Sunday, March 7, 2010

John Adams Answers Liz Cheney

From His Autobiography, and The Defense of the British Soldiers Accused in the Boston Massacre

From the Autobiography:

The next morning, Mr. Forrest [a Tory Boston Merchant], came to
me with tears streaming from his eyes. He said to me "Captain Preston is
in Prison, he wishes for counsel and can get none. I have waited upon
Josiah Quincy (an attorney and Adams' brother-in-law) who says he will engage if
you give him your assistance, without it, positively he will have

I had no hesitation in answering that counsel ought to be the very last
thing that an accused person should want in a free country. That the
Bar ought, in my opinion, to be free and independant and impartial at all times
and in every circumstance, and that persons whose lives are at stake ought to
have the counsel they prefered. . .Every lawyer must hold himself responsible
not only to his country, but to that highest and most infallible of all
tribunals. He (Preston) must therefore expect from me no art or address,
no sophistry or preverication in such a cause; nor anything more than Fact,
evidence, and the law would justify.

When Forrest told Adams that he believed Captain Preston to be innocent Adams replied "That is for us to ascertain at trial."

For Liz Cheney to infer that an attorney who undertakes the defense of a member of Al Qaeda to be therefore, themselves suspect of being terrorists strikes at the heart and soul of our legal system. Of course, the Cheney family has shown time and again their utter contempt for the law and due process, along with their disdain for picky little things like the Constitution.

John Adams knew he would incur the wrath and contempt of many of the patriots. Luckily, his reputation for integrity and honor remained well intact.

In his opening statement to the jury he said:

Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our
inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of
facts and evidence.

If the people of Boston in September of 1770 were capable of giving a free and fair trial to British Soldiers, what does it say about our nation today when we cannot bring ourselves to do the same for two bit thugs and terrorists?