José Padilla (prisoner)

José Padilla (prisoner)
José Padilla
Born October 18, 1970 (1970-10-18) (age 41)
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Alias(es) Abdullah al-Muhajir or Muhajir Abdullah
Charge(s) criminal conspiracy charges
Penalty Sentenced to 17 years and four months in prison.
Status Incarcerated, ADX Supermax Prison in Florence, Colorado

José Padilla (born October 18, 1970), also known as Abdullah al-Muhajir or Muhajir Abdullah, is a United States citizen convicted of aiding terrorists.

Padilla was arrested in Chicago on May 8, 2002 on suspicion of plotting a radiological bomb ("dirty bomb") attack. He was detained as a material witness until June 9, 2002, when President George W. Bush designated him an enemy combatant and, arguing that he was thereby not entitled to trial in civilian courts, had him transferred to a military prison. Padilla was held for three and a half years as an "enemy combatant" until, after pressure from civil liberties groups, the charge was dropped and his case was moved to a civilian court.

On January 3, 2006, Padilla was transferred to a Miami, Florida, jail to face criminal conspiracy charges. On August 16, 2007, a federal jury found him guilty of conspiring to kill people in an overseas jihad and to fund and support overseas terrorism. Government officials had claimed Padilla was suspected of planning to build and explode a "dirty bomb" in the United States, but he was never charged with this crime, nor convicted on such a charge.

On January 22, 2008, Padilla was sentenced by Judge Marcia G. Cooke of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida to 17 years and four months in prison. His mother, Estela Ortega Lebron was relieved but announced that they would appeal the judgment: "You have to understand that the government was asking for 30 years to life sentence in prison. We have a chance to appeal, and in the appeal we're gonna do better."[1]


Life before imprisonment

Jose Padilla was born in Brooklyn, New York, but later moved to Chicago, Illinois, where he joined the Latin Kings street gang and was arrested several times. During his gang years, he maintained several aliases, such as José Rivera, José Alicea, José Hernandez, and José Ortiz. He was convicted of aggravated assault and manslaughter as a juvenile when a gang member he kicked in the head died.[2] After serving his last jail sentence, he converted to Islam.[3] One of his early religious instructors was an Islamic teacher who professed a nonviolent philosophy, and Padilla appeared at the time to be faithful to his mentor's teachings.[4] Padilla and Adham Amin Hassoun both attended Masjid Al-Iman mosque in Fort Lauderdale, Florida "for most of the 1990s and were reportedly friends."[5]

U.S. authorities accused Hassoun of consorting with radical Islamic fundamentalists, including Al-Qaeda. Hassoun was arrested in 2002 for overstaying his visa[5] and was charged in 2004 with providing material support to terrorists.[6] By that time Hassoun had already been charged with perjury, a weapons offense, and other offenses.

Padilla married an Egyptian woman named Shamia'a and had two sons who were infants at the time he was arrested in 2002; at his bail hearing his wife and children were believed to be overseas at this time.[4][7][8][9] According to court records in Florida, he was divorced from his wife of five years, Cherie Maria Stultz, in March 2001. The pair married January 2, 1996. She filed for divorce, describing the marriage as "irrevocably broken," and placed an ad in a local business newspaper in January 2001 serving notice she was seeking divorce. Broward County court records also show that on July 1, 1994, Padilla changed his name to one word: "Ibrahim." He was married under that name, and divorce papers identify him as Jose Ibrahim Padilla."[3]

According to press reports in 2002 Padilla had been in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region in 2001 and early 2002.[10][11][12][13][14] Padilla was alleged to have been trained in the construction and employment of radiologic weapons -- "dirty bombs" -- at an al Qaeda safehouse in Lahore, Pakistan. Padilla and United Kingdom resident Binyam Mohammed were alleged to have been recruited to travel to the USA to launch terrorist attacks, at the Lahore safe house.


Padilla traveled to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq. On his return, he was arrested by federal agents at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport on May 8, 2002, and held as a material witness on a warrant issued in the state of New York stemming from the September 11, 2001 attacks.

