No Easy Answers


Friday, December 29, 2006

Judges' Amicus Brief in Al Odah v. US

Hat-tip to howappealing.law.com for the following note, which in turn prompted me to grab the linked opinion and convert it.

Current judges remind former judges that former judges aren't "judges" any longer: The majority on a divided three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit today issued an order that likely will strike many as rather petty. Today's order states, in full:

Upon consideration of the unopposed motion of retired federal jurists for leave to file brief amici curiae in support of petitioners regarding the Military Commissions Act of 2006, and the lodged brief, it is

ORDERED that the motion for leave to file be denied. See Advisory Opinion No. 72, Committee on Codes of Conduct, Judicial Conference of the United States ("Judges should insure that the title 'judge' is not used in the courtroom or in papers involved in litigation before them to designate a former judge, unless the designation is necessary to describe accurately a person's status at a time pertinent to the lawsuit.").

The Clerk is directed to return to movant-amici curiae the lodged brief.

Circuit Judge Judith W. Rogers issued a short statement noting her disagreement with the order rejecting the amicus brief. It is an interesting question whether the referenced Advisory Opinion, which says that former judges shouldn't be referred to as "judge" in the courtroom or in papers filed in litigation, was intended to prevent former judges from being referred to as "former judges."

---===---

Source: http://www.scotusblog.com/movabletype/archives/judges%20brief.pdf



      ORAL ARGUMENT HELD SEPTEMBER 8, 2005 AND MARCH 22, 2006

              UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
            FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CIRCUIT
                  Nos. 05-5064, 05-5095 through 05-5116
                     KHALED A.F. AL ODAH, et al.,
                  Petitioners-Appellees/Cross-Appellants,
                                    v.
                 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, et al.,
                 Respondents-Appellants/Cross-Appellees.


                Nos. 05-5062 and consolidated case 05-5116
                    LAKHDAR BOUMEDIENE, et al.,
                          Petitioners-Appellants,
                                    v.
                          GEORGE W. BUSH, et al.,
                           Respondents-Appellees.


      ON CONSOLIDATED APPEALS FROM THE UNITED STATES
        DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA


       BRIEF OF AMICI CURIAE RETIRED FEDERAL JURISTS
      IN SUPPORT OF PETITIONERS' SUPPLEMENTAL BRIEF
     REGARDING THE MILITARY COMMISSIONS ACT OF 2006

Patricia A. Bronte                       Agnieszka M. Fryszman
Douglas A. Sondgeroth                    COHEN, MILSTEIN, HAUSFELD
JENNER & BLOCK LLP                        & TOLL, PLLC
330 N. Wabash Avenue                     1100 New York Avenue, N.W.
Chicago, IL 60611                        Washington, DC 20005
312 222-9350                             202 408-4600

Dated: November 1, 2006                  Counsel for Amici Curiae



     CERTIFICATE AS TO PARTIES, RULINGS, AND RELATED CASES

       Pursuant to Circuit Rule 28(a)(1), the undersigned counsel of record certifies

as follows:

A.     Parties and Amici

       Except for the following, all parties, intervenors, and amici appearing before

the District Court and/or in this Court on these appeals are listed in the Opening

Brief of the Government in Al-Odah v. United States, Nos. 05-5064, 05-5095

through 05-5116, in the Opening Brief of the Petitioners in Boumediene v. Bush,

Nos. 05-5062 and 05-5063, in the Brief of the Government in Boumediene v. Bush

filed on May 25, 2005, in the Guantanamo Detainees' Corrected Second

Supplemental Brief Addressing the Effect of the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005

in Al Odah v. United States filed on March 10, 2006, and in the briefs filed on

November 1, 2006 by the Petitioners in Al-Odah v. United States and Boumediene

v. Bush.

       Amici curiae, former federal judges, are:

       ·      The Honorable Shirley M. Hufstedler, who served as a judge on the
              United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit from 1968 to
              1979.

       ·      The Honorable Nathaniel R. Jones, who served as a judge on the
              United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit from 1979 to
              2002.

       ·      The Honorable George N. Leighton, who served as a judge on the
              United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois from
              1976 to 1987.

                                          i



      ·      The Honorable Timothy K. Lewis, who served as a judge on the
             United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
             from 1991 to 1992, and as a judge on the United States Court of
             Appeals for the Third Circuit from 1992 to 1999.

      ·      The Honorable Frank J. McGarr, who served as a judge on the United
             States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois from 1970 to
             1988, and as chief judge of the court from 1981 to 1986.

      ·      The Honorable Abner J. Mikva, who served as a judge on the United
             States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit from
             1979 to 1994, and as chief judge of this Court from 1991 to 1994.

      ·      The Honorable Patricia M. Wald, who served as a judge on the United
             States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit from
             1979 to 1999, and as chief judge of this Court from 1986 to 1991.

      The law firms of Jenner & Block LLP and Cohen, Millstein, Hausfeld &

Toll, PLLC have appeared for amici. Jenner & Block LLP currently represents

fourteen Guantánamo detainees, only one of whom is a petitioner in these

consolidated appeals. The firm previously submitted an amicus brief to this Court

on behalf of petitioners in Qassim, et al. v. Bush, No. 05-5477. In addition, Jenner

& Block LLP represented amici before the Supreme Court in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld,

No. 03-6696, and Rasul, et al. v. Bush, No. 03-334. Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld &

Toll PLLC currently represents four Guantánamo detainees, but none of the

detainees is a petitioner in these consolidated appeals.



