Judge stops murder trial, acquits shooter, calls victim "animal"


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Preacherman
May 11, 2004, 08:51 PM
Two reports from Kentucky about an honest judge! You'll have to read through the liberal commentary to get the full picture, I'm afraid...


1. From the Louisville, KY Courier-Journal (http://www.courier-journal.com/localnews/2004/05/07ky/B1-robbery0507-3851.html):

Judge stops murder trial over evidence

Dead man in robbery is called an 'animal'

By JASON RILEY

Friday, May 7, 2004

The murder trial of a store employee charged with shooting and killing a man during a 2002 robbery attempt was halted yesterday by a Jefferson Circuit Court judge who ruled there was not enough evidence to continue.

In announcing his ruling, Judge Martin McDonald also called the dead man an "animal," according to the wife of the deceased and the prosecutor in the case.

After prosecutors rested their case against Firas Al Kurdi yesterday, McDonald granted his attorney's request for a directed verdict, in essence finding Al Kurdi not guilty of murdering James J. Abdul-Shajee, who was shot three times, once in the back.

Abdul-Shajee's family expressed outrage that the trial was ended, as well as at McDonald's comments from the bench.

"He said that if anybody was a victim, it was Al Kurdi and that we as a community owe him an apology," said Sharon Shajee, Abdul-Shajee's wife. "It was like my husband deserved to die. Whatever he feels, he's a judge. You don't cast your opinion. You're supposed to be" unbiased.

Mac Shannon, a prosecutor in the case, confirmed that the judge had called the dead man an animal, but both he and Steve Tedder, a spokesman for the commonwealth's attorney's office, declined to comment on the remarks.

"The judge will have to answer to that," Tedder said.

McDonald could not be reached for comment last night.

As for the murder trial, "it was a tough case," Tedder said. "We felt like it should go to trial and be decided at trial."

Al Kurdi, who worked at the Shelby Food Mart at 311 S. Shelby St., fatally shot Abdul-Shajee in October 2002 as he tried to rob the store armed with a knife. A Jefferson County grand jury indicted Al Kurdi on one count of murder in March 2003.

Abdul-Shajee was charged posthumously with first-degree robbery.

Police at the time said all three shots that hit Abdul-Shajee were fired inside the store. Armand Judah, an attorney for the Jordanian-born Al Kurdi, declined to comment last night.

In a previous interview, Judah said that his client acted in self-defense, and that Abdul-Shajee, 33, nearly cut off Al Kurdi's nose with a knife during the robbery.

Abdul-Shajee's record included a half-dozen convictions for armed robbery, including a 1994 holdup of the Star of Louisville dinner boat. He was 19 when he tried to rob Brother's Pawn Shop on Market Street with a sawed-off shotgun in 1988. He briefly took a customer hostage, holding the shotgun to his head, according to court records.

Sharon Shajee acknowledged that her husband had tried to rob the Shelby Food Mart, but said that he should not have died and that a jury should have heard the case.


2. Second article, a day later, from the same newspaper (http://www.courier-journal.com/localnews/2004/05/08ky/B3-robbery0508-5085.html):

Family, activists want judge removed

Martin McDonald defends calling robber an 'animal'

By JASON RILEY

Saturday, May 8, 2004

A Jefferson circuit judge yesterday defended a statement he made in court Thursday when he called a man fatally shot while committing a 2002 robbery an "animal."

While some family members and activists are calling for the judge to be removed from the bench, some legal experts noted yesterday that judges are not prohibited from making such comments as long as the case has been decided.

Judge Martin McDonald stopped the murder trial of former store employee Firas Al Kurdi, who was charged with shooting and killing James J. Abdul-Shajee during a robbery, ruling that Al Kurdi should never have been indicted.

"If there is a victim in this room right now, it's" Al Kurdi, McDonald said on Thursday as he made his ruling. "He was viciously assaulted by this animal and his actions were completely reasonable under the circumstances."

Abdul-Shajee's family and members of the Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression have expressed outrage over the comment and are asking for McDonald to be removed.

"This is not just a matter that affects this family," said Anne Braden, of the alliance at a press conference yesterday. "This is an insult to the whole community."

But in a brief interview yesterday, McDonald did not back away from his characterization of Abdul-Shajee, saying the proof is in the evidence presented during the trial and in Abdul-Shajee's background.

Abdul-Shajee nearly cut off Al Kurdi's nose with a knife during the Oct. 12, 2002, robbery at the Shelby Food Mart at 311 S. Shelby St., causing injuries that required several plastic surgery operations, prosecutors have said.

