ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — For more than five years, a federal judge upset with the continued prosecution of a Florida professor once accused as a leading terrorist has simply refused to rule on his case.
That has left the government unable to deport him, unable to prosecute him and flummoxed on how to move forward.
In April 2009, U.S. District Judge Leonie (LAY'-uh-nee) Brinkema told lawyers she would rule "soon" on whether to dismiss a criminal contempt case against Sami Al-Arian, a longtime Palestinian activist. Since then, nothing has happened.
The delay is especially unusual in a courthouse known as the "rocket docket" for its swift disposition of cases.
Brinkema has questioned whether Al-Arian is being treated fairly. The delay allows him to avoid deportation and stay with his family in the U.S.