                                          ii



B.      Rulings Under Review

        References to the rulings at issue appear in the Opening Briefs of the

Government in Al-Odah v. United States and of the Petitioners in Boumediene v.

Bush.

C.      Related Cases

        The Opening Briefs of the Government in Al-Odah v. United States and of

the Petitioners in Boumediene v. Bush indicate which of the cases on review were

previously before this Court and identify the names and numbers of related cases

pending in this Court or in the District Court.




                                          iii



                                           TABLE OF CONTENTS

Certificate as to Parties, Rulings, and Related Cases .........................i

A.       Parties and Amici ....................................................i

B.       Rulings Under Review............................................... iii

C.       Related Cases...................................................... iii

Table of Authorities .........................................................vi

Glossary................................................................... viii

Interest of Amici Curiae.......................................................1

Summary of Argument ...........................................................1

Argument.......................................................................4

Adopting The Government's Interpretation Of The MCA/DTA Would
Unconstitutionally Force This Court To Condone The Use Of
Evidence Secured By Torture. ..................................................4

A.       The CSRTs Failed to Consider Whether Evidence Relied
         Upon Was Obtained By Torture..........................................4

         1.        CSRTs referred torture allegations for investigation
                   but did not wait for the investigation results..............6

         2.        Many CSRTs did not address evidence of torture. ............9

         3.        A few CSRTs cross-examined detainees to distance
                   U.S. forces from the alleged torture. .....................11

B.       The Fifth Amendment and the Common Law Prohibit
         Detention Based on Evidence Procured by Torture. ....................15

         1.        The Due Process Clause.....................................15

         2.        The Common Law.............................................16




                                          iv



C.       The Government's Reading of the MCA/DTA Would Allow
         Indefinite Imprisonment Based On Evidence Secured By Torture,
         in Violation of the Constitution and the Common Law. ................18

Conclusion ...................................................................20




                                           v



                                  TABLE OF AUTHORITIES

Cases

A(FC) v. Secretary of State for the Home Department,
     [2005] UKHL 71 (H.K. Dec. 8, 2005) ......................................17

*Brown v. Mississippi, 297 U.S. 278 (1936) ...................................16

Chambers v. Florida, 309 U.S. 227 (1940) .....................................18

Chavez v. Martinez, 538 U.S. 760 (2003).......................................15

County of Sacramento v. Lewis, 523 U.S. 833 (1998)............................15

Felker v. Turpin, 518 U.S. 651 (1996).........................................16

Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, 126 S. Ct. 2749 (U.S. 2006) ...............................2

In re Guantánamo Detainee Cases, 355 F. Supp. 2d 443 (D.D.C. 2005) ............6

*INS v. St. Cyr, 533 U.S. 289 (2001)..........................................16

*Jackson v. Denno, 378 U.S. 368 (1964) .......................................15

*Miller v. Fenton, 474 U.S. 104 (1985)....................................15, 16

Palko v. Connecticut, 302 U.S. 319 (1937), overruled on other grounds
      by Benton v. Maryland, 395 U.S. 784 (1979) .............................15

Rasul v. Bush, 542 U.S. 466 (2004).............................................1

Rochin v. California, 342 U.S. 165 (1951).................................15, 16

*Swain v. Pressley, 430 U.S. 372 (1977).......................................18


* Authorities upon which we chiefly rely are marked with asterisks


                                          vi



Statutes

Pub. L. No. 109-148, 119 Stat. 2739 (2005).....................................2

Pub. L. No. 109-366, 120 Stat. 2600 (2006).....................................2

U.S. Const. Art. I, § 9, cl. 2................................................18



Other Authorities
4 William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England
      (1st ed. 1803) .........................................................17

Edward Coke, The Third Part of the Institutes of the Laws of England
     (W. Clarke & Sons 1817) .................................................17

3 Jonathan Elliot, The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the
      Adoption of the Federal Constitution (1836) ........................15, 18

Lawrence Herman, The Unexpected Relationship Between the Privilege
     Against Compulsory Self-Incrimination and the Involuntary
     Confession Rule (Part I), 53 Ohio St. L.J. 101 (1992)....................18

David Hope, Torture, 53 Int'l & Comp. L. Q. 807 (2004)....................17, 18

Seth F. Kreimer, Too Close to the Rack and the Screw: Constitutional
      Constraints on Torture in the War on Terror, 6 U. Pa. J. Const.
      L. 278 (2003) ..........................................................18

John H. Langbein, Torture and the Law of Proof: Europe and England
      in the Ancient Regime (1977) ...........................................17

Joseph Margulies, Guantánamo and the Abuse of Presidential Power 182 (New
      York 2006) ..............................................................7

Leonard A. Parry, The History of Torture in England 1 (1933) .................16

Proceedings Against John Felton, 3 Howell's St. Tr. 367 (1628) ...........17, 18




                                          vii



       GLOSSARY

Term     Definition

CSRT     Combatant Status Review Tribunal

DTA      Detainee Treatment Act, Pub. L. No. 109-
         148, 119 Stat. 2739 (2005)

MCA      Military Commissions Act, Pub. L. No. 109-
         366, 120 Stat. 2600 (2006)




                                       viii



                        INTEREST OF AMICI CURIAE

      The issue presented by these consolidated cases challenges the integrity of

our judicial system: may this Court sanction life-long detention in the face of

credible allegations that the evidence upon which the detention is based was

secured by torture? As former federal judges, we believe that compelling this

Court to sanction Executive detentions based on evidence that has been condemned

in the American legal system since our Nation's founding erodes the vital role of

the judiciary in safeguarding the Rule of Law. Therefore, pursuant to Federal Rule

of Appellate Procedure 29 and this Circuit's Rule 29, amici respectfully submit this

brief in support of Petitioners Al Odah, et al. and Boumediene, et al.

