The decision from the judges was unamimous. This was the first time ever that a verdict was voided and a new trial ordered based on the refusal of the original court to permit a change of venue.
This is a spectacular victory. A lawyer active in the Free The Five campaign told me months ago the appeal was a long shot and they didn’t expect to win because, well, no such appeal had ever won before.
Until now, that is! Congratulations to lead attorney Leonard Weinglass (yes, he was a defense lawyer for the Chicago Seven in the 60’s) and to the thousands of others across the globe who have mobilized and worked tirelessly to free the Cuban Five.
From the concluding paragraph (pdf) of the Cuban Five decision:
In light of the foregoing discussion, the defendantsÃ¯Â¿Â½ convictions are
REVERSED and we REMAND for a new trial.
One of our most sacred freedoms is the right to be tried fairly in a noncoercive atmosphere.
Thus, in the final analysis, we trust that any disappointment with our judgment in this case will be tempered and balanced by the recognition that we are a nation of laws in which every defendant, no matter how unpopular, must be treated fairly. Our Constitution requires no less.
From the News Dissector
The appeals judges savaged the prosecution, noting: “He may prosecute with earnestness and vigor — indeed, he should do so. But, while he may strike hard blows, he is not at liberty to strike foul ones. It is as much his duty to refrain from improper methods calculated to produce a wrongful conviction as it is to use every legitimate means to bring about a just one.” (Words that should be posted on the wall of every prosecutor in the country!)
Two of the Cuban Five were born in the U.S. Thus, they can’t be deported if/when they are finally freed.
Plus, I assume they will be released from prison very soon because their guilty verdict was voided.
Free The Five