The 2016-2017 term, which concluded on Monday, opened with eight justices and every expectation that, after Hillary Clinton was elected, the Court’s balance would soon tilt liberal for the first time in four decades. Then Donald Trump won, Neil Gorsuch was appointed to fill the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat, and the Court once again had a five-member conservative majority. The Court had fewer headline-grabbing cases this term than in prior years, but it nonetheless decided several important cases—certainly enough for Gorsuch to show his colors, which thus far are deep red. As Adam Liptak of The New York Times has noted, the Court was more united than ever this term, largely because, with eight justices for much of the time, it strove to achieve consensus by deciding cases narrowly.… Seguir leyendo »
Tangled in self-inflicted chaos, President Donald Trump has been unable to accomplish much during his first four months in office. His signature executive orders have been stymied by the courts; his legislative efforts have stalled; and now he faces a special counsel investigating him over the Russia affair. But Trump’s attorney general, Jeff Sessions, is another story. Even amid the scandal of the firing of FBI director James Comey—an action in which Sessions himself had a central part—Sessions has quietly continued the radical remaking of the Justice Department he began when he took the job.
On May 20, Sessions completed his first hundred days as attorney general.… Seguir leyendo »
Last week, we learned that, only months into the job, the official in charge of the military courts system at Guantánamo Bay was stepping down, after judges ruled he had interfered in proceedings. The appointment of an interim replacement was the sixth change of leadership for the tribunals since 2003.
This is yet another setback for the military commissions, as they tackle two of their highest-profile cases: the joint trial of the chief planner of the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, and four alleged co-conspirators, and the trial of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, accused in the bombing of the American destroyer Cole.… Seguir leyendo »
Nearly eight years ago, 14 men arrived at Guantánamo after years in Central Intelligence Agency custody. Since then, only one has been tried and convicted with the case upheld on appeal. That was Ahmed Ghailani, a Tanzanian national who received a life sentence for his role in the 1998 bombings of the American Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 223 people. Mr. Ghailani was tried in federal court in New York, and he is serving his sentence in a federal prison in the United States. His 13 comrades from the C.I.A. detention and interrogation program are still in limbo at Guantánamo, where justice for them and the families of their victims remains elusive.… Seguir leyendo »
En unos cuantos terrible segundos, la estrella juvenil Justin Bieber hizo el trabajo de su abogado Roy Black mucho más difícil.
Bieber, quien fue arrestado en Miami Beach el jueves por manejar bajo la influencia del alcohol, resistirse a ser arrestado y manejar sin una licencia válida, decidió que sería una buena idea demostrar sus agallas con el Departamento de Policía de Miami Beach.
De acuerdo a Raymond Martínez, Jefe de la Policía de Miami Beach, durante su arresto Bieber "hizo algunas declaraciones de que había consumido algo de alcohol, y de que había fumado marihuana y consumido medicamentos de prescripción", antes de ponerse al volante de un Lamborghini amarillo.… Seguir leyendo »
The transfer to civilian custody of accused al Qaeda operative Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai, also known as Abu Anas al-Libi, presents the Obama administration with a high-profile opportunity to demonstrate the efficacy of prosecuting terrorist suspects in the U.S. criminal justice system. It also rebuts critics in Congress who maintain that military commissions at Guantanamo Bay are the only sensible venue for terrorism prosecutions.
Al-Libi, who was captured by U.S. military forces in Libya earlier this month, was indicted in 2000 with 20 other defendants in the Southern District of New York for his reputed role in the 1998 terrorist bombings of the U.S… Seguir leyendo »
On September 11, 2001, I sat in my office in the Empire State Building, then New York City’s third tallest building, with a direct view of the two tallest, the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Shortly after the second jet crashed into them, I evacuated the building, aware that it might easily be targeted as well.