      Amici curiae include the following former federal judges, as further

identified in the Parties and Amici section of this brief: The Honorable Shirley M.

Hufstedler, the Honorable Nathaniel R. Jones, the Honorable George N. Leighton,

the Honorable Timothy K. Lewis, the Honorable Frank J. McGarr, the Honorable

Abner J. Mikva, and the Honorable Patricia M. Wald.



                         SUMMARY OF ARGUMENT

      After the Supreme Court found in Rasul v. Bush, 542 U.S. 466 (2004), that

detainees at the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba were entitled to challenge

their detentions in federal court, the United States Defense Department announced



                                         1



that each prisoner would appear before a "Combatant Status Review Tribunal." At

the same time, the Defense Department also stated that every prisoner at the base

had been determined "through multiple levels of review" to be an "enemy

combatant."  ^1  The stated purpose of the CSRT was to decide whether this

determination would be upheld. ^2   Between August 2004 and January 2005, the

military conducted 558 CSRT hearings, finding all but 38 prisoners to be enemy

combatants. ^3

      On December 30, 2005, the President signed the Detainee Treatment Act.

Pub. L. No. 109-148, 119 Stat. 2739 (2005). The DTA purported to replace

plenary district court review over the prisoners' habeas petitions with the CSRT

and limited review in this Court. On June 29, 2006, the Supreme Court held that

the DTA did not apply to pending habeas cases which, like these consolidated

cases, "challeng[ed] the very legitimacy" of the CSRTs. Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, 126

S. Ct. 2749, 2769 (2006). On October 17, 2006, the President signed the Military

Commissions Act. Pub. L. No. 109-366, 120 Stat. 2600 (2006).


1
  Memo. of Deputy Sec'y of Def. to Sec. of Navy, Order Establishing Combatant
Status Review Tribunal 1 (July 7, 2004) (A442). Amici respectfully submit with
this brief an Addendum of cited materials marked A1 to A445.

2
 Id.; Memo. of Deputy Sec'y of Def., Implementation of Combatant Status Review
Tribunal Procedures (July 29, 2004) (A382) (hereinafter "CSRT Procedures").

3
   Dep't of Def., Combatant Status Review Tribunal Summary, available at
http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Mar2005/d20050329csrt.pdf.

                                        2



           In their briefs, the Petitioners discuss the various statutory and constitutional

infirmities of the MCA. Amici direct this brief at one specific and fundamental

flaw. ^4   With the CSRT, the Government created a tribunal that was permitted to

accept evidence secured by torture and presume that evidence was genuine and

accurate.   Furthermore, the limited review in this Court provided by the

MCA/DTA cannot remove the stain of torture because the Court ­ at least

according to the Government ­ cannot alter or expand the record created by the

military.

           One of the most hallowed judicial roles in our constitutional democracy is to

ensure that no person is imprisoned unlawfully. The statutory scheme created by

the MCA/DTA inhibits the Judiciary's ability to ensure that Executive detentions

are not grounded on torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. Because no

habeas court would permit detentions based on evidence obtained in this manner,

the MCA/DTA scheme is not an adequate substitute for habeas review and is

therefore unconstitutional.


4
    Amici take no position on other constitutional deficiencies in the MCA.

                                               3



                                  ARGUMENT

ADOPTING THE GOVERNMENT'S INTERPRETATION OF THE
MCA/DTA WOULD UNCONSTITUTIONALLY FORCE THIS COURT TO
CONDONE THE USE OF EVIDENCE SECURED BY TORTURE.

A.    The CSRTs Failed to Consider Whether Evidence Relied Upon Was
      Obtained By Torture.

      Two of the rules governing the CSRT procedures are particularly relevant to

our purpose: First, the CSRT could rely on any information it deemed "relevant

and helpful to a resolution of the issues before it," and second, the CSRT was

obligated to accept the Government's evidence against the prisoner as

presumptively "genuine and accurate." ^5   Applying these rules, the CSRTs were

allowed to and apparently did conclude that prisoners' incriminating statements

were both "relevant and helpful" to the decision, and presumptively correct.

      Yet, case after case for which transcripts of the CSRT hearings are publicly

available,  ^6 prisoners told the CSRT panels that their so-called confessions were

false and had been wrung from them through torture. ^7  Often they assured the

5
  CSRT Procedures, Encl. 1 ¶¶ G(7) and G(11) (A390) ("There is a rebuttable
presumption that the Government Evidence . . . to support a determination that the
detainee is an enemy combatant, is genuine and accurate.").

6
  See Dep't of Def., Combatant Status Review Tribunal (CSRT) and Administrative
Review Board (ARB) Documents, available at http://www.dod.mil
/pubs/foi/detainees/csrt/index.html (last visited Oct. 29, 2006).

7
  Because the prisoners did not have access to counsel and many did not attend
their CSRT hearing, the CSRT record likely underreports the extent to which
evidence obtained by torture formed the basis of enemy combatant determinations.