On June 9, 2002, two days before District Court Judge Michael Mukasey was to issue a ruling on the validity of continuing to hold Padilla under the material witness warrant, President George Bush issued an order to Secretary Rumsfeld to detain Padilla as an "enemy combatant," and Padilla was transferred to a military brig in South Carolina without any notice to his attorney or family. The order "legally justified" the detention using the 2001 AUMF passed in the wake of September 11, 2001 (formally "The Authorization for Use of Military Force Joint Resolution (Public Law 107-40)) and by opining that a U.S. citizen detained on U.S. soil can be classified an enemy combatant. (This opinion is based on the decision of the United States Supreme Court in the case of Ex parte Quirin, a case involving the detention of a group of German-Americans in the United States working for Nazi Germany).[15]

According to the text of the ensuing decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, Padilla's detention as an "enemy combatant" (pursuant to the President's order) was based on the following reasons:

  1. Padilla was "closely associated with al Qaeda," a designation for loosely knit insurgent groups sharing common ideals and tactics, "with which the United States is at war";
  2. He had engaged in "war-like acts, including conduct in preparation for acts of international terrorism";
  3. He had intelligence that could assist the United States in warding off future terrorist attacks; and
  4. He was a continuing threat to American security.

2002 memos

Shortly after September 26, 2002, a Gulfstream jet carrying David Addington, Alberto Gonzales, John A. Rizzo, William Haynes II, two Justice Department lawyers, Alice S. Fisher and Patrick F. Philbin, and the Office of Legal Counsel's Jack Goldsmith flew to Camp Delta to view Mohammed al-Kahtani, then to Charleston, South Carolina to view Padilla, and finally to Norfolk, Virginia to view Yaser Esam Hamdi.[16]

In October 2008, 91 pages of memos drafted in 2002 by officers at the Naval Consolidated Brig, Charleston became public.[17][18] The memos indicate that officers were concerned that the isolation and lack of stimuli were causing fellow prisoner Yasser Hamdi mental anguish at one point. The memos also state that Padilla and a third prisoner, Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, were held in similar conditions at the Brig.

Habeas corpus

Because Padilla was being detained without any criminal charges being formally made against him, he, through his lawyer, made a petition for a writ of habeas corpus to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, naming then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld as the respondent to this petition. The government filed a motion to dismiss the petition on the grounds that:

  1. Padilla's lawyer was not a proper "Next Friend" to sign and file the petition on Padilla's behalf;
  2. Commander Marr of the South Carolina brig, and not U.S. Secretary Rumsfeld, should have been named as the respondent to the petition; and
  3. the New York court lacked personal jurisdiction over the named respondent Secretary Rumsfeld who resides in Virginia.

The New York District Court disagreed with the government's arguments and denied its motion. However, the court further declared that President Bush had constitutional and statutory authority to designate and detain American citizens as "enemy combatants" and that Padilla was entitled to challenge his "enemy combatant" designation and detention in the course of his habeas corpus petition, although release was denied. Since the New York District Court had in some way disappointed all sides of this legal battle, both Padilla and the government made an interlocutory appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

On December 18, 2003, the Second Circuit declared that:

  1. Padilla's lawyer is a proper "Next Friend" to sign and file the habeas corpus petition on Padilla's behalf because she, as a member of the bar, had a professional duty to defend her client's interests. Further, she had a significant attorney-client relationship with Padilla and was far from being some zealous "intruder" or "uninvited meddler";
  2. Secretary Rumsfeld can be named as the respondent to Padilla's habeas corpus petition, even though it is South Carolina's Commander Marr who had immediate physical custody of Padilla, because there have been past cases where national-level officials have been named as respondents to such petitions;
  3. the New York District Court had personal jurisdiction over Secretary Rumsfeld even though Rumsfeld resides in Virginia and not New York because New York's "long arm statute" is applicable to Secretary Rumsfeld, who was responsible for Padilla's physical transfer from New York to South Carolina; and
  4. despite the legal precedent set by Ex parte Quirin, "the President lacked inherent constitutional authority as Commander-in-Chief to detain American citizens on American soil outside a zone of combat". The Second Circuit relied on the case of Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, 343 U.S. 579 (1952), where the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled that President Truman, during the Korean War years, could not use his position and power as Commander-in-Chief, created under Article 2, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, to seize the nation's steel mills on the eve of a nation-wide steelworkers' strike. The extraordinary government power to curb civil rights and liberties during crisis periods, such as times of war, lies with Congress and not the President. Article 1, Section 9, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution grants Congress, and not the President, the power to suspend the right of habeas corpus during a period of rebellion or invasion.

