Rochester Debate: Trying Terrorism Suspects in Civilian Courts

The NYCLU Genesee Valley Chapter and the Rochester Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society are sponsoring a panel discussion at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 16 to debate whether terrorism suspects should be tried in civilian courts or with military tribunals.

The debate will take place at the Downtown Presbyterian Church, located at 121 North Fitzhugh Street in Rochester.

The panel will be moderated by attorney William Clauss of Rochester. Clauss is a law clerk for County Court Judge John DeMarco and a faculty member of the Law/Criminal Justice Department at Monroe Community College.

Panelists include:

  • Chad Boudreaux, a Washington, D.C. attorney who works on all aspects of national and homeland security issues, matters involving federal law enforcement and investigatory agencies and litigation. He served as the deputy chief of staff of the Department of Homeland Security in the Bush administration, working directly with Secretary Michael Chertoff.
  • Vince Vitkowsky, a New York City attorney and an adjunct fellow at the Center for Law and Counterterrorism, a joint project of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and the National Review Institute. His public policy focus is on international and domestic law relating to counterterrorism, and the relationship between international law and the U.S. Constitution.
  • Donald Rehkopf, a New York City attorney who concentrates on criminal defense and military law issues. He is a frequent lecturer on military justice, criminal law, criminal trial techniques and professional ethics and is the co-chair of the Military Law Committee of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and a director of the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
  • James Harrington, a Buffalo attorney and lecturer at the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School in the area of death penalty defense and Buffalo State College in constitutional law. He recently served as chair of the Erie County Bar Association’s Judiciary Committee, in charge of the rating of candidates for judicial office, and is a past president of the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

For more information, call the NYCLU Genesee Valley Chapter at (585) 454-4334 or email