Keep terror trials out of civilian courts, Staten Island state Sen. Andrew Lanza says

Andrew J Lanza

April 07, 2011

Published: Thursday, April 07, 2011, 7:42 AM, Staten Island Advance

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- A bill that would prohibit the state and its local governments from providing funding for terror trials has been re-introduced by state Sen. Andrew Lanza.

While the Obama administration earlier this week backed down in its quest to have 9/11 terror suspects tried in federal court in Lower Manhattan, Lanza said the legislation, which he first introduced last year, is just as crucial as ever to prevent such trials from being held in civilian courts in the future rather than before a military tribunal.

"Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and his co-conspirators executed the largest mass murder in American history," said Lanza (R-Staten Island). "Mass-murdering foreign enemies of America should not be afforded the same privileges and rights which are afforded American citizens under the U.S. Constitution."

Lanza has been a vocal opponent of the civilian trails, calling them an "ill-conceived plan."

He introduced the measure last year but it failed to pass in the state Senate, then controlled by Democrats. He said he is confident of passage this time around.

Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) is the Assembly sponsor.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced Monday that the trials will be overseen by a military commission.

Opposition to holding the trials in New York has been widespread among lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, and Congress has passed legislation prohibiting the transfer of any detainees from prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the U.S. to stand trial.