High court: U.S. can move Padilla to Miami

Published: Thursday, January 5, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 4, 2006 at 11:36 p.m.
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court agreed Wednesday to let the military transfer accused "enemy combatant" Jose Padilla to Miami to face criminal charges in at least a temporary victory for the Bush administration.
The justices overruled a lower court, which had attempted to block the transfer as part of a rebuke to the White House.
The high court said it would decide later whether to review Padilla's challenge to his military detention. It granted the Bush administration's request for a transfer in a one-page order.
Padilla's jailing as an enemy combatant for the past 3 years has been the subject of multiple court rulings and criticism by civil rights groups.
The former Chicago gang member was arrested in 2002 at Chicago's O'Hare Airport and put in military custody, where he was held without charges and traditional legal rights.
The Supreme Court had been asked to use Padilla's case to define the scope of a president's power over U.S. citizens taken into custody on U.S. soil. The justices had been expected to hear his appeal, but shortly before word was to come, the government brought criminal charges against him in Florida.
Those charges do not involve allegations that had been made by the administration since 2002 - that Padilla was part of an al-Qaeda backed plot to blow up apartment buildings.
Instead, a grand jury charged Padilla with being part of a North American terrorism cell that raised funds and recruited fighters to wage violent jihad outside the United States.
A panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., refused last month to allow the transfer of Padilla from military custody in South Carolina to civilian custody, citing the government's use of one set of facts before the courts to justify Padilla's military detention without charges and another to persuade a grand jury in Miami to indict him on the terrorism-related charges.
In that appeals court decision, Judge J. Michael Luttig warned the administration that it risked its credibility with the courts by changing tactics in what could be interpreted as an effort to avoid judicial scrutiny.

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

Comments are currently unavailable on this article

▲ Return to Top