Abdul-Shajee was charged posthumously with first-degree robbery.

"The proof was overwhelming that the shop owner was fending for his life," McDonald said in the interview. "And the perpetrator was not just a robber. This was an attempted murder."

And, McDonald said, Abdul-Shajee had a lengthy record before this incident.

Abdul-Shajee's record included a half-dozen convictions for armed robbery, including a 1994 holdup of the Star of Louisville dinner boat. He was 19 when he tried to rob Brother's Pawn Shop on Market Street with a sawed-off shotgun in 1988. He briefly took a customer hostage, holding the shotgun to his head, according to court records.

Still, Abdul-Shajee's family and some activists say the judge should have kept his opinion to himself.

"If you're going to dismiss the case, that's fine," said Sharon Shajee, Abdul-Shajee's wife. "But don't say that with his family here. If he's going to call anybody who commits a crime an animal, he doesn't need to be there."

The alliance is asking the state Judicial Conduct Commission to remove McDonald from the bench and is calling on the commonwealth's attorney's office to appeal the judge's decision.

But Judicial Conduct Commission Chairman Stephen D. Wolnitzek said yesterday that as long as the judge didn't make the comments during the trial — where it may bias a jury — there is nothing preventing a judge from speaking his or her mind.

"He's got the right to his opinion himself and I don't know of anything that keeps him from doing it," Wolnitzek said. "One could argue that it would be better not to do it ... but judges do it all the time in sentencing."

Still, Braden said the alliance would try to meet with McDonald on Monday to ask him to apologize and resign.

Steve Tedder, a spokesman for the commonwealth's attorney, said there is no appeal to a directed verdict.

Armand Judah, an attorney for the Jordanian-born Al Kurdi, defended McDonald yesterday, saying in a fax to the newspaper that the judge was "absolutely correct" in saying that Al Kurdi was the victim.

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LAR-15
May 11, 2004, 09:04 PM
Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression

The judge stood up for the victim and the victim was Jordanian.

How is that racist?

HRT
May 11, 2004, 09:06 PM
I think that the judge should be the next nominee for the Supreme Court. Give him a Medal of freedom. He called it like it is a career criminal x'd in the act. Now we just need one or two thousand more folks like that to call a spade a spade from the bench and stop the bull crap of coddling the criminal..

XLMiguel
May 11, 2004, 09:08 PM
:scrutiny: If "the alliance" had any sense of decency or morality, they'd be lobbying to remove the Abdul-Shajee family from the face of the Earth. Obviously a poster family for genepool cleansing. :fire: :fire: :fire:

TCD
May 11, 2004, 09:09 PM
sounds like a good shooting to me


And a career criminal is an animal.

jimpeel
May 11, 2004, 09:17 PM
Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression Doesn't that make them a bunch of KAARPRs -- in a phonetic sorta way?

carper

n : someone who frequently finds fault or makes harsh and unfair judgments [syn: critic]

Treylis
May 11, 2004, 09:28 PM
The judge stood up for the victim and the victim was Jordanian.

How is that racist?

Because "racist" is the term that's the most easily used as a smear in modern times.

buy guns
May 11, 2004, 09:40 PM
we need more people like this judge

nico
May 11, 2004, 10:42 PM
we need more people like this judge

'nuff said. It's about damn time the justice system start standing up for innocent people who defend themselves!

one45auto
May 11, 2004, 10:48 PM
If "the alliance" had any sense of decency or morality, they'd be lobbying to remove the Abdul-Shajee family from the face of the Earth. Obviously a poster family for genepool cleansing.

Amen, Mike! That's definitely a gene pool in need of some chlorine.

longrifleman
May 11, 2004, 10:52 PM
Another Darwin candidate who brought a knife to a gun fight. :D

Any gun clubs or ranges in the area to help this guy out with some free ammo and practice time so he can get ready for some reprisals from the "family".

idd
May 11, 2004, 10:52 PM
I can't believe that they even indicted Al Kurdi. Three cheers for Judge McDonald.

El Tejon
May 11, 2004, 10:55 PM
Wow, directed verdict on the Big M! That's a real good day for the tilecrawler. Leave at noon tomorrow and go play golf.:cool:

So, ummm, just how exactly is the prosecutor going to get re-elected with trying cases like this?:uhoh: Maybe our members in Louisville will keep us posted on the coming election and what the prosecution's opponent has to say about self-defense.:scrutiny:

glocksman
May 11, 2004, 11:32 PM
That's Louisville for you.
According to my Kentucky friends, Louisville has a large number of blissninnies and fools.

