US Government Brief Denies Padilla Was Tortured

Thanks again to David Markus here’s a copy of the Government’s Opposition To Defendant Padilla’s Motion To Dismiss For “Outrageous Government Conduct”.

Short version: We deny everything. And even if it’s all true the remedy is to sue us, not dismiss this case.

Pithy quote:

The government in the strongest terms denies Padilla’s allegations of torture — allegations made without support and without citing a shred of record evidence. For present purposes, however, what matters is that the law plainly does not permit the remedy he seeks: dismissal of the indictment. No further inquiry is required.

Disengenous argument warning:

Padilla’s allegations of torture have no merit whatsoever, but the more basic and insurmountable problem with his motion is a purely legal one. Padilla has not cited a single precedent “absolutely bar[ring]” a federal criminal prosecution because of alleged due process violations committed during a prior military detention. By contrast, courts have firmly and consistently held that an indictment may not be dismissed due to supposed “outrageous government conduct” arising out of the defendant’s treatment while detained. The defendant’s remedy, if any, lies in the civil process or prosecution of the offenders; he is not entitled to a free pass from his own criminal conduct. Moreover, even in the wholly distinct line of cases involving allegedly outrageous prosecutorial misconduct, a defendant still must show that the misconduct substantially prejudiced his defense, and produce up front evidence to support his claims. Padilla has not made such a showing, and his motion should be denied as a matter of law.

Well of course there are no cases involving misconduct during prior military incarceration — that was part of the misconduct! — but no judge is going to have any trouble charging the prosecution with the military’s conduct. An ever so much more so given that Padilla was held in civilian detention before being turned over to the Navy.

That said, the government has meatier arguments based on 11th Circuit precedent…but I’m not sure on a quick reading that they utterly tie the judge’s hands.

Prediction: At least some kind of hearing.

The big issue: Will there be discovery? How much?

(Links to text of Padilla’s motion, to which this is a response, here.)

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5 Responses to US Government Brief Denies Padilla Was Tortured

  1. p.lukasiak says:

    let me see if I understand this….

    The government’s case is based on the fact that the government’s actions were unprecedented, which results in no judicial precendent supporting Padilla’s motion, and the lack of judicial precedent makes Padilla’s motion worthless.

    Is it Joseph Heller or Lewis Carroll writing the governments briefs now?

  2. Ugh says:

    without citing a shred of record evidence

    Is there even a record to cite to? I mean, have there been depositions, interrogatories, witness interviews, etc? Doesn’t seem like it.

  3. Anne says:

    Considering that DoJ refused to release Padilla’s medical records, it does not surprise me that there is no “shred of evidence”

  4. Patrick (G) says:

    Medical Records are just the tip of it:

    1104 Treatrnent and Release of Prisoners.
    1. Persons in confinement shall be in the
    custody of a master-at-arms or other person
    designated by the commanding officer. They
    shall not be subjected to cruel or unusual
    treatment. They shall be visited as necessary,
    but at least once every four hours to acertain
    their condition, and to care, as may be
    appropriate, for their needs.

    If the U.S. Navy followed their regulations, Padilla was in the custody of a specific person, during the course of his naval detention. The commanding officer of the brig that kept Padilla should be able to identify who that person was at any point during Padilla’s detention. That custodian should be able to vouch that they or a delegate fulfilled their responsibilities by checking on their prisoner at least once every four hours and that at no time was their prisoner subjected to cruel or unusual treatment.

    In addition, there should be logs of orders to and from Padilla’s custodian(s) and commanding officer(s) and reports concerning Padilla as their prisoner.

    If the U.S. Navy is unwilling or unable to provide those witnesses and that evidence to the court, then Padilla’s accusations are presumptively true because if the U.S. Navy had been following their regulations, there would have been admissible evidence that would disprove those accusations.

  5. posterboy says:

    Liars. His lawyers say he was never let outside, the gov’t says he was. Hmm…who’s got the motivation to lie here?

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