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

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Preacherman, May 11, 2004.

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  1. Preacherman

    Preacherman Member

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    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.
     
  2. LAR-15

    LAR-15 Member

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

    How is that racist?
     
  3. HRT

    HRT Member

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    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..
     
  4. XLMiguel

    XLMiguel Member

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    :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:
     
  5. TCD

    TCD Member

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    sounds like a good shooting to me


    And a career criminal is an animal.
     
  6. jimpeel

    jimpeel Member

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    Doesn't that make them a bunch of KAARPRs -- in a phonetic sorta way?

     
  7. Treylis

    Treylis Member

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

    buy guns Member

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    we need more people like this judge
     
  9. nico

    nico Member

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    'nuff said. It's about damn time the justice system start standing up for innocent people who defend themselves!
     
  10. one45auto

    one45auto Member

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

    longrifleman Member

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    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".
     
  12. idd

    idd Member

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    I can't believe that they even indicted Al Kurdi. Three cheers for Judge McDonald.
     
  13. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

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    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:
     
  14. glocksman

    glocksman Member

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    That's Louisville for you.
    According to my Kentucky friends, Louisville has a large number of blissninnies and fools.
     
  15. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    Precisely.
     
  16. jfh

    jfh Member

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    and the question is, just HOW

    did this poor SOB get indicted in the first place? Anyone here follow the local politics?
     
  17. Unlucky

    Unlucky member

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    Where I haven't won "life's lottery" yet.
    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.
     
  18. StuporDave

    StuporDave Member

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    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? ;)
     
  19. buy guns

    buy guns Member

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    that seems to be how it works
     
  20. glocksman

    glocksman Member

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    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:
     
  21. fjolnirsson

    fjolnirsson Member

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    If I'm ever in Kentucky, I'm gonna stop and buy that judge a beer!
    Good riddance to bad rubbish!
     
  22. Hawkmoon

    Hawkmoon Member

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    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:
     
  23. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    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:
     
  24. Unlucky

    Unlucky member

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    Pest animals in many states don't require a license. :D
     
  25. jimpeel

    jimpeel Member

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    You don't need a license to shoot a cur.
     
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