Federal Judge Rules Justice Department Withheld Evidence That Key Witness in Detainee Cases Was Mentally Disturbed

sullivanThe Justice Department is once again being threatened with contempt of court after United States District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan found that they withheld evidence from the defense that a witness in a “significant” number of cases was mentally disturbed. Judge Sullivan found that the testimony of the detainee was unreliable, could be challenged in other cases, and could be the basis for a possible contempt order against the government.

In the wake of the Stevens case, this ruling in the case of Aymen Saeed Batarfi, a Yemeni doctor, received little attention. However, like Stevens, the Justice Department has announced that it would no longer seek to detain the doctor. As in Stevens, the move appears to protect the Justice Department from further judicial inquiry over the misconduct of government officials and, also like the Stevens case, there is no indication that the responsible officials will be disciplined or fired.

In the hearing, Sullivan stated “To hide relevant and exculpatory evidence from counsel and from the court under any circumstances, particularly here where there is no other means to discover this information and where the stakes are so very high . . . is fundamentally unjust, outrageous and will not be tolerated . . . How can this court have any confidence whatsoever in the United States government to comply with its obligations and to be truthful to the court?”

Judge Sullivan refused to allow the government to continue to play games with the system and called its actions “still another ploy . . . to continue with his deprivation of his fair day in court.” He ordered review of the case every 14 days and threatened to impose a contempt sanction if the Justice Department continued to violate federal rules.

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140 thoughts on “Federal Judge Rules Justice Department Withheld Evidence That Key Witness in Detainee Cases Was Mentally Disturbed”

  1. I have been surfing online greater than 3 hours these days, yet I by no means discovered any attention-grabbing article like yours. It’s lovely worth sufficient for me. In my view, if all website owners and bloggers made good content material as you did, the net can be much more helpful than ever before.

  2. I say Thank You professor. I was amazed that this happened on this site. Someday’s the trash needs to go to the curb. I presume it rubbish day in DC.

    1. To the person using this and other identities, I am barring you from the site for obvious reasons.

  3. Mike A.,

    The majority of citizens would like to see, at minimum, an investigation into war crimes. Bush has only a small percentage of the population that still thinks he did a good job. Obama is, on the other hand, wildly popular. He should use the popularity he has to do the right thing. I believe you are correct that his advisors may tell him certain things, but he should be listening to many voices. More importantly, no matter what they tell him, if he cares about this country, he will honor his oath to protect the Constitution and follow our laws. A leader, leads. He does the right thing. If that means angering the right, then he needs to confront that problem head on. Our Constitiution would come first in the eyes of a true leader. No amount of “advice” from servile and frightened ruling class appeasers should be heeded. There’s a larger political reality than the right-left divide and that is the well-being of our country. The president may not shred the Constitution because he is afraid of the right wing. I also believe there are many on the right who wish to see the rule of law restored. Reach out to them. These are honorable and good people. The consequences of ignoring the rule of law are far more damaging to our nation than dealing with a small group of people on the far right.

  4. Buddha, I don’t think Pres. Obama is concerned with issues of civil liability for torture. But I do believe he is concerned with domestic repercussions. I vividly recall sitting through the Watergate hearings and there were certainly concerns at that time that they would further divide an already divided country. I suspect that there are advisers to the president who genuinely believe that prosecuting an outgoing administration might set a bad historical precedent; that the right would become enraged and argue vehemently that the entire process was purely political retribution. In addition, there is undoubtedly resistance in Congress because of its virtual submission to the desires of the Bush administration during the planning and execution of the Iraq invasion. If it takes Spain or another european country to do what we are fearful of doing, I will accept that as undesirable but necessary. But there will be much wider acceptance of the process, and the conclusions, by U.S. citizens if this country takes the lead.

  5. “meaninful” should be “meaningful.”
    “it’s interpretation” (improper contraction) should be “its interpretation” (possessive)

  6. Mike A.,

    Is it possible that Obama fears civil reprisals against the Government for torture, et al.? To me, that’s a non-starter because civil action against the State over the illegal actions of Bush Co and the Neocons is EXACTLY what sovereign immunity is for. The mechanism of state is protected but not the men who abuse the mechanism for their personal gain when the issue is criminal wrong doing. Sovereign immunity is not designed to limit the civil liability of criminal actors hiding under the color of state authority and the civil liability for said crimes should transfer to the individual and corporate actors proper who encouraged the conspiracy to invade Iraq over Saudi Arabia. An attempt to sue the U.S. Federal Govt. for Bush Co. crimes should be dismissed as a misjoinder. Absent that fallacious fear of civil losses that could amount to billions, I can see no other reason for Obama’s stonewalling on pursuing justice against Bush and Cheney unless he himself is compromised by the same graft and corporatist/fascist influence as Bush Co. But he could prove me wrong by doing the right thing and cleaning our house before the EU does it for us. However, in some respects, it’s karmic. Without American intervention, Europe would have fallen to the Nazis. Maybe it’s time for payback in that it may be time for the EU to save America from it’s own fascist threat by upholding justice when the weak within our own system are unwilling/unable.


    Yes, I have gone crazy in response to your postings. But then again that was your intent, you win you are the better man. I concede to your superior wit and reparte. My small candle of itelligence is lost in the luminosity of your superior intellect.

  8. Centurion,
    A very apropos appellation for someone like you. A little minded man who tries to come off as macho and tough. Stupid of you not to know that the Roman Legions who were called thus were the most brutal thugs of their day. However, I understand that even reflecting that back to you makes your small stones stir. You are the type that kisses the behinds of tough guys because it compensates for your own insecurity. Tip for you:
    Real tough men don’t have to try to prove it and don’t disparage others manhood. Why should they have to, they have what you lack, self confidence.

  9. Back to the point of this thread, I believe that as the deceit of the Bush administration unravels, we will continue to find instances in which the DOJ, under orders from the White House to prevent appropriate judicial review of its conduct toward detainees, not only withheld exculpatory evidence, but proffered evidence known to be false. Aside from the potential criminal liability of Bush administration officials, there will likely be bar disciplinary proceedings against a number of lawyers employed in the judicial and executive branches. The sooner the better.

  10. Mike A, in reading your asinine blog, I am still trying to figure out what meaninful subject you or your fellow ambulance chasers are discussing. Give me a holler when you sensitive, educated souls have actually started discussing law and it’s interpretation. The sad thing is Mike, you can’t seem to ignore me or my posts. Why?

  11. Bron, you have now gone officially “crazy” on this blog. Mike Appleton has now chimed in as his ego has been sufficiently prodded into activation.

  12. Centurion:

    By god man you can spell! Thank heavens your state funded education has paid off.

    Oh by the way, we engineers are notoriously bad at spelling. It must be a right brain left brain thing, you would not understand.

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