Complex. Even messy.
That's the reality of prosecuting terrorism cases, former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald told his University of Chicago law school students at the outset of a recent class he taught with law firm colleague Michael Scudder.
The two partners at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom posed multiple hypotheticals — often combinations of real-life cases they had tried or overseen — to show that the reality of prosecuting terrorists is far less tidy than press conferences suggest.
Say there has been a bombing. A citizen reports that his neighbor, who holds extreme political views, previously said he was going to blow up something. The witness didn't take him seriously. But now there has been an attack as described, and the witness reports that the neighbor is scheduled to fly to Pakistan the next day. Is that one unverified tip enough to detain the neighbor at the airport?
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