U.S. Appellate Court Rules U.S. Can Detain Citizens Without Charges under War Power

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Tuesday, November 1, 2005
Bruce Zagaris
On September 8, 2005, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit issued an opinion holding that the U.S. President can use his power as commander-in-chief to indefinitely detain a U.S. citizen arrested in the U.S. without any criminal charges. The ruling occurred in the case of Jose Padilla, a former gang member and U.S. citizen arrested in Chicago in 2002. One month later President George W. Bush designated Padilla an "enemy combatant." The U.S. government argues and the appellate court found that Padilla trained at al Qaeda camps and was planning to bomb apartment buildings in the U.S. Padilla has been detained without trial in a U.S. naval brig for more than three years?[more]