Panel Preview: Pre-Trial Issues in Terrorism Cases (JNSL&P Symposium on Terrorism Trials)

In the past 13 years since the September 11th terrorist attacks, hundreds of terrorism suspects have been arrested and convicted in federal court.  A daylong symposium next Wednesday, February 11, hosted at Georgetown Law Center, and co-sponsored by the Journal of National Security Law & Policy, will explore the challenges and lessons learned.

The symposium will kick off with an in-depth discussion of pre-trial issues that have emerged in terrorism cases, focusing on both the practical and theoretical.  We will hear from Kenneth Wainstein (former Assistant Attorney General for National Security, DOJ) and Michael Farbiarz (former co-chief of the Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York) on the factors that go into the decision to investigate, as well as the decision to shift from investigation to arrest.

The discussion will cover the range of criminal procedure issues that arise in the context of such cases, including questions about Miranda and the scope of the public safety question, the timing of a defendant’s initial appearance before a court, and speedy trial issues.  Faiza Patel (the Co-Director of the Liberty and National Security Center at Program at the Brennan Center for Justice and a counter-terrorism expert) will lead off a discussion of how terrorism suspects are treated while in pre-trial custody, focusing in particular on the range of Special Administrative Measures that restrict their ability to interact with other inmates and communicate with the outside world, including family members.  And Richard Kammen (experienced criminal defense attorney who has handled numerous terrorism cases and is now representing al-Nashiri in his military commission case) will talk about the key differences that arise between Article III and military commission court, with a particular emphasis classification and discovery concerns.

Panelists will also address the range of additional issues that arise when suspects are apprehended outside the United States.  Will the Ahmed Warsame and Abu Anas al-Libi cases become the model for the future – with detainees held and interrogated aboard on a military ship before being transferred to civilian court?  What are the legal limits to that model?  What other hurdles arise in the investigation of terrorism cases that involve evidence, witnesses and defendants that transit national boundaries?

More details on the symposium, including details on how to register to attend, are available here.  And for those who cannot attend, each of the symposium panels will also be podcast after the fact here at Just Security.

  

About the Author(s)

Jennifer Daskal

Associate Professor at American University Washington College of Law Follow her on Twitter (@jendaskal).