Declaring that without clear Congressional approval (per 18 U.S.C. § 4001(a)) President Bush cannot detain an American citizen arrested in the United States and away from a zone of combat as an "illegal enemy combatant", the court ordered that Padilla be released from the military brig within 30 days.[19] However, the court had stayed the release order pending the government's appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

U.S. Supreme Court

On February 20, 2004, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the government's appeal. The Supreme Court heard the case, Rumsfeld v. Padilla, in April 2004, but on June 28, 2004, the court dismissed the petition on technical grounds because:

  1. It was improperly filed in federal court in New York instead of South Carolina, where Padilla was actually being detained; and
  2. the Court held that the petition was incorrect in naming the Secretary of Defense as the respondent instead of the Commanding Officer of the naval brig who was Padilla's actual custodian for habeas corpus purposes.

District Court for South Carolina

Jose Padilla at the Navy Consolidated Brig.

The case was refiled in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, and on February 28, 2005 the court ordered that the government either charge or release Padilla.[20][21] On June 13, 2005, the Supreme Court denied the government's petition to have his case heard directly by the court, instead of the appeal being first heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia.

On September 9, 2005, a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit ruled that President Bush had the authority to detain Padilla without charges.[21] In an opinion written by judge J. Michael Luttig, Luttig cited the joint resolution by Congress authorizing military action following the September 11, 2001 attacks, as well as the June 2004 ruling concerning Yaser Hamdi.

Attorneys for Padilla and civil liberties organizations, filing friend of the court briefs, argued that the detention was illegal. They said it could lead to the military holding anyone, from protesters to people who check out what the government considers the wrong books from the library. The Bush Administration denied the allegations. Their argument noted that the Congressional military authorization (the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists) pertained only to nations, organizations or persons whom the President "determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the September 11, 2001 attacks, or harbored such organizations or persons." They advanced a reading of this language would suggest a Congressional limitation to the military power would assure an appropriately narrow range of detainees and that the power to detain would last only so long as the Congressional authorization was not revoked or remained in effect by its terms. Similarly, they noted that the Yaser Hamdi Supreme Court case (Hamdi v. Rumsfeld) upon which the court relied, required a habeas corpus hearing for any alleged enemy combatant who demands one, claiming not to be such a combatant, which would require additional judicial or military tribunal oversight over each such detention.

The argument in the general public concerning the legality of Padilla's detention also examined one of the provisions of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 enacted on October 17, 2006, which states:

Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, and notwithstanding any other law [emphasis added] (including section 2241 of title 28, United States Code, or any other habeas corpus provision), no court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to hear or consider any claim or cause of action whatsoever, including any action pending on or filed after the date of enactment of this chapter, relating to the prosecution, trial, or judgment of a military commission convened under this section, including challenges to the lawfulness of the procedures of military commissions under this chapter.

The Military Commissions Act of 2006 does not apply by its terms to José Padilla, since he is a U.S. citizen, although other provisions of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 may provide civil and criminal amnesty to those involved in his case, who might otherwise face civil rights lawsuits or criminal liability for unlawfully detaining someone. The immunity provisions may be tested in a civil suit brought by Padilla against John Yoo discussed below.


On November 22, 2005, CNN's front page broke the news that Padilla had been indicted on charges he "conspired to murder, kidnap and maim people overseas."[22] Padilla's lawyer correlated the indictment's timing as avoidance of an impending Supreme Court hearing on the Padilla case: "the administration is seeking to avoid a Supreme Court showdown over the issue".[23] None of the original allegations put forward by the U.S. government three years prior, the claims that held Padilla in the majority in solitary confinement throughout that period, were part of the indictment: "Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced Padilla is being removed from military custody and charged with a series of crimes" and "There is no mention in the indictment of Padilla's alleged plot to use a dirty bomb in the United States. There is also no mention that Padilla ever planned to stage any attacks inside the country. And there is no direct mention of Al-Qaeda. Instead the indictment lays out a case involving five men who helped raise money and recruit volunteers in the 1990s to go overseas to countries including Chechnya, Bosnia, Somalia and Kosovo. Padilla, in fact, appears to play a minor role in the conspiracy. He is accused of going to a jihad training camp in Afghanistan but his lawyers said the indictment offers no evidence he ever engaged in terrorist activity."[24] Considering Padilla was held for years in military custody with no formal charges brought, many were shocked by this move by the George W. Bush presidential administration,[25] and some[who?] reasoned that a repeat of such a process would allow the U.S. government to detain citizens indefinitely without presenting the cause that would eventually be tried.

