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Category Archives: Terrorism Trials: Civilian Court

Judge Kaplan Accepts Adel Abdul Bary Guilty Plea

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Wednesday, October 1, 2014 at 10:50 AM

Benjamin Weiser of the New York Times has the scoop on the plea bargain, about which U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan initially had harbored reservations, given the 25-year maximum sentence in play: A federal judge in Manhattan said on Tuesday that he would accept a guilty plea from a terrorism defendant who would face a . . .
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Why Article III Matters: A Reply to Peter Margulies on al Bahlul

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014 at 10:23 PM

I must confess that I don’t fully understand Peter Margulies’ response to my post from earlier today. My post argued that the bottom-side briefing in the D.C. Circuit in al Bahlul offers a relatively weak (and, in my view, already debunked) explanation for why Congess can allow allow military commissions to try enemy belligerents for wholly domestic offenses without . . .
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Will the Supreme Court Take Up Mehanna?

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Monday, September 29, 2014 at 7:30 AM

Does translating “radical” Arab texts and videos amount to material support for terrorism? That is the question that would face the Supreme Court, should they decide to take up Mehanna v. United States. (For full background and facts on the case, see our extensive prior coverage here.) The basic facts of Mehanna are simple. The . . .
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Jose Padilla Re-sentenced to 21 Years

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014 at 10:39 AM

U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke has re-sentenced Jose Padilla to 21 years in prison for his 2007 conviction for conspiracy to murder, kidnap, and main individuals in a foreign country; conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists; and providing material support to terrorists. An appellate court had vacated Padilla’s original, 17-and-a-half year sentence, after finding . . .
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Article III and the al Bahlul Remand: The New, New NIMJ Amicus Brief

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Monday, August 18, 2014 at 12:59 PM

On July 14, the en banc D.C. Circuit ruled in al Bahlul v. United States that “plain error” review applied to Bahlul’s ex post facto challenge to his military commission convictions for conspiracy, material support, and solicitation–and then upheld the first of those charges under such deferential review (while throwing out the latter two). One of the potentially unintended consequences of the Court . . .
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Al-Nashiri Motions Hearing, August 4 Session

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Monday, August 4, 2014 at 8:57 AM

Today your correspondent returns to Fort Meade, to take in CCTV-broadcasted, pre-trial hearings in the military commission case of United States v. Al-Nashiri.  The hearing gets underway at Guantanamo at 0900. As always, we’ll post dispatches on the day’s events, in our “Events Coverage” section.  You’ll find links to those posts below, too. 8/4 Session #1: . . .
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The Most Redacted Judicial Opinion I’ve Ever Seen

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014 at 9:27 AM

The Guantanamo cases have nothing on this opinion from the 7th Circuit in the Daoud case. (hat tip: Josh Blackman)

A Severance Order in the 9/11 Case

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Friday, July 25, 2014 at 9:59 AM

The Washington Post reports of a new ruling from the military judge yesterday—which I have yet to see, and which isn’t yet available on the military commissions’ website.  The gist: A military judge ruled Thursday that one of the five defendants being tried at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for their alleged roles in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks be . . .
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Ruling from U.S. District Court for D.C. in Ameziane v. Obama

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Monday, July 21, 2014 at 3:54 PM

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has denied Djamel Ameziane’s petition for habeas relief and granted the government’s motion to dismiss in Amezaine v. Obama. You can find the court order here and the full memorandum opinion from Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle here. Money quote: Because it is undisputed that petitioner is no longer “in custody” for . . .
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A Rough Overview of Today’s Ruling in Al-Bahlul

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Monday, July 14, 2014 at 7:45 PM

This morning, the full D.C. Circuit resolved military commission defendant Ali Hamza Ahmad Suliman al-Bahlul’s’s long-running appeal, in split fashion: by rejecting al Bahlul’s challenge to his conspiracy conviction, but also by vacating his convictions for material support and solicitation. Now it seems additional arguments regarding the conspiracy count will be considered further, by the . . .
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En Banc D.C. Circuit Opinion in Al-Bahlul

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Monday, July 14, 2014 at 10:29 AM