                                            4



CSRT their account could be confirmed by review of medical records or other

reports. But the Executive has maintained that investigating allegations of torture

was not "the CSRT's role," and that it was permissible for the Tribunal to rely on

evidence "obtained through a non-traditional means, even torture" to determine

that a prisoner was an enemy combatant. ^8 Amici take no position on the veracity of

the prisoners' accounts, ^9 nor do we attempt here to distinguish between torture and

other illegal forms of coercion. But we do firmly contend that Article III courts

have a duty to inquire whether, in fact, evidence has been gained by torture or


8
  Transcript of Oral Argument at 83-87, Boumediene v. Bush, et al., Civ. No. 04-
1166 (RJL) (D.D.C. Dec. 2, 2004) (A377-81). The DTA required the Department
of Defense to revise its procedures so that future CSRTs would, "to the extent
practicable, assess whether any statement derived from or relating to such detainee
was obtained as a result of coercion; and the probative value (if any) of any such
statement." DTA § 1005(b). The prisoners with cases currently pending in federal
court, however, were found to be "enemy combatants" under the prior rules.
Moreover, the MCA/DTA does not require the prior CSRT determinations to meet
the new standard, and the MCA explicitly states that the determination of enemy
combatant status under the prior rules is final, at least for the purpose of eligibility
for trial by a Military Commission. MCA § 948a(1).

9
  We note, however, that investigations by the military, international bodies, and
human rights organizations revealed that abusive interrogations did occur. See,
e.g., Dep't of Def., Army Regulation 15-6: Investigation of the Abu Ghraib
Detention Facility and 205th Military Intelligence Brigade 63 (Aug. 2004) ("Abu
Ghraib Report"), available at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/ Aug2004/
d20040825fay.pdf; United Nations, Conclusions and Recommendations of the
Committee against Torture: United States of America ¶¶ 24, 26, 30 (July 25,
2006); Human Rights First, Command's Responsibility: Detainee Deaths in U.S.
Custody in Iraq and Afghanistan (Feb. 2006).

                                           5



other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment, and to reject that evidence if so

obtained. In the CSRT process, however, that inquiry did not take place.

                                      ****

      The publicly available record indicates the CSRT panels did little to evaluate

the probity of allegedly coerced evidence, even when evidence such as medical

records was readily available. Some CSRTs found the torture allegations credible

enough to warrant investigation by other military authorities, but the panels

nevertheless found the detainees to be enemy combatants without awaiting the

outcome of the investigation. Although the Government might have adduced

other, non-coerced evidence in individual cases, the CSRT neither examined

allegations of torture before the individual was adjudicated an enemy combatant

nor did it exclude such evidence from its consideration.

            1.     CSRTs referred torture allegations for investigation but did
                   not wait for the investigation results.

      Many cases involved reports of false confessions coerced by interrogators in

countries where the State Department has long condemned the use of torture by

state security agents. ^10  For instance, the District Court recounted the torture

endured by Mamdouh Habib, who was rendered by the United States to Egypt,


10
  See, e.g., Dep't of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices ­ 2005 ­
Egypt (Mar. 8, 2006), available at http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2005/
61687.htm.

                                         6



where he alleges he was subjected to horrific abuse. See In re Guantanamo

Detainee Cases, 355 F. Supp. 2d 443, 473 (D.D.C. 2005). The United States has

never denied the truth of Habib's allegations. All the Government's claims against

Habib were based on "confessions" he gave to interrogators in Egypt.  ^11  (See

September 9, 2004 Memo at 1-2, A20-21.)  Habib's Personal Representative

reported to the CSRT that his "confessions" were made "under duress" in an

attempt to "tell interrogators what they wanted to hear because he was in fear."

(Unclassified Summary at 1, 3, A12, A14.) Yet, the CSRT simultaneously (a)

determined that the torture allegations were credible enough to warrant an

investigation, and (b) found Habib to be an enemy combatant. (Id. at 3, A14.)

      Habib's case is not unusual. Several prisoners told the CSRT they had been

tortured by Pakistani security forces. ^12 For example, Abd Al Nasir Khantumani

and his son, Muhammad Khantumani, were arrested in Pakistan. The Pakistanis


11
 Joseph Margulies, Guantánamo and the Abuse of Presidential Power 182 (New
York 2006).

12
   These allegations are consistent with the State Department's findings that
Pakistan tortures prisoners. See Dep't of State, Country Reports on Human Rights
Practices - 2005 ­ Pakistan (Mar. 8, 2006), available at http://www.state.gov/g/
drl/rls/hrrpt/2005/61710.htm. Ironically, the 2005 report also criticizes an anti-
terrorism law under which "coerced confessions are admissible in special courts."
Id. The State Department made similar allegations in its 2004, 2003, 2002, and
2001 reports. See, e.g., Dep't of State, Country Reports on Human Rights
Practices - 2004 ­ Pakistan (Feb. 28, 2005), available at http://www.state.gov/g/
drl/rls/hrrpt/2004/41743.htm.

                                        7



wanted them to admit they had been on a particular bus: "the Pakistanis tortured us

to a point that we admitted we were on the bus." (Transcript at 4, A85.) "We tried

to say no, no, no," his son, Muhammad, testified at his father's Tribunal, "but they

just keep torturing us. Then they broke my nose and I said I was on the bus." (Id.

at 7, A88.) "If you look at my nose," he said, "you can see it is broken." (Id.) The

CSRTs passed the Khantumanis' allegations of torture up the chain of command,

but found them both to be enemy combatants before any investigation was

conducted. (Unclassified Summary at 3, A81, 118; Report at 1, A78, 115.)

