May 4th, 2010
11:00 AM ET

What to watch for N.Y. bomb suspect's hearing

Faisal Shahzad, 30, will appear in a Manhattan courtroom Tuesday, officials said.

Editor's note: CNN's Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin takes a look at what we can expect to see out of today's hearing in connection with the Times Square bomb plot.

Much of what will happen to Faisal Shahzad in federal district court today is predictable.  One very important part is not.

Shahzad will probably be arraigned on a variety of charges, including use of an incendiary device and terrorism. He will be assigned a lawyer. He will not - obviously - be released on bail. The charges are likely to change and be expanded when the case is presented to a grand jury, but Shahzad will not be eligible for the death penalty because (fortunately) no one died as a result of his actions.

The big unanswered question is whether Shahzad will be charged with conspiracy.

The authorities clearly believe that he was a central figure in the plot to bomb Times Square, but what's unknown is if they believe that he acted alone. If he was not alone, the question then is whether his alleged co-conspirators are also in custody.

We'll know more about this critical question after Shahzad appears in court today.

soundoff (165 Responses)
  1. The Focus Guy

    Joe.... I think you bring up a very interesting observation. Who is to say this is not a "test run." This terrorist are gauging our response... and we should be taking ALL STEPS NECESSARY to make sure we are miles ahead of them to prevent another 911 scenario. I do not propose torture because as Pat said "People who are tortured will say anything to get the torture to stop, whether it is true or not." However, we should consider ALL our legal options and act quickly to implement them. I am pleased how the administration, police, and others involved in the operation have conducted themselves.

    May 4, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Tommy

    Watch american history x and tell me... do you really think the death penalty is more punishment than a life sentence in a pound you in the sun don't shine penal system?

    May 4, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Tommy

    Worst part of this case is how all the detectives and such commented on how amateur this guy was, and how he left clues everywhere he went, yet it took them several days and almost missed arresting this guy... who's the amateur now?

    May 4, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  4. JB

    If America gets serious with the Countries who sponsor "terrorism", then this will stop in 24 hours. On the other hand, if we make " friendship" and make them " allies", then there will be no end to this terrorism. Rewards will re inforce habits and only punishments can stop it.
    The epi center of Islamic terrorism is Pakistan, and there is no way around to stop it, other than being strict with them. At least we should stop rewarding them.

    May 4, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Red Ferrari

    My brother N. Fidel posted above exactly what I was thinking...does anyone in this comment column bent on tough prosecution of terrorists, or do you want to see them all sent home, so they can come back and repeat their malcontent? Or is this country in need of mass psychiatry?

    May 4, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tommy

    @Red Ferrari

    Your brother n. fidel also thinks that people 3-4 arms.

    May 4, 2010 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  7. a humnan

    This guy is a naturalized citien. That means he could lave the US for a long time and not return. Non citizens can only leave for 3 months at a time. He will be stripped of his citizenship. Time to start charging spouses and other family members as well of men lie this.

    May 4, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Kknnee

    I think" mojo" is alias for Dick Cheney.

    May 4, 2010 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Sam Planters

    I blame Obama. It's Obama's fault... as well as the BP Oil Rig disaster, it's Obama's fault... oh yea, and also the Volcano is Obama's fault too...

    May 4, 2010 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  10. scott philbrick

    Not to second-guess the great Toobin, but I believe his assessment on the absence of Mirandization of the NY bomb suspect, is incorrect. Could not the principle of "the fruit of the poisonous tree" render inadmissible any evidence gleaned from subsequent investigation based on statements made by the suspect without Miranda? I believe "inevitable discovery" is the only exception to that rule.

    May 4, 2010 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Wrodyl Eggwhyte

    This guy is going to end up the same way as Richard Reid (the shoebomber): permanent incarceration. His meaningful life is effectively over.

    May 4, 2010 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  12. TheKurgan

    I can put this whole thing in perspective. There are 2 parties...Democrat/Liberal/Extremist/Muzzie Lovers and Republican/Libertarian/Conservitive/Christian. If you're the former, you're also a terrorist...that's really the only catch which you probably didn't realize.

    May 4, 2010 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Scott

    @hillcoguy: Why would you say something as idiotic as that? Nobody is interested in letting this guy walk and in fact, it is a liberal administration that intends to put him behind bars for life.

    What a dum fu*k to try to bring politics into something as critical as this. Go drop another Teabag.

    May 4, 2010 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
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