On December 21, 2005 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit refused to authorize a transfer from the Navy brig.[26][27] The court suggested that the administration was now manipulating the federal court system with "intentional mooting" in order to avoid Supreme Court review, and recognized "shifting tactics in the case threatens [the government's] credibility with the courts". This was countered by Solicitor General Paul Clement: the federal appeals court decision "defies both law and logic," he stated in a request to the Supreme Court for immediate transfer on December 30, 2005,[28] one day after Padilla's lawyers filed a petition of their own charging the U.S. President of overstepping his authority.[29]

On January 3, 2006, the United States Supreme Court granted a Bush administration request to transfer Padilla from military to civilian custody.[26] Padilla was transferred to a federal prison in Miami from the Navy brig in Charleston while the Supreme Court decided whether to accept his appeal of the government's authority to keep citizens it designates "enemy combatants" in open-ended military confinement without benefit of trial.

On April 3, 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court declined, with three justices dissenting from denial of certiorari, to hear Padilla's appeal from the 4th Circuit Court's decision that the President had the power to designate him and detain him as an "enemy combatant" without charges and with disregard to habeas corpus.[30]

Criminal proceedings

ADX Florence, where Padilla is held

Padilla was indicted on three criminal counts in the Miami, Florida criminal proceeding to which he was transferred from military custody. He pled not guilty to all charges. The trial commenced on May 15, 2007,[31] and lasted for 3 months.

Partial dismissal of counts against Padilla

Two weeks after the presiding judge claimed prosecutors were "light on facts" in its conspiracy allegations,[32] one of the three charges against Padilla was dismissed and another was dismissed in part.

The first of the three counts Padilla was charged with, conspiracy to murder (punishable by life imprisonment), was dismissed on August 16, 2006, on the grounds that it was duplicative of the other two counts pending against him. The second count was conspiracy to materially aid terrorists under 18 U.S.C. § 371 (punishable by five years in prison) and the third was 18 U.S.C. § 2339A (punishable by 15 years in prison). The trial court ordered that the government elect only a single criminal statute in its second count of the indictment.

However, on January 30, 2007, the Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit reversed the ruling and reinstated a charge of conspiracy to "murder, kidnap, and maim."[33]

Allegations of torture during imprisonment

Padilla's legal team filed a motion to dismiss the case, alleging that during his imprisonment he has been subjected to torture, including sensory deprivation, sleep deprivation, enforced stress positions and administered various drugs including possibly LSD and PCP.[34]

Delays in prosecution

Two additional motions also filed in October 2006, argued that the case should be dismissed because the government took too much time between arresting Padilla and charging him.[citation needed] In essence, the argument was that for constitutional speedy trial purposes, the arrest took place prior to his detention as an enemy combatant, and not simply when he was transferred to civilian custody.

Mental competency hearing

In January 2007 a mental competency hearing was scheduled for February 22, 2007 over allegations of torture by the military,[35] after two mental health experts hired by the defense to conduct a competency evaluation concluded Padilla is not mentally fit for trial and a third evaluation submitted by the Bureau of Prisons found him mentally competent. The judge also ordered that Sandy Seymour, technical director of the Charleston brig, Craig Noble, brig psychologist, Andrew Cruz, brig social worker, four employees of the Miami federal detention center, and a Defense Department lawyer appear at the hearing.[36]

On February 22, 2007, at the competency hearing, Angela Hegarty,[37] a psychiatrist hired by Padilla's defense, said that after 22 hours of examining Padilla it was her opinion that he was mentally unfit to stand trial. She said that he exhibited “a facial tic, problems with social contact, lack of concentration and a form of Stockholm syndrome." She diagnosed his condition as post-traumatic stress disorder.[38][39] She told the court "It's my opinion that he lacks the capacity to assist counsel. He has a great deal of difficulty talking about the current case before him."[39] In cross examination Federal prosecutor John Shipley pointed out that Padilla had a score of zero on Hegarty's post-traumatic stress disorder test and pointed out that this information was omitted in her final report. Hegarty responded that this omission was an error on her part.[39] Another psychiatrist hired by the defense testified along the same lines. The Miami Herald reported that a "U.S. Bureau of Prisons psychiatrist who believes Padilla is fit to face trial and Defense Department officials -- are expected to testify at the ongoing hearing before U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke."[39]

Conviction and sentencing

On August 16, 2007, after a day and a half of deliberations, the jury found Padilla guilty on all counts. He was scheduled to be sentenced on December 5, 2007, but his sentencing was postponed to January due to the death of a family member of the judge scheduled to sentence him. He was sentenced on January 22, 2008 to 17 years and 4 months in federal prison.[40] His co-defendants received 15-year, eight-month and 12-year, eight-month sentences respectively.[41]