      The CSRT took the same action in the case of Abdul Aziz Al Khaldi, who

told the CSRT he had been captured by the Afghani police.  "They were

threatening me and torturing me," he said. (Transcript at 9, A161.) "If I didn't say

that I was from al Qaeda or Taliban I was tortured." (Id.) The Afghanis

transferred him to Kandahar, where the beatings continued. (Id.) "The guy was

speaking English saying, al Qaeda? Taliban? . . . Evidence of the torture is that

they broke my tooth, which was fixed here [in Cuba]." (Id.)  Al Khaldi's

allegations of torture were referred for investigation (Unclassified Summary at 2,

A168), but the CSRT found Al Khaldi to be an enemy combatant on the day of his

CSRT hearing (Report at 1, A167).



                                         8



            2.     Many CSRTs did not address evidence of torture.

      A number of CSRTs simply ignored testimony that the detainee's prior

statements to interrogators were the result of torture. Bisher al Rawi, for example,

reported to the CSRT that he confessed "only after I was subjected to sleep

deprivation and various threats were made against me" at Bagram, Afghanistan. ^13

(Transcript at 24, A216.) Al Rawi, a British resident, was arrested during a

business trip to Gambia and taken to Afghanistan. (Id.)  The CSRT discussed

other aspects of al Rawi's testimony, but did not address al Rawi's testimony that

his confession to interrogators had been coerced. (Unclassified Summary at 3-4,

A190-91.)

      Similarly, Fahd Al Sharif was arrested while visiting Pakistani villages with

a group of missionaries. (Transcript at 5, A314.) He told the CSRT that he

confessed to interrogators at Kandahar because they beat him so severely that his

wrist was broken and his eardrum punctured. (Id. at 2, A311.) According to the

publicly available record, the CSRT did not retrieve Sharif's medical records.

13
   Prisoners held in Afghanistan reported being subjected to prolonged isolation,
sleep deprivation, environmental manipulation, hooding, and so-called "stress and
duress positions" ­ all techniques the U.S. has admitted using. See, e.g., Don Van
Natta, Jr. and Ray Bonner, Questioning Terror Suspects in a Dark and Surreal
World, N.Y. Times at A1 (Mar. 9, 2003); Tim Golden, In U.S. Report, Brutal
Details of 2 Afghan Inmates' Deaths, N.Y. Times at A1 (May 20, 2005); Abu
Ghraib Report 63; Human Rights Watch, Enduring Freedom: Abuses by U.S.
Forces in Afghanistan at 37-40 (Mar. 2004), available at http://hrw.org/reports/
2004/afghanistan0304.

                                         9



      Similarly, the public record indicates no investigation of Mohammed

Souleimani Laalami's testimony that he confessed to training at the al-Farouq

training camp only to end the beatings by his captors. "I did say these things," he

told the panel, "but I said them when I was captured and being beaten and

threatened with death. . . . I told the Red Cross in Kandahar, I and others were

being beaten and admitted to things that were not true. . . . I was beaten until I

said they were true." (Transcript at 1, A322.)

      These accounts are not unique.  When the CSRT accused Mohammed

Haidel of receiving artillery training in Afghanistan, for instance, Haidel explained

that an interrogator in Kandahar "hit my arm and told me I received training in

mortars." (Transcript at 1, A325.) When Haidel denied the allegation, the beating

intensified. "As he was hitting me, I kept telling him, no I didn't receive training."

(Id.) Throughout this interrogation, Haidel was kneeling on the ground with his

hands lashed behind his back. (Id.) He began to bleed from his head. "I was

crying and finally I told him I did receive the training. . . . I was in a lot of pain,

so I said I had the training." (Id.) "At that point," Haidel said, "if he had asked me

if I was Usama Bin Ladin, I would have said yes." (Id.)

      Samuer Abdenour explained to the CSRT that in Kandahar he had admitted

to advance knowledge of the 9/11 attacks because interrogators refused to tend his

wounded leg: "They just wanted anything. Any information. I just told them



                                          10



anything; whatever they wanted to hear because I wanted them to treat my leg. I

saw other people whose legs had to be cut off [as a result of injuries]. I did not

want my leg to be cut off." (Transcript at 4, A331.) The CSRT found Abdenour to

be an enemy combatant. ^14  The publicly available record does not indicate that the

CSRT sought to review any potentially relevant medical or other records.

            3.     A few CSRTs cross-examined detainees to distance U.S.
                   forces from the alleged torture.

      On occasion, CSRTs probed the torture allegations, but to demonstrate that

U.S. forces did not participate in the torture, not to determine whether the

"confession" was reliable or the product of coercion. For example, Abdul Rahim

Ginco told the CSRT that he had been tortured by both the Taliban and forces

allied with Americans. (Transcript at 11, 13, A352, A354.) The Taliban had

accused Ginco of being an American spy, and imprisoned him from May 2000

until January 2002. (Id. at 3, 6-7, A344, A347-48.) Upon release from the Taliban

prison, Ginco and a friend told an Australian reporter that they "wanted to be

witnesses against al Qaida and Taliban . . . to the Americans." (Id. at 6, 8, A347,

A349.) Two days later, U.S. forces arrested Ginco and held him in Kandahar.

