Thursday, January 05, 2006

American Citizen transferred from military to civilian custody

The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the Bush administration could transfer custody of American citizen Jose Padilla from a military brig in South Carolina to civilian custody at a federal prison in Miami. The Bush administration request for transfer had been held up since Dec. 21 when...

"The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which includes South Carolina and which had earlier issued the decision upholding Mr. Padilla's military detention, refused to authorize the transfer from the brig, where he has been held for more than three years. It issued an opinion on Dec. 21 that suggested in stinging terms that the administration was now manipulating the federal court system, with "intentional mooting," in order to avoid Supreme Court review of the case."

Mr. Padilla's lawyers have challenged the Bush administrations three and a half year detention of Mr. Padilla as an "enemy combatant" and are awaiting a Jan. 13 determination of whether the Supreme Court will hear their case. The Bush administration has argued that his transfer to civilian custody renders moot Padilla's challenge of the President's claim to extra-constitutional authority to detain American citizens that he declares "enemy combatants."

"In response, Mr. Padilla's lawyers told the court on Friday that while their client was "certainly eager to be released from the military brig where he has been held virtually incommunicado and in solitary confinement for the past three and a half years," the justices should wait the two weeks that it would take to consider his underlying appeal "in an orderly fashion."

In a victory for the defense the administration reiterated it's request for the transfer of Mr. Padilla while...

"conceding that Mr. Padilla's case would still be eligible for Supreme Court review even if he were no longer in military custody. "Granting the application will not prejudice this court's consideration of Padilla's petition"

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the transfer in an un-signed one-page order that reviewed the convoluted history of Mr. Padilla's case and concluded by stating that the court would consider Mr. Padilla's petition "in due course."

The Supreme Court previously had ducked ruling on the issue of the Bush administrations claims to override the constitutional rights of American citizens by denying to hear Mr. Padilla's case on a technicality of where the case had been heard.

It is hard to imagine any legal logic that will allow the Supreme Court to rule in favor of the Bush administrations detention of an American citizen without charge and without access to legal representation.

It is my expectation that if and when the Supreme Court rules against the administration on the detention issue that Mr. Padilla's lawyers will immediately move for a dismissal of his case based on the administrations violation of his Constitutional rights as a citizen under Article III of the Constitution, as well as the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th amendments.

"Mr. Padilla, an American convert to Islam, was arrested in May 2002 at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago and transferred to military custody the next month. Initially, the administration described him as a trained operative of Al Qaeda on a mission to detonate a radioactive "dirty bomb" and blow up apartment buildings. His indictment in November mentioned neither of those accusations, instead charging him with "material support" to terrorists.

If indeed the accusations against Jose Padilla, either set of accusations, are true then the Bush administration has greatly damaged the nation by it's completely illegal bungling of his case. This administration is proving itself yet again unable to properly perform it's duties to defend the nation. If the accusations are untrue then the administration has unconstitutionally held an innocent American citizen in virtual isolation for three and half years without recourse to defend or free himself.

The Bush administration is weak on terror and incapable of following the rule of law.


Anonymous said...

It is hard to imagine any legal logic that will allow the Supreme Court to rule in favor of the Bush administrations detention of an American citizen without charge and without access to legal representation.

Yeah, but then it was hard to imagine any legal logic that would allow the Supreme Court to hand the keys to the White House over to an unelected chimpanzee. But they did.

Anyway, I hope you're right!

--Riesz Fischer

Andrew C. White said...

Yeah... well... there is that. Logic and reason don't have a heck of a lot to do with where we are as a nation today.

This country needs to collectively wake up and smell the coffee.