Logourl black
From our private database of 13,300+ case briefs...

United States v. Yousef

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
327 F.3d 56 (2d Cir. 2003)


Facts

Ramzi Yousef, Eyad Ismoil, and Abdul Hakim Murad (defendants) were charged by the United States government (plaintiff) in federal district court with conspiracy to bomb twelve United States commercial airliners in Southeast Asia. Yousef entered Manila, Philippines in 1994 and devised a plan for the attack which involved five individuals placing bombs aboard the aircraft, and then exiting the planes at their first layover. All planes were bound for United States cities. Yousef and other individuals tested the plan on two occasions by placing smaller bombs in other aircraft. The plan was discovered when Yousef, together with Ismoil and Murad, was burning chemicals in his Manila apartment and accidentally started a fire. Manila police arrived at the scene and found components for making a bomb, as well as plans to carry out the airliner attacks on Yousef’s computer. The three individuals were arrested and charged with twenty counts of conspiracy. All defendants were found guilty on all counts. The district court denied several of the defendants’ pre-trial motions, including arguments that counts twelve through nineteen should be dismissed because the U.S. government exceeded its authority in finding the defendants criminally liable for conduct occurring outside the United States. Count twelve charged the defendants with violating 18 U.S.C. § 371 by conspiring to place bombs on board aircraft and destroy aircraft in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 33(a)(1) and (2). The district court held that because it had jurisdiction over the underlying offenses (placing bombs on aircraft and destroying aircraft), it also had jurisdiction over the conspiracy charges. In count nineteen, Yousef alone was charged with violating 18 U.S.C. § 32(b)(3) by placing a bomb on a civil aircraft registered in another country (an aircraft bound from the Philippines to Japan). The district court held that it had jurisdiction over this charge because Yousef’s conduct constituted “terrorism” and thus was appropriate under the customary international law principle of “universal jurisdiction.” After being convicted of these and all other counts, Yousef and Ismoil appealed. On appeal, Yousef challenges the district court’s jurisdiction over counts twelve through nineteen by arguing that customary international law does not provide a basis for jurisdiction over these counts and that United States law is subordinate to customary international law and thus cannot provide a basis for jurisdiction.  

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Issue

The issue section includes the dispositive legal issue in the case phrased as a question. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Holding and Reasoning (Walker, C.J.)

The holding and reasoning section includes:

  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 136,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 13,300 briefs, keyed to 182 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.