(Id.) Ginco told the CSRT the interrogators at Kandahar "kept pushing me, they


14
   See Annual Review Board Transcript for Detainee ISN #659 at 1, available at
http://www.dod.mil/pubs/foi/detainees/csrt/ARB_Transcript_Set_8_20751-21016.
pdf. (indicating enemy combatant status).

                                         11



beat and tortured me. . . . Military intelligence, they told me to say I'm al Qaida,

so, I told them, ok, I'm al Qaida." (Id. at 13, A354.) In finding Ginco to be an

enemy combatant, the CSRT apparently relied not only on Ginco's coerced

confessions to U.S. interrogators, but also a false videotaped confession that Ginco

made after weeks of torture by the Taliban and high-level Al Qaeda members. (Id.

at 3, 10-11, A344, A351-52.) The CSRT had asked Ginco only about torture by

the Taliban: "So it was the Taliban prison people who forced you to do this

[videotape]?" (Id. at 11, A352.)  ^15

                                        ****

      In each of these cases, the prisoner reported to the CSRT that he had

"confessed" only to stop the torture. But because the CSRTs relied on secret

evidence, it is impossible to know how many times a CSRT found a prisoner to be

an enemy combatant based on a false accusation by one prisoner who was tortured

to incriminate another. For instance, the Department of Defense has reported that

interrogation of Guantánamo detainee Mohammed al Qahtani produced "detailed

information about 30 of Osama Bin Laden's bodyguards who are also held at


15
   See also Transcript of Obaidullah at 5, A360 (CSRT asked detainee whether he
had "told a consistent story since" arriving in Cuba, but did not inquire into alleged
torture in Afghanistan leading to false confession).

                                         12



Guantanamo." ^16 According to the publicly released portion of his Department of

Defense interrogation log, ^17 al Qahtani was interrogated at Guantánamo for about

20 hours per day for seven weeks, during which period he was kept in isolation,

intimidated with military dogs, sexually humiliated, and subjected to sleep and

sensory deprivation. ^18

         Under standard CSRT procedures, the 30 men whom al Qahtani implicated

would never be told who had accused them of being Osama Bin Laden's

bodyguards or under what circumstances, and al Qahtani's coerced accusations

would be presumed accurate. This Court cannot know how many other prisoners

remain at Guantánamo based on accusations produced by similar interrogation

techniques. ^19


16
   Dep't of Def., News Release (June 12, 2005), available at http://www.
defenselink.mil/releases/2005/nr20050612-3661.html.

17
  Dep't of Def., Interrogation Log, Detainee 063 (Nov. 23, 2002 to Jan. 11, 2003),
available at www.time.com/time/2006/log/log.pdf.

18
     Id. at 27 (At one point al Qahtani's heart rate slowed to 35 beats per minute).

19
   See, e.g., FBI email from (name redacted) to (name redacted) (Aug. 2, 2004),
available      at    http://www.aclu.org/torturefoia/released/FBI.121504.5053.pdf
(describing detainees chained to floor for 18-24 hours, subjected to extreme
temperatures, sleep deprivation, and threatened with dogs); FBI email from (name
redacted) to Gary Bald, Frankie Battle, and Arthur Cummings (Dec. 5, 2003),
available at http://www.aclu.org/torturefoia/released/FBI. 121504.3977.pdf; Dep't
of Def., Army Regulation 15-6: Investigation Into FBI Allegations of Detainee
Abuse at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, Detention Facility, Executive Summary (June 9
2005),     available    at   http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Jul2005/d20050714
report.pdf; Neil A. Lewis, Red Cross Finds Detainee Abuse in Guantánamo, N.Y.

                                            13



      Furthermore, even when prisoners suspected that the allegations against

them came from another detainee's torture, it was impossible for them to prove it.

For example, Ibrahim Zeidan told his CSRT that he believed another person ­

Anwar Abu Faris ­ had made false statements about Zeidan receiving training in

Afghanistan because Faris had been rendered to Jordan and tortured. ^20 (Transcript

at 3, 6, A369, A372.)

      Amici are not aware of a single CSRT that permitted the prisoner to develop

an evidentiary record regarding statements allegedly obtained by torture. Yet,

according to the Government, the MCA/DTA does not allow this Court to consider

facts outside the CSRT record bearing on the grounds for detention, even if those

facts would show that the prisoner is detained based on a false confession obtained

through torture. Amici cannot know if the torture allegations are true, but the

reviewing court will likewise not be able to make that determination.



TIMES (Nov. 30, 2004), available at http://www.nytimes.com/ 2004/11/30/politics/
30gitmo.html?ex=1259470800&en=825f1aa04c65241f&ei =5088&partner=rssnyt.

20
   The State Department has reported on confessions obtained by torture in
Jordanian prisons. Dep't of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices ­
2005 ­ Jordan (Mar. 8, 2006), available at http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/
2005/61691.htm.

                                        14



B.       The Fifth Amendment and the Common Law Prohibit Detention Based
         on Evidence Procured by Torture.

               1.    The Due Process Clause

         "What has distinguished our ancestors? ­ That they would not admit of

tortures, or cruel and barbarous punishment." ^21  Patrick Henry's words expressed

the Founding Fathers' deep abhorrence of torture, which they viewed as a tool of

royal despotism. This abhorrence is embedded in our Constitution. The Supreme

Court has consistently held that the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment

prohibits the government from depriving a person of his liberty based on

statements obtained by torture. See, e.g., Miller v. Fenton, 474 U.S. 104, 109

(1985); Rochin v. California, 342 U.S. 165, 173-74 (1951). Indeed, the most

fundamental purpose of the Due Process Clause is to "give protection against

torture, physical or mental" to all persons subject to government power. Palko v.