A neighbor, the father of three, died in the World Trade Center, and my city was traumatized. It was thus with a great personal interest that I looked forward to the alleged masterminds of this horrendous crime being brought to justice. But as I sat in the Guantánamo courtroom this weekend for the arraignment of the five leading suspects, I couldn’t help but feel cheated.… Seguir leyendo »
George Orwell is usually a footsure guide across political battlegrounds. In late 1943, when the tide had turned in the Allies’ favor, he wrote about postwar trials. Oddly, he advocated Hitler and Mussolini slipping away. His verdict for them would not be death unless the Germans and Italians themselves carried out summary executions (as they eventually did in Mussolini’s case).
He wanted “no martyrizing, no St. Helena business.” Above all, he disdained the idea of a “solemn hypocritical ‘trial of war criminals,’ with all the slow cruel pageantry of the law, which after a lapse of time has so strange a way of focusing a romantic light on the accused and turning a scoundrel into a hero.”… Seguir leyendo »
The system of military commissions that will try Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four other alleged 9/11 plotters contains a dirty little secret. Hardly anybody talks about it, but it's a key reason for concern as the apparatus becomes established.
It is this: The commissions can operate inside the United States, and they have jurisdiction over a broad range of crimes. Nothing in the Military Commissions Act limits the military trials to Guantanamo detainees, or to people captured and held abroad, or even to terrorism suspects. Nothing prevents the commissions from trying noncitizens, arrested inside the country, whom the president unilaterally designates as "unprivileged enemy belligerents."… Seguir leyendo »
It’s official. Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, will be tried by a military commission at Guantanamo Bay.
He will not be tried in Manhattan in the shadow of the World Trade Center. He will not be tried before the vast majority of the victims’ families. Nor will he be tried in any federal court. Instead, he will be tried offshore in a military commission process established in 2009 and yet to be tested. It is likely that he will be convicted of conspiring to plan and commit the attacks of 9/11 and that, he, along with his four co-defendants, the other 9/11 detainees at Guantanamo, will be given life sentences, if not the death penalty.… Seguir leyendo »
Critics of President Obama’s decision to prosecute Guantánamo Bay detainees in federal courts have seized on the verdict in the Ahmed Ghailani case as proof that federal trials are a disastrous failure. After the jury on Wednesday found Mr. Ghailani guilty of only one charge in the 1998 African embassy bombings, Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, called on the administration to “admit it was wrong and assure us just as confidently that terrorists will be tried from now on in the military commission system.”
The verdict — in which Mr. Ghailani was found guilty of conspiring to blow up United States government buildings and not guilty on 284 other counts — came as a surprise to many, but the outcome does not justify allowing political rhetoric like Senator McConnell’s to trump reality.… Seguir leyendo »
Here's a simple proposal to break the impasse over how to proceed against Khalid Sheik Mohammed and his colleagues: Press charges in both military commissions and in federal court. Call it the John Allen Muhammad model.
The 2002 D.C. area sniper case is strangely instructive in planning the trials of the Sept. 11 plotters. Recall that when Muhammad and accomplice Lee Boyd Malvo were captured, several of the jurisdictions in which they had killed people filed charges. Virginia authorities were allowed to proceed first and given custody, but the other jurisdictions held their cases in reserve. Maryland prosecutors pursued their case even after Muhammad and Malvo were convicted in Virginia.… Seguir leyendo »
The Obama administration wants to show that federal courts can handle trials of Guantánamo Bay detainees, and had therefore placed high hopes in the prosecution of Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, accused in the 1998 bombings of American embassies in East Africa. On Wednesday a federal judge, Lewis Kaplan of the United States District Court in Manhattan, made the government’s case much harder when he excluded the testimony of the government’s central witness because the government learned about the witness through interrogating Mr. Ghailani at a secret overseas prison run by the C.I.A.
Some, mostly liberals and civil libertarians, applauded the ruling, saying it showed that the rule of law is being restored.… Seguir leyendo »
Nine years after Sept. 11 and 20 months into the Obama presidency, our nation is still flummoxed about what to do with captured terrorists. The Obama administration is stuck about where the Bush administration was, with little hope in sight for progress.
