13 January 2010

Oral Arguments Held In Jose Padilla Appeal

Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen detained without legal process as an "enemy combatant" in the United States as a would be bomber, and then transferred to the criminal justice system in Florida on terrorist conspiracy charges, where he was convicted and sentenced to seventeen years in prison. Jose Padilla appealed his conviction, and the prosecution likewise appealed, arguing that the sentence was too short.

Oral arguments were heard this week before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Padilla's criminal case.

The 11th Circuit is arguably the most conservative in the nation on criminal justice issues, so the odds are not in Padilla's favor. But, this case is unique and a great deal of enemy combatant and terrorism related law has been decided since Padilla first challenge his enemy combatant detention, so the outcome is inherently hard to predict.

Meanwhile an appeal is pending (in the 9th Circuit) in a civil suit brought by Padilla in federal court in California against John Yoo, the legal mastermind of the enemy combatant doctrine. A preliminary ruling in the case that is being appealed held that if the facts alleged in the Complaint are true that Yoo violated Padilla's constitutional rights and had liability in damages for the violations.

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