Connecticut, 302 U.S. 319, 326 (1937), overruled on other grounds by, Benton v.

Maryland, 395 U.S. 784 (1979); see also Chavez v. Martinez, 538 U.S. 760, 774

(2003) (plurality); County of Sacramento v. Lewis, 523 U.S. 833, 846-47 (1998).

         Not only is evidence derived from torture inherently unreliable, ^22  but

allowing detentions based on such evidence corrupts the judicial process. An


21
   3 Jonathan Elliot, The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption
of the Federal Constitution 447 (1836).

22
     See, e.g., Jackson v. Denno, 378 U.S. 368, 385-86 (1964).

                                          15



unwavering stand against the use of this evidence is therefore essential. For that

reason, federal courts have long held that "certain interrogation techniques, either

in isolation or as applied to the unique characteristics of a particular suspect, are so

offensive to a civilized system of justice that they must be condemned . . . ."

Miller, 474 U.S. at 109. Beatings and other forms of physical and psychological

torture are interrogation methods that are "revolting to the sense of justice."

Brown v. Mississippi, 297 U.S. 278, 286 (1936). Coerced confessions "offend the

community's sense of fair play and decency. . . . [T]o sanction [such] brutal

conduct . . . would be to afford brutality the cloak of law. Nothing would be more

calculated to discredit law and thereby to brutalize the temper of a society."

Rochin, 342 U.S. at 173-74.

               2.    The Common Law

         The common law similarly condemns torture and the use of its fruits. At a

minimum, the Suspension Clause protects habeas as it existed at common law.

See, e.g., INS v. St. Cyr, 533 U.S. 289, 301 (2001) (citing Felker v. Turpin, 518

U.S. 651, 663-64 (1996) and stating "at the absolute minimum, the Suspension

Clause protects the writ `as it existed in 1789'"). "It has always been the boast of

Englishmen that torture was forbidden by the Common Law of the land." ^23


23
     Leonard A. Parry, The History of Torture in England 1 (1933).

                                          16




Blackstone, for instance, derided the rack as "an engine of state, not of law." ^24

Coke was likewise unequivocal in condemning torture, declaring without

reservation that "there is no law to warrant tortures" in England. ^25

      By the time the common law was developed in the colonies, and long before

the Constitution was adopted, torture was a discarded relic of a repudiated past.

See A(FC) v. Secretary of State for the Home Department, [2005] UKHL 71 (H.K.

Dec. 8, 2005) ¶¶10-17 (holding common law forbids reliance on evidence gained

via torture even where detaining power didn't conduct the torture). In 1628, King

Charles asked the common law judges whether John Felton, assassin of the Duke

of Buckingham, "might not be racked" to make him identify his accomplices and

"whether there were any law against it." ^26  The judges answered unanimously that

the common law would not tolerate a prisoner's detention or prosecution based on


24
  4 William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England at 320-21 (1st ed.
1803).

25
  Edward Coke, The Third Part of the Institutes of the Laws of England 35 (W.
Clarke & Sons 1817) (1644); see also David Hope, Torture, 53 Int'l & Comp. L.Q.
807, 811 (2004) ("the use of torture was not permitted in any of the common law
courts in England as part of the ordinary course of the administration of justice.").

26
  Proceedings Against John Felton, 3 Howell's St. Tr. 367, 371 (1628); John H.
Langbein, Torture and the Law of Proof: Europe and England in the Ancient
Regime 134 (1977).

                                         17




evidence secured by torture. ^27  As noted above, the framers of the Constitution

shared the English common law's abhorrence for evidence obtained by torture. ^28

C.    The Government's Reading of the MCA/DTA Would Allow Indefinite
      Imprisonment Based On Evidence Secured By Torture, in Violation of
      the Constitution and the Common Law.

      No habeas court would ever rely on evidence obtained by torture, whether its

review were grounded in the common law or the Fifth Amendment. Instead, when

presented with allegations that evidence had been so obtained, a habeas court

would ensure a searching inquiry.  We do not understand Congress to have

suspended the writ. See U.S. Const. art. I, § 9, cl. 2 (limiting Congress's power to

suspend the writ to cases of invasion or rebellion). Absent a suspension, therefore,

the constitutional question is simply whether allegations of torture under the MCA

and DTA are handled in a fashion equivalent to that under the common law or the

Constitution. See, e.g., Swain v. Pressley, 430 U.S. 372, 384 (1977) (absent

suspension, Congress cannot divest federal courts of habeas jurisdiction without

providing an adequate and effective substitute "commensurate" with the scope of


27
   Lawrence Herman, The Unexpected Relationship between the Privilege Against
Compulsory Self-Incrimination and the Involuntary Confession Rule (Part I), 53
Ohio St. L.J. 101, 134 (1992) (citing Proceedings Against John Felton, 3 Howell's
St. Tr. 367, 371 (1628)); see also Hope, supra, at 812; Seth F. Kreimer, Too Close
to the Rack and the Screw: Constitutional Constraints on Torture in the War on
Terror, 6 U. Pa. J. Const. L. 278, 311 n.17 (2003).

28
  See, e.g., Chambers v. Florida, 309 U.S. 227, 236-37 (1940); 3 Jonathan Elliot,
The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal
Constitution 447 (1836).

