Will Justice–or at Least Due Process–Come to Gitmo Detainees?


David Iglesias, one of the US Attorneys who were fired for actually trying to do their jobs in a fair, non partisan manner, has just been tapped by the Obama administration to prosecute Gitmo detainees. This is an inspired choice. Not just for the "up yours" message it sends to the loyal Bushies — though that adds some fun to the mix — but because his unique skill set positions him to handle all the permutations of prosecutions to come in these cases.

During his confirmation hearing, DOD General Counsel Jeh Johnson told the Armed Services Committee that he believed that Gitmo detainees should be tried in regular, Article 3, federal courts to the extent possible. Considering that he began transition work almost immediately after Election Day, I think it is safe to assume that Johnson would not have said that to the committee unless he was convinced that there were some cases that could be tried in regular federal criminal court.

As a former US Attorney, Iglesias knows how to try cases in regular federal criminal court.

Johnson also said that it was his intention to come up with a better military trial system for enemy combatants, one that future generations would not find fault with.

As a JAG attorney, Iglesias would be as knowledgeable as anyone about how to try a case in the new, due process enhanced, military tribunals.

There is supposed to be a Executive Order issued today that, rumor has it, provides for both Article 3 trials and improvement to the military commission process. President Obama has already suspended trials in the current, due-process-deficient military commission system. So, I guess, General Counsel Johnson is getting all the things on the wish list he detailed to the Armed Services Committee, and the hiring of Iglesias will bring the right blend of skill sets to the process.

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