Before receiving his permanent prison assignment, Padilla was placed in the Federal Detention Center, Miami facility.[42] Padilla's sentence is currently being served at ADX Florence "Supermax" prison in Florence, Colorado.[43][44] Padilla, prisoner number 20796-424, has a projected release date of 03-28-2021.[45]

Direct appeal of criminal conviction

As of February 28, 2008, Padilla had appealed his conviction and sentence, and the government had cross-appealed.[46]

Sentence ruled too lenient

On September 19, 2011, a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has thrown out the 17-year prison sentence imposed on Jose Padilla, ruled that the sentence imposed by a Miami federal judge was too lenient, and sent the case back for a new sentencing hearing. The Court said, "Padilla's sentence of 12 years below the low end of the (sentencing) guidelines range reflects a clear error of judgment about the sentencing of this career offender."[47][48]

Criticism of his conviction

Andrew Patel, Padilla’s lawyer, said after the guilty verdict, “What happened in this trial, I think you have to put it in the context of federal conspiracy law, where the government doesn’t have to prove that something happened, but just that people agree that something should happen in the future. In this case, it was even more strained. The crime charged in this case was actually an agreement to agree to do something in the future. So when you’re dealing with a charge like that, you’re not going to have—or the government’s not going to be required to produce the kind of evidence that you would expect in a normal criminal case.”[49]

Paul Craig Roberts criticized the jury's verdict in the Padilla case as having "overthrown" the Constitution and doing far more damage to US liberty than any terrorist could.[50]

Andy Worthington wrote "[Seventeen] years and four months seems to me to be an extraordinarily long sentence for little more than a thought crime, but when the issue of Padilla's three and half years of suppressed torture is raised, it's difficult not to conclude that justice has just been horribly twisted, that the President and his advisors have just got away with torturing an American citizen with impunity, and that no American citizen can be sure that what happened to Padilla will not happen to him or her. Today, it was a Muslim; tomorrow, unless the government's powers are taken away from them, it could be any number of categories of 'enemy combatants' who have not yet been identified."[51]

Timothy Lynch of the Cato Institute raised several issues with the Padilla seizure in an amicus brief he filed to the Supreme Court. In it, he asks questions such as whether the president can lock up any person in the world and then deny that person access to family, defense counsel, and civilian court review; and the use of "harsh conditions" and "environmental stresses." He questioned whether such techniques be employed against anyone once the president gives an order. Those legal questions remain unsettled even today.[52] By abruptly moving Padilla from the military brig and into the ordinary criminal justice system, Lynch argued that the Bush administration was able to forestall Supreme Court review of the president’s military powers.

Glenn Greenwald journalist and former constitutional law and civil rights litigator writes a highly critical piece in online magazine 21st September 2011 [53]

Civil proceedings

On January 4, 2008, Padilla and his mother filed suit against John Yoo in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (Case Number CV08 0035).[54] The complaint seeks damages based on the alleged torture of Padilla attributed by the complaint to Yoo's torture memoranda. The claim is that Yoo caused Padilla's damages by authorizing his alleged torture through his memoranda.[55][56]

On June 12, 2009, the trial court held that the complaint should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim, because if everything stated in the complaint was taken as true, it stated grounds for Yoo to be liable to Padilla for civil damages.[57]


According to his attorney and others, Padilla has changed the pronunciation of his family name from the typical /pəˈdiːjə/ pə-dee-yə to /pəˈdɪlə/ pə-dil.[24][58] (See also Ll.) Padilla's Muslim name Abdullah al-Muhajir, which he began using during his jail sentence, literally means "Abdullah the migrant". "al-Muhajir" is a laqab (epithet) rather than an adopted family name. Padilla is not related or known to be connected in any way to Abu Hamza al-Muhajir.


