Document Type


Publication Date

October 2004


INTRODUCTION: "[Y]ou are a disgusting piece of dirt."' Judge Steven Shutter, a county judge in South Florida, used these words to describe a twenty- four-year-old woman whom he labeled a terrorist2 and who was condemned by the media.3 Aside from name-calling, Judge Shutter raised the woman's bail from $3,500 to $25,000 when he learned the nature of the offense, 'just in case" the woman might be able to afford the lower bond.4 Given the strength of Judge Shutter's animosity toward her, one might assume that Yasmin Kassima Sealey- Doe had provided assistance to the terrorists who attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. Or perhaps she had participated in some scheme to infect the population of Broward County, Florida with anthrax? In fact, Sealey-Doe did not participate in, assist, or abet any terrorist activity.5 This young purported "terrorist" mailed flour and sugar to her ex-boyfriend because she was angry about their breakup.6 The flour-sugar combination leaked out of the envelope into a postal truck and a hamper in the annex of her building,7 leading to a day- long decontamination effort.8 Sealey-Doe immediately confessed.9 She faced a maximum sentence of fifteen years in prison for her ill- considered prank.'0