/ July 8, 2008

DOJ Shortage for Guantanamo Attorneys

The Legal Times is now reporting that, due to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Boumediene v. Bush (Fastcase subscription required), the Department of Justice is scrambling to hire up to 50 attorneys to handle the expected surge of Guantanamo habeas cases. The Court decided in favor of Guantanamo detainees looking to exercise the constitutional right of habeus corpus in the federal district courts, arguing that the accused enemy combatants held in the Cuban territory are both under the Constitution’s jurisdiction and in need of speedy proceedings. When the decision was released, DOJ had only 4 lawyers assigned to the 250 detainee habeas cases.

Many of the new lawyers DOJ hopes to recruit would be dedicated to augmenting and polishing the evidence against the detainees. This necessity appears ever more urgent after the D.C. Circuit Court’s June 20th decision in Parhat v. Gates (Fastcase subscription required). The court held that the military hearing that found Huzaifa Parhat, an Uighur Muslim, to be an enemy combatant relied on inconsequential and insufficient evidence, ordering DOD to either release Parhat or hold a second expedited Combat Status Review Tribunal. Some argue that DOJ has had enough time to put together solid cases against the detainees, but Gregory Katsas, Assistant Attorney General, asserts that DOJ is “entitled to place before the court the best and most recent evidence.”

Source: The Legal Times

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