Duka Brothers Get Another Day in Court

DALLAS – January 19, 2016 – Earlier this month, attorneys funded by Muslim Legal Fund of America represented Eljvir, Shain and Dritan Duka (pictured above) in an rare evidentiary hearing before Federal Judge Robert Kugler at the U.S. District Court of New Jersey. The brothers maintain that they had received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial because their attorneys prevented them from exercising their constitutional right to testify.

During the evidentiary hearing, the Duka brothers testified that they had wanted to testify during trial, but their trial lawyers prevented them from doing so because the lawyers said they were unprepared to put them on the stand. Their trial attorneys countered by testifying that they did not prevent the brothers from testifying, but rather the brothers had said they did not want to.

Written summaries from both sides are due by February 16, after which the judge will make a decision. If the judge finds in the Duka brothers’ favor, there will be a second hearing to determine if the brothers’ testimony undermines the credibility of the jury’s decision. At that point, the judge could vacate or reduce the sentences, or order a new trial.

All the Duka brothers are currently serving life sentences on terrorism related charges. They maintain that they were unaware of the conspiracy they were convicted on.

Attorneys for the brothers are Chad Edgar for Dritan Duka, Robert Boyle for Shain Duka and Charles Swift for Eljvir Duka. Charles Swift is also the Director of Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America (CLCMA), a nonprofit law center made possible through a generous grant from MLFA.

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For an in-depth article on this case, please see Christies’s Conspiracy: The Real Story Behind the Fort Dix Five Tewrror Plot.

Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA) is a national civil liberties legal fund that defends the U.S. Bill of Rights by supporting legal cases involving civil liberty encroachments. Established in 2001, MLFA has defended freedom of speech, freedom of religion, right to a fair trial, due process of law and many of our nation’s civil liberties.