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BREAKING NEWS ~ Supreme Court orders Padilla transfer to civilian custody

[JURIST] AP is reporting that the US Supreme Court has ordered that Jose Padilla [JURIST news archive] be transferred from military to civilian custody. Padilla was detained over three years ago for allegedly planning to detonate a radioactive "dirty bomb" in the US, but was not charged until November 2005, when he was indicted [JURIST report] on 11 unrelated counts, including conspiracy to murder US nationals and providing material support to terrorists. The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in December denied the Bush administration's request [JURIST report] to transfer Padilla to civilian custody for purposes of his prosecution, and the Department of Justice appealed [JURIST report] the decision [PDF text] to the Supreme Court, saying the appeals court had usurped the President's authority to direct the war on terror.

4:33 PM ET - Though the Supreme Court overruled the Fourth Circuit on the transfer decision, justices have not yet decided whether to hear Padilla's challenge to his detention in military custody. Before being charged, Padilla had challenged his indefinite detention as a military combatant. The Fourth Circuit ruled [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] in September 2005 that Padilla could be held without charge indefinitely. The decision has been appealed to the Supreme Court [JURIST report], but a decision on certiorari has not yet been made. AP has more.

6:30 PM ET - The Supreme Court's one-page order on transfer, describing the procedural context but giving no reasons, is now online here [PDF].

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