Padilla v. Yoo

678 F.3d 748 (2012)

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Padilla v. Yoo

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
678 F.3d 748 (2012)

Facts

In June 2002, the United States president declared that Jose Padilla (plaintiff) was an enemy combatant and ordered him taken into military custody. According to the presidential order, Padilla supported al-Qaeda, had engaged in hostile acts, possessed intelligence information that could have helped the United States, and was an ongoing and grave danger to national security. Padilla was detained in military custody from June 2002 to January 2006 and for a large portion of that time had no contact with anyone outside the facility. According to Padilla, he was subjected to extreme interrogation tactics akin to torture, conduct that had allegedly been sanctioned by legal policies developed by John Yoo (defendant), the deputy assistant attorney general at the Office of Legal Counsel between 2001 and 2003. For instance, Padilla claimed that he had been extremely isolated, had experienced prolonged sleep deprivation or positions of stress and pain, had been exposed to loud sounds or noxious odors, and had been denied access to medical care and an ability to practice his religion. In 2008, Padilla and his mother, Estela Lebron (plaintiff), sued Yoo, who filed a motion to dismiss based on qualified immunity. Yoo posited that even if Padilla had been mistreated as he claimed, it was not clear between 2001 and 2003 that enemy-combatant citizens could not be detained and subjected to extreme interrogation tactics. The district court denied Yoo’s motion. The court believed that, assuming the pleaded facts were true, Yoo had violated clearly established constitutional or statutory rights insofar as any reasonable official would have understood that enemy-combatant citizens should receive at least the same rights as ordinary prisoners. Yoo appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Fisher, J.)

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