Standing Wolf
May 11, 2004, 11:32 PM
It was like my husband deserved to die.

Precisely.

jfh
May 11, 2004, 11:35 PM
did this poor SOB get indicted in the first place? Anyone here follow the local politics?

Unlucky
May 12, 2004, 12:16 AM
You'll have to read through the liberal commentary to get the full picture, I'm afraid...

We're used to it. ;)

I think that the perp's estate should have to pay the victim's legal expenses. He may not be going to jail, but he may be going to the poor house, all over a waste of skin.

StuporDave
May 12, 2004, 12:23 AM
The judge stood up for the victim and the victim was Jordanian.
How is that racist?

Person "A" does something.
Person "B" doesn't like what he/she did.
Persons "A" and "B" are of different races.
Therefore person "A" is racist.

Simple, isn't it? ;)

buy guns
May 12, 2004, 12:43 AM
that seems to be how it works

glocksman
May 12, 2004, 12:47 AM
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



The judge stood up for the victim and the victim was Jordanian.

How is that racist?


Given the involvement of Anne Braden, I'd bet money the deceased was black.

If that's so, I'd also bet money that the prosecution was racially motivated, but with an eye to scoring political points with the deceased's race instead of animus towards Mr. Al Kurdi's race.

Personally I hope Mrs. Braden does meet with the Judge, who then will proceed to tell her to take a flying f**k at a rolling doughnut. :neener:

fjolnirsson
May 12, 2004, 12:48 AM
If I'm ever in Kentucky, I'm gonna stop and buy that judge a beer!
Good riddance to bad rubbish!

Hawkmoon
May 12, 2004, 01:03 AM
we need more people like this judge
And fewer people like that prosecutor.

Who in their right mind would even consider charging a guy who shoots an armed robber with murder?

Sheesh! :banghead:

4v50 Gary
May 12, 2004, 01:24 AM
If James Abdul-Shajee is an animal, and Al Kurdi shot him to death, couldn't Al Kurdi be prosecuted for either hunting without a license or for poaching? :D

I think the case should be refiled under proper charges. ;) PETA may file an amicus curiae on behalf of Abdul-Shajee. :p

BTW, kudos to Judge McDonald! :cool: Kudos to Al Kurdi too! :cool:

Unlucky
May 12, 2004, 01:25 AM
Pest animals in many states don't require a license. :D

jimpeel
May 12, 2004, 01:47 AM
You don't need a license to shoot a cur.

Ben Shepherd
May 12, 2004, 08:26 AM
Our courts are getting too powerful.

Aparently the can levey charges against dead people and make them stick.:scrutiny:

But hey if you are enough of a piece of garbage to think you are entitled to take something someone else owns for free, and are stupid enough to end up dead in the process, maybe it's good to know that you'll still be under the laws juristiction.:D

Third_Rail
May 12, 2004, 09:10 AM
Mac Shannon, a prosecutor in the case, confirmed that the judge had called the dead man an animal, but both he and Steve Tedder, a spokesman for the commonwealth's attorney's office, declined to comment on the remarks.

"The judge will have to answer to that," Tedder said.

McDonald could not be reached for comment last night.

As for the murder trial, "it was a tough case," Tedder said. "We felt like it should go to trial and be decided at trial."

Al Kurdi, who worked at the Shelby Food Mart at 311 S. Shelby St., fatally shot Abdul-Shajee in October 2002 as he tried to rob the store armed with a knife. A Jefferson County grand jury indicted Al Kurdi on one count of murder in March 2003.

How is this a "tough case"? A man was in the store (owner?) and it was being robbed. Black and white case, he deserved to be shot, he was a threat. Oh no, antis will squirm at that. Someone robbing ME with a KNIFE is a threat, plain and simple.

longrifleman
May 12, 2004, 09:21 AM
If that's so, I'd also bet money that the prosecution was racially motivated, but with an eye to scoring political points with the deceased's race instead of animus towards Mr. Al Kurdi's race.


DING DING DING

We have a winner.

This is also an example of the English stupidity regarding unequal force seeping into American legal thought (kinda like the blob-the Steve McQueen version). How dare someone use a gun when the other person has a knife. Just isn't cricket, you know.

Sorry agricola et al. Too easy a target.:evil:

Augustwest
May 12, 2004, 09:23 AM
Abdul-Shajee was charged posthumously with first-degree robbery.

