It was Eric Holder, if I recall correctly, who decided it would be a bright idea to use a civilian criminal court to try Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, one of the Tanzanian embassy bombers. (You know, "smart on crime" and all). The Justice Department indicted Ghailani on 285 counts, consisting of 284 murder counts and one count of conspiracy to commit murder.
The jury evidently didn't think much of the government's case, since it acquitted Ghailani on all the murder counts and convicted only on the conspiracy charge. That is a 99.65% acquittal rate. To put it another way, the Department came within a hair's breadth of one of the most appalling and scandalous failures in its history. But at least we were going to "show the world" -- meaning, I take it, our enemies in the world -- that we were "enlightened." (Not that they would have or ever will view us as enlightened in any event, nor that such a view vel non makes a particle of difference. National survival is actually more important than the good opinion of terrorists and their sympathizers).
Today, Judge Lewis A. Kaplan partly rescued the Department from the mortification its handling of this case earned by imposing a life sentence. See this story from the Wall Street Journal. Since federal law no longer has parole, this is an LWOP sentence. Not the death penalty, which is what this case obviously warrants, but better than the Department's fecklessness deserves.
Thank you, Judge Kaplan, and no thank you, Eric Holder.
[The judgment is here -- KS]