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Archive for February 18th, 2011

Weekend Series on Crime History: Ted Bundy

Program Features Civil Rights Slaying and the FBI Probe

Fed Judge Tosses Torture Lawsuit by “Dirty Bomber”

Jose Padilla

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A federal judge in South Carolina on Thursday tossed out a lawsuit against the government by the man known as the “dirty bomber.” Jose Padilla had claimed he was tortured and denied an opportunity to practice his religion.

U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel ruled that Padilla, who was arrested at Chicago O’Hare Airport in 2002 as an enemy combatant, could not sue for constitutional violations and that the government had “qualified immunity” in the case. After his arrest he was transferred to the Naval Brig in Charleston, S.C.

“Therefore, to the extent that a viable cause of action were found to exist under the Constitution, the Court finds that all defendants are entitled to qualified immunity on all issues relating to Padilla’s designation and detention as an enemy combatant,” the judge wrote.

“The Court finds that under the circumstances then existing during Padilla’s detention and interrogation, Defendants are entitled to qualified immunity for Padilla’s RFRA claims. There was then no “clearly established” federal law on these issues, and the courts were only then beginning to sort out the legal rights of those designated as enemy combatants.”

The lawsuit had named defendants including Defense Secretary Robert Gates and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Judge Gergel

Padilla was held as an enemy combatant for 3 1/2 years before he was transferred to Miami to face allegations in civilian court that he planned to build and detonate a “dirty bomb” in the U.S.

He was convicted in August 2007 and subsequently sentenced by U.S. District Judge Marcia G. Cooke in Miami to 17 years and four months in prison.

Read Opinion

Washington Post Editorial Calls For Congressional Commission to Review Anthrax Investigation

Anthrax Suspect Bruce Ivins

By The Washington Post
Editorial Page

WASHINGTON — RESOLUTION OF THE 2001 anthrax attacks continues to prove elusive.

The Justice Department and the FBI identified Maryland scientist Bruce E. Ivins as having single-handedly carried out the attacks that killed five people and seriously sickened 17 others. The department was on the verge of seeking an indictment in 2008 when Mr. Ivins took his own life.

Doubts lingered about Mr. Ivins’s guilt, in part because the FBI had had its sights on a different Maryland scientist for several years before admitting he was not the culprit. Now, a report by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) raises new questions about whether Mr. Ivins was wrongly accused.

The lengthy report cites several instances in which the Justice Department appears to have overstated the strength of the scientific evidence against Mr. Ivins.

To read more click here.

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