ABA Creates D.C. Courts Habeas Database
While the Supreme Court ruling in Boumediene v. Bush definitively established the right of habeas corpus for detainees at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, it left many important questions unresolved about how these habeas petitions would be adjudicated. As a consequence, the District of Columbia District Court and Court of Appeals have been charged with deciding such issues as, the substantive scope of the executive’s detention authority; the reach of the suspension clause to Bagram; whether conditions of confinement are open to a habeas challenge; standards for admitting hearsay into evidence; and procedures for handling classified intelligence reports.
In one of his first acts as chair of the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Law and National Security, Harvey Rishikof organized a project to document habeas litigation. The end product is a searchable database, containing every Guantanamo and Bagram detainee habeas petition brought before the D.C. courts since the Boumediene ruling.
Now, in light of Attorney General Eric Holder’s recent announcement that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four other Guantanamo detainees will be transferred to New York City for trial, further questions regarding the proper venue for these types of prosecutions will likely continue.
“As these trials move forward, lawyers continue to be interested in how the D.C. courts are deciding habeas petitions of the remaining detainees,” stated Holly McMahon, staff director of the standing committee.
The database will be updated on a weekly basis. To begin using the database, click here.