  • March 2002: Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, purported mastermind of the September 11 attacks and Al-Qaida's operational planner and organizer, allegedly suggests José Padilla target up to three high-rise buildings that use natural gas with a radiological "dirty bomb."
  • May 8, 2002: Padilla arrives at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport after an overseas trip, carrying $10,526, a cell phone and e-mail addresses for al-Qaeda operatives. He is arrested on a material witness warrant.
  • June 9, 2002: Padilla is listed as an "enemy combatant" and transferred to the Defense Department.
  • Shortly after September 26, 2002, a Gulfstream jet carrying David Addington, Alberto Gonzales, John A. Rizzo, William J. Haynes, II, two Justice Department lawyers, Alice S. Fisher and Patrick F. Philbin, and the Office of Legal Counsel's Jack Goldsmith flew to Camp Delta to view Mohammed al-Kahtani, then to Charleston, South Carolina to view Jose Padilla, and finally to Norfolk, Virginia to view Yaser Esam Hamdi.[16]
  • December 18, 2003: The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit orders Padilla to be released from military custody within 30 days and if the government chooses, tried in civilian courts.
  • January 22, 2004: The Second Circuit suspends its ruling after the Bush administration appeals the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • March 3, 2004: Lawyers for Padilla meet with him for the first time since his incarceration at a naval brig in June 2002.
  • June 28, 2004: In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court rules that Padilla should have filed his appeal in federal court in Charleston, S.C., because he is being held at a Navy brig there, rather than in New York.
  • September 9, 2005: A panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit rules that the government can continue to hold Padilla indefinitely.
  • October 25, 2005: Padilla appeals the appeals court decision to the Supreme Court. The Bush administration's deadline for filing arguments is November 28.
  • November 22, 2005: Padilla is indicted by a federal grand jury in Miami on charges that he conspired to "murder, kidnap and maim" people overseas. The charges do not include any allegations of a "dirty bomb" plot or other plans for U.S. attacks.
  • December 21, 2005: United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in an opinion authored by Circuit Judge J. Michael Luttig, chastises the administration for using one set of facts to justify holding Padilla without charges and another set to persuade a grand jury in Florida to indict him. Luttig said the administration has risked its "credibility before the courts."
  • January 4, 2006: Supreme Court agrees to let the military transfer Padilla to Miami to face criminal charges, overruling the Fourth Circuit.
  • January 12, 2006: Padilla pleads not guilty to charges alleging he was part of a secret network that supported Muslim terrorists. The charges could bring a life in prison sentence.
  • April 3, 2006: Supreme Court rejects Padilla's appeal, although Chief Justice John Roberts and other key justices said that they would be watching to ensure Padilla receives the protections "guaranteed to all federal criminal defendants."
  • August 16, 2006: Federal trial court in Miami, Florida dismisses conspiracy to murder charges against Padilla, leaving the most serious charge still pending a charge that could bring a 15-year prison sentence.
  • October, 2006: Padilla moves to dismiss the federal criminal case against him alleging that he had been tortured and that proceedings had been delayed too long from his arrest in May 2002.
  • January 30, 2007: The United States Court of Appeals reverses the August 2006 decision and reinstates the conspiracy to murder charge with a potential life sentence.
  • May 15, 2007: Trial commences in federal trial court.
  • July 13, 2007: Prosecution rests case in federal criminal trial.
  • August 16, 2007: Jury reaches verdict in federal criminal trial. Padilla is found guilty on all charges relating to conspiracy.
  • January 4, 2008: Padilla commences civil suit in California against John Yoo.
  • January 22, 2008: Padilla is sentenced to 17 years, 4 months in prison on the criminal charges of conviction by the U.S. District Court.
  • June 12, 2009: Padilla's civil suit against John Yoo sustained by U.S. District judge in California.
  • September 19, 2011: 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the sentence imposed by a Miami federal judge was too lenient and sent the case back for a new sentencing hearing

