Military Commissions

D.C. Circuit Dismisses Challenge to Former Judge in 9/11 Military Commission

By Elliot Setzer
Friday, April 10, 2020, 11:45 AM

A three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit has denied a petition from three of the five defendants on trial before a military commission for their roles in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, who sought to disqualify a former military judge who presided over some of their proceedings at Guantanamo Bay. The petitioners—Khalid Shaikh Mohammad, Walid M. Mubarak Bin ‘Atash and Mustafa Ahmed Al Hawsawi—sought to vacate all orders issued by the judge because of the appearance of partiality they claim was created by his earlier work for the Justice Department’s Counterterrorism Section, his acquaintance with one of the military commission prosecutors, his lack of candor during voir dire, and the possibility he may pursue Justice Department employment after retiring from the military. The D.C. circuit judges found that it “is neither clear nor indisputable that Colonel Parrella should have recused himself” and that, as a result, “[t]he circumstances of Parrella’s career and relationships do not constitute reasonable bases for the extraordinary remedy of mandamus.”

You can read the decision here and below: