system is set up so everyone is innocent until proven guilty, regardless of the crime.

  • Jeff in Blaine

    Do they deserve it? No. Does our system deserve to treat them that way regardless of the fact? Yes. It strengthens our legal system, our philosophy of justice, our people when we give even the most undeserving murderer or pedophile rights under the law and convict them legitimately. America deserves to treat them that way even if they don’t deserve it.

  • Kara Williams-Zenith

    Absolutely. Same rights, same laws, same justice for all.

  • David Arcaine

    Careful passing judgement before the facts are established. Those who push for punishing the undetermined are those who are the most surprised when they themselves become charged. Remember, tolerance of others equality is the price of freedom.

  • Chad Holst

    That fact that people even ask this questions shows a lack of understanding “equality and democracy”. Our governmental system is not designed as a way to rules others, but as a way that we rule ourselves. With the rights we are granted under our system’s come responsibilities. We have a responsibility to treat others, as OUR laws allow. My children are not taught that they can swear when around children that are allowed to, my boss does not allow me to steal if i’m in the presence of a thief, and hopefully my country doesn’t allow citizens to break the constitution, when in the company of those that do.

    While we are at it, lets ball up and throw away the word “terrorism”. It exists, but only as defined by those that were “terrorized”. I would guess that most of these “terror” suspects were in fact terrorized by seamingly invisible U.S. planes that dropped bombs on their cities. I would never classify my fellow patriots at arms as terrorists, but don’t fool your selves that they are not SOMEONES terrorist.