See also


  1. ^ BBC NEWS, Padilla given long jail sentence
  2. ^ Saunders, Debra J. (2004-04-27). "Padilla's life and Times". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-01-25. 
  3. ^ a b ["'Dirty Bomb' Suspect's Criminal Record."] CNN. June 11, 2002
  4. ^ a b Sontag, Deborah. "Terror Suspect's Path From Streets To Brig." New York Times. April 25, 2004.
  5. ^ a b Candiotti, Susan; Mark Potter (2002-06-15). "Feds arrest man linked to 'dirty bomb' suspect". CNN. Retrieved 2007-01-25. 
  6. ^ "Two Defendants Charged in Florida with Providing Material Support to Terrorists." United States Department of Justice/
  7. ^ "Judge Refuses To Set Bail For Padilla." Fox News, February 17, 2006.
  8. ^ Goodnough, Abby. "Prosecutors Are Wrapping Up Case Against Padilla; Arresting Agents Testify." New York Times. July 13, 2007]
  9. ^ New York Times photo
  10. ^ Pepe Escobar (2002-07-13). "PART 4: Tracking al-Qaeda in Europe". Asia Times. Retrieved 2010-10-20. "Suspected "dirty bomber" Jose Padilla, alias Abdullah al-Muhajir, an American citizen, took a bomb-making course in an al-Qaeda safe house in Lahore and met key al-Qaeda operatives in Karachi last March." 
  11. ^ Joanne Mariner (2008-08-25). "A UK Window into CIA Abuses". Findlaw. Retrieved 2010-10-20. "The military commission charges that have been sworn against Mohamed allege that he attended an Al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan, and later received training in building remote-controlled explosive detention devices in Pakistan. While living at an Al Qaeda safe house in Lahore, Pakistan, the charges say, Mohamed allegedly agreed to be sent to the United States to conduct terror operations." [dead link]
  12. ^ Donna Leinwand, Jack Kelley (2002-06-). "U.S. citizen arrested in 'dirty bomb' plot". USA Today. Retrieved 2010-10-20. "A Defense Department official said Abu Zubaydah, a top al-Qaeda official in U.S. custody, led U.S. authorities to Al Muhajir — possibly to try to sow fear in the USA by showing that al-Qaeda had recruited an American. Al Muhajir met Zubaydah in Afghanistan last year and then traveled to Pakistan, where he studied how to assemble a radioactive bomb at an al-Qaeda safe house in Lahore, a senior U.S. law enforcement official said. Weeks later, Al Muhajir met with senior al-Qaeda leaders in Karachi." 
  13. ^ Bob Drogin, Josh Meyer, Eric Lichtblau (2002-06-16). "Al Qaeda Gathering Strength in Pakistan". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-20. "U.S. officials say that Padilla, who used the Muslim name Abdullah al Muhajir, studied bomb-making early this year at an Al Qaeda safe house in Lahore, met with senior Al Qaeda officials in March at another safe house in Karachi and traveled elsewhere in the country. Pakistani police arrested Padilla's alleged accomplice in Rawalpindi. Although Padilla's role was not known at the time, U.S. and Pakistani officials raided the Lahore safe house where he had stayed as well as suspected Al Qaeda compounds in several other cities March 28. Abu Zubeida, Al Qaeda's operations chief, and several of his senior aides were captured after a shootout that night at a house in Faisalabad." 
  14. ^ Thomas Joscelyn (2009-03-18). "Gitmo's General: The U.S. can't risk releasing detainee Ghassan Abdullah al Sharbi". The Weekly Standard. Retrieved 2010-10-20. "As Gordon Cucullu explains in his book Inside Gitmo: The True Story Behind the Myths of Guantánamo Bay, al Sharbi translated the dirty bomb instructions for Mohamed and Padilla at an al Qaeda safe house in Lahore, Pakistan." 
  15. ^ "Authorization for Use of Military Force: Padilla v. Bush: Jose Padilla under the Joint Resolution." The Syracuse Journal of International Law and Commerce, issued by the Syracuse University College of Law.
  16. ^ a b Mayer, Jane, "The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals", 2008. p. 199
  17. ^ Cratty, Carol (2008-10-08). "Military concerned for detainee's sanity, records show". CNN. Archived from the original on 2008-10-09. Retrieved 2008-10-08. 
  18. ^ "2002 Navy Consolidated Brig emails about the captives' mental health". United States Department of Defense. 2002. Archived from the original on 2008-10-09. Retrieved 2008-10-09. 
  19. ^ Holding, Reynolds (2003-12-19). "Courts affirm rights of terror suspects / Judges reject Bush policies on prisoners in Cuba and U.S.". San Francisco Chronicle: p. A-1. Retrieved 2007-01-25. 
  20. ^ Hirschkorn, Phil (March 1, 2005). "Federal judge: Charge Padilla or release him". CNN. 
  21. ^ a b "Court upholds Padilla detention". Washington Times. September 9, 2005. 
  22. ^ Arena, Kelli; Terry Frieden and Phil Hirschkorn (2005-11-22). "Terror suspect Padilla charged". CNN. Retrieved 2007-01-25. 
