Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Vladeck on habeas jurisdiction for Guantanamo detainees

Over at Prawfsblog, Steve Vladeck has a good post on the jurisdictional issues raised by moving many of the Guantanamo detainees to the Thomson facility in Illinois.

From the post:
"Does this mean that all of the habeas petitions in these cases currently pending before the D.C. district court will have to be be transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (and then, presumably, the Seventh Circuit)? [See 28 U.S.C. 93(a)(2) -- Thomson is in Carroll County.] If so, that's an awful lot of heavy lifting and wasted effort, given how much time and energy the D.D.C. judges have devoted to these cases in the past eighteen months.

The answer, I think, is no, even in light of the Supreme Court's 2004 decision in Rumsfeld v. Padilla.  There, the Court held that a habeas petitioner must name his "immediate custodian" as the respondent, and that the district court must have personal jurisdiction over _that_ official in order to have jurisdiction over the petition. [The rule doesn't apply in cases in which no district court has personal jurisdiction over the immediate custodian, which is how the Guantanamo cases ended up in D.D.C. in the first place.]"



RJE

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