Jose Padilla Back in Court
Jose Padilla, the famously former "dirty bomb" suspect who now is a run-of-the-mill alleged terror-camp trainee, was back in federal court in Miami this morning for an important hearing in his criminal case. Padilla, the former "enemy combatant" who now is a plain old defendant, is trying to have his pre-confinement statements to law enforcement officials tossed out of the case.
According to the Associated Press, a special anti-terrorism agent for the FBI named Russell Fincher met Padilla's plane at O'Hare Airport in May 2002 because Fincher "believed there was a terrorist act that was going to happen. I believed he had knowledge of that. I needed his help.'' But although Padilla was candid about his past as a Chicago-area gang member and as a recent convert to Islam, he didn't give Fincher whatever information he was looking for (it is still unknown, of course, whether Padilla had any valuable information to share). So the feds arrested Padilla first as a "material witness"-- often done to hold a suspect for a few days-- and then later, on orders from the President himself, as an "enemy combantant."
There is more at stake at this hearing than just Padilla's fate. U.S. Magistrate Stephen T. Brown will have to decide whether prosecutors can subsequently use against suspects in a criminal case the information they initially give to law enforcement officials under the guise of "intelligence-gathering" for possible terrorism. The feds have long argued that since their intelligence-gathering function in these cases gets priority over any sort of subsequent criminal action they should not be required to read a potential terror suspect his Miranda rights like they would, say, a suspect carjacker. Padilla's attorneys, and others, contend that this technique is just a back-door way to question suspects without giving them their constitutional rights.
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Posted by: Constitutionalist | July 17, 2006 04:41 PM
Posted by: I guess | July 17, 2006 07:16 PM
Posted by: and where's | July 17, 2006 07:19 PM
Posted by: and Alberto Gonzales | July 17, 2006 07:22 PM
Posted by: what happened to that dangerous | July 17, 2006 07:24 PM
Posted by: where are those | July 17, 2006 07:27 PM
Posted by: _who_ is responsible | July 23, 2006 09:10 PM
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