Federal Judge Recuses Himself From Gitmo Case After Bias Claim

U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth has recused himself from the habeas case of Guantanamo detainee Abdal Razik Ali.

In a nutshell, Judge Lamberth, in an interview with Pro Publica, discussed how judges were weighing the risks of releasing detainees. He was quoted as saying, not with respect to any particular detainee:

"How confident can I be that if I make the wrong choice that he won’t be the one that blows up the Washington Monument or the Capitol?"

Ali's lawyer filed a motion to recuse him. [More...]

Lawyer H. Candace Gorman of Chicago promptly filed a motion demanding that the judge withdraw from the case of her client, Abdal Razik Ali. Lamberth’s comment, Gorman argued, suggested that his personal fears – apart from the facts of the case – could drive him to deny her client’s request for release.

Judge Lamberth called Gorman's bias claim ""much ado about nothing" but recused himself anyway.

Ali's case now goes to Judge Richard Leon, who has granted six of the eleven Gitmo habeas petitions assigned to him.

The government has lost 36 of the 50 habeas cases that have been decided.

< Times Square Car Bomb Suspect Indicted | Ronnie Lee Gardner Exeucted by UT Firing Squad >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    I wonder how many of the cases (none / 0) (#1)
    by ruffian on Thu Jun 17, 2010 at 09:11:12 PM EST
    Lamberth has decided? If that statement indicates bias, it applies to all the cases he has heard.

    Based on the number of those released who (none / 0) (#2)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jun 17, 2010 at 09:42:57 PM EST
    have returned to attack us the Judge has a solid valid point.

    How many ...? (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Yman on Thu Jun 17, 2010 at 09:56:07 PM EST
    ... have "returned to attack us"?

    How many of those released have returned (1.00 / 1) (#4)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jun 17, 2010 at 10:34:21 PM EST
    to attack us??

    Surely that is a jest.


    Not at all (none / 0) (#8)
    by Yman on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 06:50:38 AM EST
    You seem to be suggesting it's many of them, but I guess your response means you have no idea.

    My guess is that the DOD (none / 0) (#17)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Jun 19, 2010 at 12:19:01 PM EST
    has a better guess than you.

    I didn't "guess" at anything (none / 0) (#19)
    by Yman on Sat Jun 19, 2010 at 04:40:31 PM EST
    Personally, I prefer facts to speculation - it was you who was suggesting that you knew some magical number.  But now that you mention it, a self-serving report that's contradicted by the DOD's own data and reports is hardly a "guess" now, is it?

    it's not a guess (none / 0) (#20)
    by jondee on Sat Jun 19, 2010 at 05:11:59 PM EST
    it's the only available handful of straw in clutching range. Roll it up with some of the usual bellicose WOT horse manure, throw it at the wall and hope some of it sticks..

    Good grief (none / 0) (#22)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Jun 19, 2010 at 07:22:48 PM EST
    Google is your friend. Use it.

    I quoted the article (none / 0) (#21)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Jun 19, 2010 at 07:21:48 PM EST
    You guessed it is wrong.

    My point was that if it is wrong... if it is 5%...or less... it only takes one.

    It appears to me that you had rather release bad guys than try harder to keep them in jail.


    Ohhhh ... the "appears to me" ... (none / 0) (#23)
    by Yman on Sat Jun 19, 2010 at 09:42:39 PM EST
    ... game.  I love that one - my turn.  It appears to me that you would rather keep hundreds of people locked up forever (without so much as being charged), in order to create more "bad guys", in order to continue the fear-mongering.

    Heeeeeeeeyyyy, ..... that is easy!

    BTW - I didn't "guess" anything.  I pointed out that you cited a self-serving DOD report that has been thoroughly debunked by the DOD's own data and claims, as well as several in the media and the Seton Hall Law Center for Policy and Research.  The DOD (and you) claimed a recidivism rate of 20%, when in fact most of their numbers are detainees who are merely "suspected" (no data or evidence to back up the "suspicions") of "returning to the battlefield", a term which could include something as trivial as engaging in anti-American demonstrations.  Hard to believe that could happen when you lock someone up for years without charging them with anything, huh?

    Even under these circumstances (broadly interpreting "anti-American activity"), the only verified number has been @ 1%.  In short, the "numbers" you're trying to use to paint a scary picture are just made up.

    Then again, in your case .... that's SOP.


    Irrelevent (none / 0) (#7)
    by ruffian on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 06:46:58 AM EST
    If they were illegally detained they have to be let go, no matter what fears the judge has.

    These aren't people (none / 0) (#18)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Jun 19, 2010 at 12:21:41 PM EST
    who are thought to have robbed a QuickiMart.

    But, if you are for enabling someone who wants to attack us that's your right.


    But just in case you were serious (none / 0) (#5)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jun 17, 2010 at 10:36:32 PM EST
    Washington (CNN) -- The number of former detainees once held by the U.S. in Cuba but now returning to terrorism activity has risen from 14 percent to 20 percent, according to a senior Defense official.

