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WOW, JUST WOW...........

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Author Topic: WOW, JUST WOW...........  (Read 13020 times)
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« Reply #390 on: June 15, 2009, 02:12:48 am »


                                                                    Judge snubs admin. on Gitmo files

By JOSH GERSTEIN | 6/9/09 11:12 PM EDT

President Barack Obama’s plan to empty the Guantanamo Bay prison appeared to suffer another blow on Tuesday, after a federal judge bluntly rejected the administration’s plea to limit access to information gathered by a presidential task force reviewing the cases of the 240 men detained there.

U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Hogan also accused the government of dragging its feet and gave Justice Department lawyers a tongue-lashing for failing to comply with existing court orders dating as far back as February.

In a sharply worded ruling from the bench, Hogan said he was unconvinced that sharing the task force information with detainees’ lawyers would interfere with the reviews Obama has ordered as part of his plan to close the prison camp by January. The judge also said the court could not be in a position of denying detainees the right to use information that could help their cases.

“I see no reason why the court can’t move ahead with its litigation promptly, just because of discovery from one database that would somehow bring to a halt all the president’s efforts,” Hogan said skeptically from the bench at the conclusion of a two-hour hearing on the government’s proposal.

Hogan also faulted the Justice Department for “a fundamental misunderstanding of the judicial process and its relation with the executive, and its failure to abide by court orders that have been issued and are outstanding.”

“The executive cannot order what the courts should do,” the judge said.

Before Hogan’s ruling, Justice Department attorney James Gilligan argued that it would take a team of 10 to 20 government attorneys four to 12 months to sort through all of the task force’s information in the 50 or more cases, get it reviewed by other government agencies and provide it to the detainees’ lawyers. He said the orders to produce task force information were “of terrible concern to us.”

“It’s obvious you’re going to have to get more lawyers,” the judge said. He suggested that with the downturn in the economy, Justice “could find 10 to 20 attorneys to do the work.”

Hogan noted that Obama’s order setting up the task force and vowing to close Guantanamo came about four months ago. However, the judge said he had to adhere to a Supreme Court ruling issued nearly a year ago which instructed lower courts to conduct “prompt” hearings on the so-called habeas corpus cases brought by most of the war-on-terror prisoners at Guantanamo.
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