I am thumbing through the long-awaited and seemingly split ruling, which opens as follows: Opinion for the court filed by Circuit Judge HENDERSON. Concurring opinion filed by Circuit Judge HENDERSON. Opinion concurring in the judgment in part and dissenting filed by Circuit Judge ROGERS. Opinion concurring in the judgment in part and dissenting in part . . .
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Exporting the Preemptive Prosecution Model: AG Holder on Countering the Syrian Foreign Fighter Threat

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014 at 7:49 PM

Attorney General Holder gave an important speech in Oslo today, highlighting the threat posed by “foreign fighters” in Syria who may one day return to Europe or the United States.  He advocated a four-pronged approach that he urged all concerned countries to involve, including (i) adoption of the sort of criminal laws that have enabled . . .
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Next Abu Khattala Status Hearing Slated for September

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014 at 2:06 PM

At today’s brief status hearing for Ahmed Abu Khattala, U.S. District Court Judge Christopher Cooper set September 9 as the date for the case’s next status hearing, and ruled to exclude the time until then from computation under the Speedy Trial Act.  (The latter prescribes certain time limits for completing the various stages of a federal criminal prosecution.) . . .
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Abu Khattala Subject to Pre-Trial Detention

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014 at 1:11 PM

Such was the exceedingly unshocking result of this morning’s exceedingly brief detention hearing in the criminal case against Ahmed Abu Khattala. In his remarks, prosecutor Michael DiLorenzo essentially summarized his side’s written filing. It had put forth various reasons why, under the Bail Reform Act, no conditions of release would ensure the public safety in advance of . . .
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The Government’s Abu Khatallah Detention Memo

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014 at 10:01 PM

Get yer copy right here. Highlights: In the days before the Attack, the defendant voiced concern and opposition to the presence of an American facility in Benghazi. On September 11, 2012, at approximately 9:45 p.m., a group of twenty or more armed men assembled outside the United States Special Mission in Benghazi (“Mission”) and then aggressively . . .
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Khatalla Transitions from Military to Civilian Custody

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Saturday, June 28, 2014 at 12:00 PM

[Update:  A colleague writes in to say that Khatalla may have been in "civilian" custody, formally speaking, all along.  That may be; I recall a statement after the capture to the effect that the raid was conducted in some fashion under color of FBI authority, albeit with substantial SOF involvement under that umbrella.  This approach, . . .
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An Editor’s Note

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 11:06 AM

Earlier this morning, we featured a post regarding key developments in the Mohamud criminal case in Oregon.  Because of an Editor’s error, and not because of any error by its author, the post incorrectly characterized a March discovery ruling in Mohamud as having issued yesterday, and summarized that ruling; but did not address a ruling that was handed . . .
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Relitigating Guantánamo in the Context of Abu Khattala: A Different View

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Monday, June 23, 2014 at 7:00 AM

As I read Ben’s, Jack’s, John’s Steve’s and Wells’s posts, I come away with the impression that there is unanimous agreement at Lawfare that Abu Khattala (a) cannot be sent to Guantánamo for further interrogation and (b) must be tried in the civil justice system.  As a policy matter, they may be right in this particular case, but I respectfully . . .
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Does the Abu Khattalla Detention Pose “Unnecessary Delay?”

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Friday, June 20, 2014 at 2:19 PM

The government seems to think not, judging by New York Times coverage I noted earlier this morning. Among other things, the Times piece discusses the executive branch’s thinking about Abu Khattalla’s detention at sea, on the one hand; and on the other, the procedural requirement that upon arrest, a defendant be presented to a judge “without unnecessary delay.” I . . .
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When There’s No AUMF Nexus: Abu Khattalla and Criminal Procedure

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Friday, June 20, 2014 at 6:43 AM

I seem to have arrived late to the Abu Khattalla party. But I concur most emphatically that he should be tried in a stateside civilian court. Under the circumstances, Guantanamo is simply a non-starter. Apropos, seeing how the United States apparently has treated Abu Khattalla’s as a straightforward criminal matter, then what should we make of his extended detention aboard the . . .
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