Guantanamo Bay has proved harder to close than the Obama administration anticipated. Many terrorists there are too dangerous to release and, for a variety of evidentiary reasons, cannot be brought to trial. Our allies have taken fewer detainees than we would like. These men will thus have to be held in U.S. custody. But neither Congress nor the American people is keen on transferring them to the United States.… Seguir leyendo »
There were fatal flaws in the recent suggestion that Congress should designate Guantanamo Bay part of an existing federal district court or as a separate federal district court so that those accused of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks can be tried there ["Try them in federal court -- at Gitmo," Washington Forum, July 16].
Eugene R. Sullivan, a former chief judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, and Louis J. Freeh, a former U.S. District Court judge and director of the FBI, argued that creating, by statute, a civilian district court trial at Guantanamo would provide a fair, independent and universally respected forum, in contrast to "untested and widely questioned" military commissions; deny to Khalid Sheik Mohammed and others a military forum that enhances their image as "warriors"; and avoid the "prohibitive" security costs of a trial elsewhere in the United States.… Seguir leyendo »
The Obama administration and its critics are locked in a standoff over whether to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the other alleged Sept. 11 conspirators in a military commission or in federal court. Both sides are busily ignoring the obvious solution: Don't bother trying them at all.
Mohammed has already spent more than seven years in military detention. Both the Obama administration and the Republicans who object to trying him in federal court accept the legitimacy of such detention as a traditional incident of war for those in the command structure of al-Qaeda, and perhaps for associated forces as well. In general outline, so do the courts.… Seguir leyendo »
Since Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York announced that he no longer favored trying Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed 9/11 mastermind, in a Manhattan federal court because of logistical concerns, the Obama administration has come under increasing attack from those who claim that military commissions are more suitable for prosecuting terrorists. These critics are misguided.
As someone who has helped prosecute terrorists in both civilian and military courts — I was a witness for the government in two of the three military commissions convened so far — I think that civilian courts are often the more effective venue. In fact, the argument that our criminal justice system is more than able to handle terrorist cases was bolstered just last week by revelations that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the so-called Christmas bomber, is cooperating with the authorities.… Seguir leyendo »
There is nothing wrong with holding the trial of the man who has described himself as the mastermind of 9/11, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, in federal court in New York. But there is something wrong with spending upward of $200 million per year on security for a multiyear trial and disrupting the lives of people who have homes and jobs in Lower Manhattan, where the trial is to be held. Fortunately, there is a relatively easy solution to this problem: Governors Island.
Conducting the Mohammed trial there would not be the first time the 172-acre island, situated in the East River off Lower Manhattan, has been used for law enforcement.… Seguir leyendo »
Why are we reading Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab his Miranda rights instead of taking him somewhere and forcibly finding out where he got the explosive underwear and whatever else he might know about Al Qaeda? Isn’t this, as well as the forthcoming federal court trial of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, proof that the Obama administration doesn’t really regard the war on terrorism as a war?
Even worse, isn’t President Obama, despite his statements on terrorism over the weekend, confused and amateurish on this deadly serious issue? At his direction, thousands of American soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq are doing their best to kill terrorists, would-be terrorists and terrorists in training with no thought whatsoever to the legal niceties.… Seguir leyendo »
The Justice Department’s decision to try Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, in a federal court in New York City has elicited several criticisms. Most are pointless, but one — the idea that it will give a terrorist a platform from which he could stir up support in the Muslim world for his radical views — is well taken.
First, let’s dispose of the straw men. John Boehner, the Republican leader in the House, accused the Obama administration of “treating terrorism as a law enforcement issue” — as though “law enforcement” is an epithet. In truth, the White House’s counterterrorism team is composed largely of the same professionals who battled terrorists under President George W.… Seguir leyendo »