    A classified report by the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) says that one in five former detainees returned or are suspected to have returned to terrorist activity after leaving the U.S. prison facility. That is an increase from 14 percent from a similar report by the DIA released in April, according to the official familiar with the new report.


    "returning" to terrorism (none / 0) (#6)
    by Andreas on Thu Jun 17, 2010 at 11:49:14 PM EST
    That "article" is more biased to use a mild formulation. It implicitely states that all those held in Guantanamo are "terrorists". In other words: Guilty until proven innocent.

    See also this WSWS-article on this "returning to terrorism" propaganda:

    New York Times on Guantánamo: A willing conduit for the military-intelligence apparatus
    By Bill Van Auken, 9 June 2009


    Oh, THAT report (none / 0) (#9)
    by Yman on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 07:03:52 AM EST
    The one that's full of so many qualifiers and has been thoroughly debunked since, after all, the Pentagon has been forced to admit they don't even track detainees after their release?  The one who's definition of "returning to the battlefield means "engaging in anti-American propoganda"?  The one who, according to CNN's own security expert, has no data to support the Pentagon's claims?  The one that's contradicted by the Pentagon's own data and prior reports?

    "The new numbers are, we believe, 18 confirmed and 43 suspected of returning to the fight. So 61 in all former Guantanamo detainees are confirmed or suspected of returning to the fight."

    Peter Bergen (CNN Security expert):  

    "[W]hen you really boil it down, the actual number of people whose names we know are about eight out of the 520 that have been released [from Guantánamo], so a little above 1 percent, that we can actually say with certainty have engaged in anti-American terrorism or insurgence activities since they have been released.

    1. The 43rd attempt to enumerate the number of detainees who have returned to the
    battlefield is false by the Department of Defense's own data and prior reports.
    2. In each of its forty-three attempts to provide the numbers of the recidivist detainees,
    the Department of Defense has given different sets of numbers that are contradictory
    and internally inconsistent with the Department's own data.
    3. The Department of Defense does not keep track of released detainees nor does it
    follow their post release conduct.
    4. The Department of Defense's previous statements about the post release conduct of
    former Guantanamo detainees were produced in writing in July 2007 and May 2008.
    5. The January 13, 2009 press statement identifies no names, dates, places nor any
    conduct by released detainees. The raw numbers that are cited are unsupported,
    inconsistent with all other statements and appear



    Who are these experts? (none / 0) (#10)
    by mmc9431 on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 07:09:23 AM EST
    Are theses the same intelligence people that didn't know the Soviet Union was all smoke and mirrors or that the weapons of mass distruction in Iraq were nothing more than a mirage?

    Maybe these people are more interested in job security than they are in reality. By stoking the fires, they keep the money rolling in.


    Maybe they are the same people (none / 0) (#11)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 09:08:25 AM EST
    who told us that Iran was not building a nuke a few years back.... Maybe they are the same people who broke the Soviets code during the Cold War...Intelligence has its ups and downs. It is not a cut and dried business.

    But let's say that instead of 20% the number is 5%.

    Does that make the situation better?  

    As the commercial said, "All it takes is one!"

    And that's the problem. Our current posture is to play defense and then call the police when that fails to clean up the mess. That's a classic criminal justice position. Yet we know that it doesn't always work and sometimes people get killed.

    Think Ft Hood.

    Plus, think this. It's an old article and one of the first, but there have been others.


    So the judge had a point. So maybe he should have kept his mouth shut. But we already have proof that "some" that have been released have returned to attack us overseas.

    Sooner or later that will extend back to the heartland.


    Ok, I think Ft. Hood---it's news to me (none / 0) (#12)
    by observed on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 10:56:15 AM EST
    that Hasan was a prisoner at Gitmo.
    I guess we should never have released him.
    Or are you suggesting we should lock up 1 billion Muslims so they don't attack us?

    And what happens to justice? (none / 0) (#13)
    by mmc9431 on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 10:59:21 AM EST
    So your reasoning would be to just execute (or lock them up for life) so that we're sure we got it right?

    That type of reasoning is as scary as the terrorists themselves.

    I thought what we were fighting for was to preserve our American values. When we become the terrorists are we any better?


    Ft Hood is just showing how incapable we are (none / 0) (#15)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 10:02:40 PM EST
    of protecting ourselves with the current philosophy.

    Sorry if that confused you.

    What would I do? I would review the prisoners using the method set up by Bush and proceed from there.

    Was that method perfect? No.

    But it is time that we come to grips with the facts of life.

    We are engaged in war with radical Islam.


    We're engaged in a war (none / 0) (#16)
    by jondee on Sat Jun 19, 2010 at 12:30:22 AM EST
    with thugs, idiots and fanatics; some of whom are radical Muslim boogie men; some who are foaming at the mouth about The Greater Israel and abortion clinics; and some who cant think at all beyond parroting over and over again that "we're at war" with (take your pick): Muslims, secularists, communists, big government, illegal aliens, environmentalists etc etc