  23. ^ Barbash, Fred (2005-11-22). "Padilla's Lawyers Suggest Indictment Helps Government Avoid Court Fight". Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-01-25. 
  24. ^ a b Amy Goodman, Andrew Patel, Bill Goodman (2005-11-23) (RTSP/RDP video; mp3 audio). Why did the Bush Administration Hold Jose Padilla for 3 Years as an Enemy Combatant? No Mention of al Qaeda or Plot to Attack U.S. in Indictment. Democracy Now. Retrieved 2007-01-25. 
  25. ^ McCaffrey, Shannon (2005-11-23). "Indictment of Padilla unveiled". OC Register. Retrieved 2007-01-25. 
  26. ^ a b Greenhouse, Linda (2006-01-05). "Justices Let U.S. Transfer Padilla to Civilian Custody". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-01-25. 
  27. ^ Hirschkorn, Phil (2005-12-22). "Court rejects government request to move 'enemy combatant'". CNN. Retrieved 2007-01-25. 
  28. ^ Meyer, Josh (2005-12-29). "U.S. asks justices to transfer Padilla". Seattle Times (Los Angeles Times). Retrieved 2007-01-25. 
  29. ^ Lichtblau, Eric (2005-12-29). "Supreme Court Is Asked to Rule on Terror Trial". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-01-25. 
  30. ^ Stout, David (April 3, 2006). "Justices, 6-3, Sidestep Ruling on Padilla Case". New York Times. 
  31. ^ Jose Padilla Trial Begins
  32. ^ "Judge agrees Padilla terror case ‘light on facts’ / Prosecutors ordered to back up their assertion defendants conspired to injure, kill". MSNBC (Associated Press). 2006-06-21. Retrieved 2007-01-25. 
  33. ^ St. Onge, Jeff (2007-01-31). "Appeals Court Renews Charge Against Padilla". New York Sun. Retrieved 2007-02-16. 
  34. ^ Eggen, Dan (2006-11-19). "More setbacks for case against terror suspect / Legal debate flares over trying charges in a criminal court". San Francisco Chronicle (Washington Post). Retrieved 2007-01-25. 
  35. ^ Richey, Warren (2007-02-16). "Was Jose Padilla tortured by US military?". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 2007-02-16. 
  36. ^ Blum, Vanessa (2007-02-16). "Judge says 3 from Navy brig must testify at terror suspect's sanity hearing". Sun-Sentinel.,0,1684842.story?coll=sfla-home-headlines. Retrieved 2007-02-16. 
  37. ^ "Interview with forensic psychiatrist Dr. Angela Hegarty: An Inside Look at How U.S. Interrogators Destroyed the Mind of Jose Padilla". DemocracyNow. 2007-08-16. Retrieved 2010-07-24. 
  38. ^ "Padilla 'not fit to stand trial'". BBC. 2007-02-22. Retrieved 2007-02-22. 
  39. ^ a b c d Weaver, Jay (2007-02-22). "Terror suspect hearing gets underway". Miami Herald. Archived from the original on 2007-02-25. Retrieved 2007-02-22. 
  40. ^ "Padilla sentenced on terror charges."
  41. ^ "Padilla sentenced on terror charges."
  42. ^ McMahon, Paula and Tonya Alanez. "Rothstein's dive from Bahia Drive: Miami detention center humbles lifestyle of disgraced attorney." The Palm Beach Post. Tuesday December 8, 2009. Retrieved on December 30, 2009.
  43. ^ Jose Padilla To Supermax
  44. ^ Padilla Sent To Colorado Supermax Prison
  45. ^ "Inmate Locator - Jose Padilla." Federal Bureau of Prisons. Retrieved on December 30, 2009.
  46. ^ Let's get ready to rumble
  47. ^ US court says 17-year prison sentence for terror plotter Jose Padilla is too short
  48. ^ "court says Padilla sentence too lenient". Reuters. Reuters. Retrieved 19 September 2011. 
  49. ^ Jose Padilla Convicted-The Expanding U.S. Machinery of Repression: ?Thought Crimes,? Preventive Detention, and Torture
  50. ^ Padilla Jury Opens Pandora’s Box by Paul Craig Roberts
  51. ^ Andy Worthington » Blog Archive » Why Jose Padilla’s 17-year prison sentence should shock and disgust all Americans
  52. ^ "Brief of the Cato Institute as Amicus Curiae in Support of Respondents."
  53. ^ »  » Jose Padilla and how American justice functions
  54. ^ Yoo, John (2008-01-19). "Terrorist Tort Travesty". Wall Street Journal. pp. Page A13. Retrieved 2008-02-10. "Last week, I (a former Bush administration official) was sued by José Padilla -- a 37-year-old al Qaeda operative convicted last summer of setting up a terrorist cell in Miami. Padilla wants a declaration that his detention by the U.S. government was unconstitutional, $1 in damages, and all of the fees charged by his own attorneys." 
  55. ^ Anderson, Curt (2008-01-04). "Padilla Sues Ex-Bush Official Over Memos". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2008-01-07. Retrieved 2008-02-10. 
  56. ^ Cassell, Elaine (2008-01-04). "Jose Padilla's Suit Against John Yoo: An Interesting Idea, But Will It Get Far?". Findlaw. Retrieved 2008-02-10. 
  57. ^
  58. ^ Donna Newman (2005-11-22) (WMA audio). Does Not Rhyme With "Tortilla". Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-01-25. 

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