You've heard that hoary stat about how civilian courts have issued convictions in 400 terrorism cases. But that doesn't actually tell you all that much. Covinctions out of... how many cases?
So I asked Karen Greenberg, director of NYU's Center on Law and Security to help me out here. According to Karen, if you count dismissals by either the judge or the government, the conviction rate in terrorism cases is 87 percent. If you don't, the rate is 95 percent.
That's compared to a 91 percent conviction rate (.pdf) for all criminal cases.
Initially, I asked about this wondering if the stats wouldn't be something like 98 percent or something -- in other words, an indication that maybe we counterintuitively have a kangaroo court system for civilian terrorism convictions. But the stats don't really bear it out. If the rate hovers around the 91 percent all-convictions rate, then if we have a problem with the fairness of convictions at all, it's hardly limited to terrorism. Score one for getting the data.
And yes, this isn't exactly timely, but still. I don't need no hook for this shiiiiiiiiiit