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Lodi Man Dismissed of Terrorism Charges after 14 years

Posted by Seth Chazin | Mar 12, 2020 | 0 Comments

One of the most-high profile post-9/11 terrorism cases was dismissed recently after a judge last year dismissed the conviction of a Lodi man linked to an alleged al-Qaida sleeper cell and spent 14 years in prison charged with terrorism ( 18 US Code Chapter 113B).

Hamid Hayat, a cherry picker from Lodi, California, was sentenced to 24 years in prison on charges of attending a terrorism training camp in Pakistan and returning to the U.S. to plan a violent attack and lied to the FBI. Hayat confessed to FBI agents during an exhaustive interrogation that he had attended a terrorist training camp, but his attorneys argued that his admissions were fabrications intended to appease the federal agents he hoped would let him go home. His convictions came after a nine-week trial hinged on the contested confession secretly taped conversations with an FBI informant who had been paid $200,000 to infiltrate Lodi's large Muslim community after the 9/11 attacks.

A federal judge overturned his 2006 conviction on the basis that Hayat did not receive proper defense at trial. His previous attorney was inexperienced and did not provide testimony and witnesses that would have proven Hayat was never involved in such a training camp. He was only in Pakistan to visit his family and get married.

The government's effort to protect the country from terrorism went astray.

Prosecutors could have appealed the judge's decision or sought a new trial, but instead filed a brief to dismiss the case.

Hayat would have not been found guilty had the powerful evidence of his innocence won his freedom in 2019 been presented to his jury in 2006. His defense attorney left out a lot of potential alibis that would have proved his innocence, as well as a witness to testify that what prosecutors said was an incriminating note found in Hayat's wallet was in fact a religious supplication commonly carried by many Muslims.

These prosecutions took place during a time of anti-Muslim, post 9/11 hysteria. Justice has finally been served for an innocent man and no person should have been falsely convicted.

About the Author

Seth Chazin

Seth P. Chazin has aggressively defended clients in thousands of felony and misdemeanor cases for over 30 years. He has extensive experience representing criminal defendants in federal and state court, while handling both state and federal appeals as well.


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“The death penalty is a lie, a misguided mistake born of anger and frustration. Capital punishment has become a perverse monument to inequality, to how some lives matter and others do not. It is a violent example of how we protect and value the rich and abandon and devalue the poor. The death penalty is a grim, disturbing shadow formed by the legacy of racial apartheid and bias against the poor that condemns the disfavored among us, but corrupts us all. It’s the perverse symbol elected officials use to strengthen their ‘tough on crime’ reputations and distract us from confronting the causes of violence. It is finally the enemy of grace, redemption and all of us who recognize that each person is more than their worse act.”
- Bryan Stevenson