Freshfruit, thanks for your post on my blog. You wrote:
April 6, 2016 at 3:36 am
Freshfruit to Lester Kok…
I agree with judge cole that amos yee prosecution was politically motivated.
Be that as it may, here are 3 reasons that Judge Cole’s decision will be reversed:
1. The next phase of Amos Yee’s asylum challenge, namely, the review of Judge Cole’s ruling, will come under the administrative arm — and not the judicial, meaning there are no Judges per se involved in this stage — i.e., the EOIR’s (Executive Office of Immigration Review) administrators under the Department of Justice (DOJ) will do the review. [For a fuller description of the appeals bureaucracy read my earlier post at this link: https://lester978.wordpress.com/2017/04/03/a-surreal-private-conversation-with-amos-yee/ ] This 2nd stage of Amos’ challenge will throw his asylum matter into high political relief. DOJ (under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, appointed by Trump to deal with the alien influx problem) will soon align itself with DHS which is no friends with Amos from day one — they just refuse to let him out even Amos has no history of violence. [https://lester978.wordpress.com/2017/03/29/ten-reasons-why-amos-yees-asylum-victory-will-be-short-lived/] The appeal outcome of this stage 2 is a foregone conclusion due to its political disposition. The question really is: does his pro bono attorney Ms. Grossman look forward to the third stage of the legal challenge? … i.e., the Circuit Court of Appeals where a panel of 3 Federal appellate judges will preside.
2. Freshfruit, the legal opinion of Judge Cole — who happens to be a new judge barely 6 months on his current job; Amos did luck out in that sense — is but drawn from one out of about 250 Immigration Judges. His role as an impartial IJ is to listen to both sides of the arguments to determine if Amos was a genuine case of government-orchestrated persecution and maltreatment — crucially, whether he would indeed face further persecution and peril if returned home. He decided in favor of Amos after listening to over 7 hours of witness testimonies on March 7. However, Judge Cole did indicate in his legal opinion how ill-prepared DHS was during the hearing — DHS presented no witness rebuttal at all. In other words, the defense (Amos) won by default. Evidently, DHS was ill-equipped for trial, its attorneys unfamiliar with the culture of Singapore let alone her political players/witnesses. This slipshod mistake by DHS will be duly remedied in the coming appeal as legal forces between DHS and Singapore Embassy will be joined.
3. And finally, the biggest argument that can be made for the appeal against Judge Cole’s ruling is his lack of balance in evidentiary evaluations. Instead of weighing all the evidence in its proper context and looking at the overall picture of Amos’ total activities, especially in 2016 — the Judge could very well be under-apprised of the full sequence of events that took place in 2016 due to DHS’s overconfident, take-it-for-granted posture at trial — the Judge narrowly concentrated only on the judicial mistakes of Amos’ first trial in 2015. In fact, I concur with Judge Cole about the mistakes at the first trial that it prompted my dispatching a letter of criticism straight to her office (Amos Yee’s Judge) at the conclusion of his first trial in 2015. https://lester978.wordpress.com/2016/11/24/an-open-letter-to-judge-jasvender-kaur-following-her-ruling-on-amos-yee/
But Judge Cole apparently disregarded the other half of what occurred in 2016 in order to justify his tenuous hypothesis of government-orchestrated persecution against Amos. It is interesting to note what The Economist mag said of his ruling: “Immigration judges often grant asylum with a simple, spoken ruling. This one explained himself over 13 pages.” And one possible explanation for that could be that the good Judge was in a state of cognitive dissonance after finding for Amos … hence felt the need to go on a 13-page disquisition, in a subconscious effort to overcompensate for any apparent deficiencies in his asylum ruling for Amos. http://mothership.sg/2017/04/the-economist-makes-2-valid-points-with-latest-amos-yee-article/
Ron Woolrich responded — Lester Kok: Thanks for the reply. I am familiar with American jurisprudence (as I hold a J.D.) but not Singapore law, so I took the “blasphemy” charge at face value. Anyway, those anti-blasphemy laws in the U.S. are state laws and relics of an earlier era of the law. There is no federal anti-blasphemy law, and, were these laws challenged in federal court (which has supremacy over state courts), they would likely be found to be unconstitutional under the First Amendment. There are also no “communal harmony” restrictions on free speech in the U.S. or laws against religious disparagement as these would also be unconstitutional as against First Amendment protections. Although such prosecutions would be legal in Singapore, no U.S. court would recognize them as valid under U.S. law.