:scrutiny:

Nightfall
May 12, 2004, 10:11 AM
Abdul-Shajee's record included a half-dozen convictions for armed robbery, including a 1994 holdup of the Star of Louisville dinner boat. He was 19 when he tried to rob Brother's Pawn Shop on Market Street with a sawed-off shotgun in 1988. He briefly took a customer hostage, holding the shotgun to his head, according to court records.
Yet he still walks the street while we spend our time and money on the next pot raid. At least Al Kurdi finally dispensed what our courts could not. Justice.

Tom Servo
May 12, 2004, 10:43 AM
The judge stood up for the victim and the victim was Jordanian. How is that racist?
Whenever someone doesn't get what they want, whether or not they've earned it, and the offending party is of a different race, it's racism. Come to Atlanta sometime. Sheesh. I don't know how many times I've been called a racist. I have a friend who's Atlanta PD, and his partner keeps a tally-sheet in the car of how many accusations of racism they get. The average? 22/day.

I say, good job to the defendant. Perhaps this will serve as an example to others in the community.

sturmruger
May 12, 2004, 12:10 PM
I agree with what everyone has said we need more judges to take a stand and throw out crap like this.

griz
May 12, 2004, 01:53 PM
It's pretty sad when a violent career criminal attacks a man during a robbery, gets properly disposed of, and the victim is charged with murder.:mad:

Thank God for this good judge:)

gunsmith
May 12, 2004, 05:34 PM
phone numbers and emails so we could send our warm regrds to the judge?
How about letters to the EDitor?

Jake
May 12, 2004, 06:58 PM
"Al Kurdi, who worked at the Shelby Food Mart at 311 S. Shelby St., fatally shot Abdul-Shajee in October 2002 as he tried to rob the store armed with a knife."


Never bring a knife to a gunfight.

standingbear
May 12, 2004, 07:36 PM
seems simple to me..the idjit tried to rob someone and got what was coming to him.An old friend once told me"if you take the dance..youll have to pay the fiddler later....Everything must be this way".Wise words.

CarlS
May 12, 2004, 08:34 PM
It's great to read a thread like this where the good guys win. I like that judge! Thanks for the post, Preacherman.

flatrock
May 12, 2004, 10:19 PM
Abdul-Shajee's record included a half-dozen convictions for armed robbery

Isn't armed robery a felony? Isn't there a three strikes rule? How was this animal not locked up and was able to attack yet another victim?

The shooter did the world a favor.

El Tejon
May 12, 2004, 10:21 PM
Prosecuting the dead? What is this Monty Python.:D

Was anyone else thinking of the Python skit was Cleese was the QC with the coffin on the dock? "I put it to you that you are in fact . . . dead. Knock twice if you are dead.":D :D :D

CaesarI
May 12, 2004, 10:39 PM
The real story here is the media coverage. They did their best to hide the facts behind the judge's decision. While all of us are of the proper mindset to see through this biased reporting, the general public is not.

The tragedy in this story is twofold:
1. Al Kurdi had to pay a lawyer to defend himself.
2. This judge is getting smeared, and may be removed from the bench.

While an accurate statement, it was not prudent on the judge's part to make the statement about the quality of the criminal in this case. Reminds me of the Rachel Corrie crap. I was talking to an official (who will remain unnamed) who was intimitely involved in the case, and he felt as I did, that the girl was an idiot, it ain't like the Bulldozer was movin' real fast. Of coruse he couldn't say such to Corrie's family, but anthing he was going to say they weren't going to like anyway.

Furthermore, the judge's lapse in tact may cost him his job, when we *need* people like him on the job desperately.

-Morgan

stevelyn
May 12, 2004, 11:26 PM
Abdul-Shajee was charged posthumously with First Degree Robbery.

I guess they'll have to find a groundhog to serve him the charging documents.:D

Dex Sinister
May 13, 2004, 12:47 AM
Abdul-Shajee was charged posthumously with first-degree robbery.

Hmmm, well that's a felony, and since a weapon was used in the crime, and someone died during the commission of that felony, so shouldn't we charge him posthumously with first-degree murder -- of himself?

That'd show him!

Dex http://home.pacbell.net/ajoule/firedevil_smiley.gif

jimpeel
May 13, 2004, 01:06 AM
Yeah, and I'll bet he won't be doing it again soon either!

Bubbles
May 13, 2004, 10:47 AM
Ok, place your bets folks... how long do you think it'll be before a wrongful death civil suit is filed against Al Kurdi by the "animal's" family?

I say tomorrow (Friday) at the latest.

greg700
May 13, 2004, 11:32 AM
I like this one:

"he's a judge. You don't cast your opinion"

Because I was under the impression that judges were supposed to.....judge.

and he judged this guy to be an animal.

I don't see why this ever came to trial, it looks like a good shoot to me.

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