9/11 Terror Trial Judge to Speak on High Profile Trials

Lexington, VA Thursday, March 04, 2010

On Tuesday, March 16, the Hon. Leonie M. Brinkema, U.S. District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Virginia, will deliver the 2010 Tucker Lecture at Washington and Lee University School of Law. The title of her talk is "Managing Perfect Storms: A Judicial Perspective on the Challenges Presented by High Visibility Cases."

The lecture is scheduled to begin at 12:00 p.m. in the Millhiser Moot Court Room, Sydney Lewis Hall on the campus of W&L. The talk is open to the public at no charge.

Judge Brinkema has presided over some of the most closely watched cases of the decade, including the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, the first person convicted for crimes related to the 9/11 terror attacks. At the conclusion of the trial, during which Moussaoui represented himself and received a life sentence without parole, Judge Brinkema famously told the still-defiant Moussaoui, "You came here to be a martyr and die in a great big bang of glory, but to paraphrase the poet T.S. Eliot, instead you will die with a whimper."

Drawing on her experience presiding over terrorism prosecutions in the Eastern District of Virginia, Judge Brinkema will discuss balancing the demands of national security and international terrorism cases with the intense scrutiny these cases draw from the media and the public. In addition to the Moussaoui case, Judge Brinkema sentenced al-Qaeda operative Lyman Faris to twenty years in prison for providing material support to the group.

A graduate of Rutgers University and Cornell Law School, Judge Brinkema's legal career includes service as an assistance U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia and a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice. She was nominated to U.S. District Court by President Bill Clinton and confirmed to the bench in 1993.

In addition to her terrorism cases, Judge Brinkema presided over two of the earliest cases focused on the internet.  One case involved a public library's authority to block access to certain web sites from public access computers in the library. In the other case, several Virginia state employees challenged the constitutionality of a state statute barring state employees from using their computers at work to view pornographic materials.

The Tucker Lecture at Washington and Lee School of Law was first established by the W&L Board of Trustees in 1949 to mark the bicentennial of the University and the centennial of the Law School. It was named after John Randolph Tucker, hired in 1870 as the second teacher in legal education and named the first dean of the Washington and Law University School of Law in 1893.

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