Recently dispirited pirate Abduwali Abdukhadir Muse sat in a Manhattan federal court yesterday as everyone tried to figure out how old he really is. Since Somalia has basically no government, and warlords are not known for their record-keeping skills, the investigation hinged mostly on dubious speculation.
• Muse's father testified over the phone from Somalia that his son was born on November 20, 1993, which would make him 15. But he didn't really know the birth dates of his other sons, so the judge decided he was full of it.
• According to prosecutors, Muse told interrogators that he was 15, 19, and 26. But then he apologized for lying and admitted he was "between 18 and 19."
• Muse's mother claims he's 16.
• Muse's defense lawyers ostensibly believe that he's 15.
Ultimately, Judge Peck agreed with prosecutors and decided that Muse was 18, although we have no idea how he settled on that conclusion. Now his lawyers have moved on to mount a defense of Muse as a victim. Of course, one consequence of trying Muse as an adult is that the pirate-mad media will be allowed to watch, putting Peck's unparalleled command of the law on display for the world. Not that he would ever infringe on a pirate's legal rights in an effort to become the next Lance Ito. Never!