                                        18



habeas). Regrettably, the CSRTs did not subject allegations of torture and other

abuse to the same searching inquiry as would a habeas court. The MCA, therefore,

is unconstitutional, at least in its treatment of such allegations.

      Section 7 of the MCA purports to strip the federal courts of jurisdiction to

hear habeas corpus claims by aliens whom the Executive has designated enemy

combatants and to relegate such persons to the limited judicial review the DTA

specifies. Under the DTA, the Court is limited to considering whether the CSRT

followed its own "standards and procedures" in determining enemy combatant

status and, "to the extent the Constitution and laws of the United States are

applicable, whether the use of such standards and procedures . . . is consistent with

the Constitution and the laws of the United States." DTA § 1005(e)(2)(C).

      The Executive Branch interprets the first clause to prevent this Court from

considering any evidence not presented to and considered by the CSRT.

According to the Government, "the DTA does not authorize the submission of new

evidence to this Court relating to the detainee's status as an enemy combatant." ^29

Moreover, the Government claims the Tribunal's evidentiary record "is entitled to


29
  Resp'ts' Resp. in Opp'n to Mot. to Compel at 19, Bismullah v. Rumsfeld, No.
06-1197 (D.C. Cir., Aug. 21, 2006).

                                           19




the strongest sort of presumption of regularity." ^30  The Government would

apparently relegate this Court to undertaking the most cursory review into whether

the CSRT followed its own rules, beginning with a presumption that it did. If the

Court adopted this interpretation, it ­ like the CSRT ­ would be forced to accept

evidence obtained under torture, a result abhorrent to this Nation's judicial and

legal principles.

      The Government maintains that the second clause has no effect because the

Constitution and laws of the United States do not apply to this Court's review of

CSRT determinations. If this were correct, then MCA/DTA effectively would bar

this Court from examining whether evidence presented to the CSRT had been

obtained by torture or other illegal coercion, and if so, whether there remained a

sufficient basis in law or fact to justify detention. Accordingly, the Government's

interpretation would mean that the MCA/DTA fails to provide an adequate or

effective substitute for habeas in violation of the Suspension Clause.

                                  CONCLUSION

      The Executive's interpretation of the MCA/DTA threatens to force the

federal judiciary to sanction indefinite detention based on evidence secured by

torture. This prospect raises grave constitutional concerns and jeopardizes the


30
   Id.; see also id. at 14 ("In sum, the DTA does not provide for evaluating
evidence outside of the record reviewing [sic] a CSRT's factual conclusion of
evidentiary sufficiency.").

                                         20



integrity of the Judiciary. This Court should not be made to accept evidence wrung

from the prisoner by the simple expedient of brute force.



Dated: November 1, 2006                      Respectfully submitted,



                                      By:    ______________________________

Patricia A. Bronte                           Agnieszka M. Fryszman
Douglas A. Sondgeroth                        COHEN, MILSTEIN, HAUSFELD
JENNER & BLOCK LLP                            & TOLL, PLLC
330 N. Wabash Avenue                         1100 New York Avenue, N.W.
Chicago, IL 60611                            Washington, DC 20005
312 222-9350                                 202 408-4600

                         Counsel for Amici Curiae




                                        21



                           CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE


       The undersigned hereby certifies, pursuant to Federal Rules of Appellate

Procedure 29(c)(5) and 32(a)(7)(C), and Circuit Rule 32(a)(7)C), that the foregoing

Brief of Amici Curiae Retired Federal Jurists complies with the type-volume

limitations set forth in Circuit Rule 32(a)(7)(B) and the Court's Order of October,

18, 2006.


       This brief is in 14-point, proportionally spaced Times-New Roman Type,

and the number of words in this brief, according to the word-processing system

utilized in preparing it, is 4,881.


Dated: November 1, 2006                      Certified by:


                                             __________________________
                                             Agnieszka M. Fryszman

                                             Counsel for Amici Curiae




                         CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE

      I hereby certify that on November 1, 2006, two copies of the foregoing Brief

of Amici Curiae Retired Federal Jurists were hand-delivered and were also sent by

e-mail transmission, to the following counsel:

Robert M. Loeb                         Thomas B. Wilner
Douglas N. Letter                      Neil H. Koslowe
S. Department of Justice               Shearman & Sterling
Civil Division, Appellate              801 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
950 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.            Suite 900
Washington, DC 20530-0001              Washington, DC 20004-2634
Robert.Loeb@usdoj.gov                  twilner@shearman.com
                                       neil.koslowe@shearman.com


In addition, two copies of the foregoing were sent by overnight mail and e-mail
transmission to the counsel listed below:

Stephen H. Oleskey
Robert C. Kirsch
Melissa A. Hoffer
Mark Fleming
Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr
60 State Street
Boston, MA 02109
Melissa.Hoffer@wilmerhale.com
Mark.Fleming@wilmerhale.com

Douglas F. Curtis
Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr LLP
339 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10022
Douglas.Curtis@wilmerhale.com


                                         _____________________________
                                           Linda Aono


Comments: Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link



<< Home

Archives

March 2006   April 2006   May 2006   June 2006   July 2006   August 2006   September 2006   October 2006   November 2006   December 2006   January 2007   February 2007   March 2007   April 2007   May 2007   June 2007   July 2007   August 2007   September 2007   November 2007   December 2007   January 2008   February 2008   March 2008   April 2008   May 2008   June 2008   July 2008   August 2008   September 2008   March 2009   April 2009  

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?