My name is Justin W. Jones and I am a 3L evening student at the IU McKinney School of Law. I work as an accountant, and I am also an extern at the United States District Court- Southern District of Indiana. I am honored to have been selected as an observer for the IU McKinney U.S. Military Commission Observation Project and look forward to contributing to the project. I am scheduled to monitor the hearing of Abd al-Rahim Hussein Muhammed Abdu al-Nashiri. My fellow IU McKinney classmate, David Frangos, has an excellent post on this blog discussing the upcoming al-Nashiri hearing (dated October 10, 2016).
As I type this post, I am currently finishing a fall break road trip with my fiancée and daughter. We are driving over 4,000 miles in nine days and have had the opportunity to see and experience many great parts of our country. Some of the highlights of the trip were Yellowstone National Park, Jackson Hole, the Badlands, and Mt. Rushmore.
While looking at Mt. Rushmore, I was reminded of a quote by Abraham Lincoln: “[A] law may be both constitutional and expedient, and yet may be administered in an unjust and unfair way.” The Military Commission Observation Project allows us to hold our government accountable for administering our laws in a just and fair manner. We owe it not only to the defendants, but also the victims and their families, the media, the prosecutors, and everyone else to ensure that our government is held to a high standard that makes us proud to be Americans. My goal is to accurately and impartially report my observations.
I will be monitoring the proceedings in the case against al Nashiri. He is the alleged mastermind of the 2000 bombing of the U.S.S. Cole, which resulted in the death of 17 U.S. sailors. The hearing was originally scheduled to run from October 17 to October 21. I have been informed that the court has reduced the hearing down to three days, October 17-19. I will be leaving Indianapolis on October 18 and plan to arrive at Ft. Meade by 8:30am the same day. If everything occurs as scheduled, I will be able to monitor the hearing on October 18 and 19.
I was notified that the hearing scheduled for today was delayed until the early afternoon. Further, the video feed to Ft. Meade was not working. Hopefully the IT issues will be fixed by tomorrow morning.
Preparing for the hearing
I have used the many hours I’ve spent in the car over the past week to prepare for the upcoming hearing. I have been reading the Guantanamo Bay Fair Trial Manual and the many excellent posts on this blog. I hope that my efforts are beneficial in promoting transparency in the legal proceedings that will occur this week.
I look forward to making more posts in the next couple of days.