- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 24, 2002

Noble: The David Westerfield jury. No one was sure what they would do. After all, they had been deluged by grisly details, had been deliberating for more than 10 days, and, most significantly, they had all decided to reside in Southern California a jurisdiction famous for defering to celebrity status over DNA snippets.
This San Diego jury formed a demographic range that would have done any State of the Union speech proud a Latino grandfather, a white software engineer, a black college student. There was a fearless retired Army colonel and a woman with an anxiety problem. Some of them believed in the death penalty, others weren't so sure. And yes, there was a former actor.
This modern American jury was given an ancient English duty determine the guilt or innocence of one of their peers. Westerfield had been charged with the kidnapping and murder of 7-year-old Danielle van Dam. She disappeared from her home Feb. 1. Her body was found a month later.
While the physical evidence was compelling, defense suggestions were potentially alluring. Danielle's parents were admitted marijuana smokers, and Westerfield's attorneys alleged that her parents' swinging lifestyle made Danielle vulnerable to being taken by practically anyone.
In the end, the jury saw through the team's screens, the smoke and the steamy lifestyles. They saw undeniable DNA evidence samples of Danielle's hair taken from Westerfield's home and stains of her blood taken from one of his coats.
In the end, they saw a child. Brutally slain, left naked along a lonely rural road.
In the end, the jury nobly convicted David Westerfield of murder and redeemed themselves.
Knave: Mohamed el-Artiss, arrested this week and charged with selling fake identification papers to two of the September 11 hijackers.
Mr. el-Artiss may not have known that the phony documents he sold to Khalid Almihdhar and Abdulaziz Alomari would help them crash into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Doing background checks would have been problematic at best, and besides, Mr. el-Artiss had plenty of other photos to fake, er, to take.
Mr. el-Artiss is the owner of Artiss' All Services Plus, a Paterson, N.J., business that law-enforcement officials believe was a big distributor of phony state and international drivers licenses, auto titles and license plates. When it was raided nearly a month ago, authorities found rolls of plastic laminating sheets and backings used for the manufacture of drivers licenses.
In fairness, Mr. el-Artiss may have an explanation for that, as well as for the fact that five minutes before the July 31 raid, he called in to say that he was going to be away for a few days. Those few days turned into a nearly month-long "planned trip" to Egypt.

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