Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Omar Khadr, Guantanamo Bay Detainee, Pleads Guilty

According to reports from CNN, Guantanamo Bay's youngest detainee, Omar Khadr, pleaded guilty to the charges against him on Monday. The Sentencing Law and Policy Blog also has a post regarding the plea deal.

Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr pleaded guilty to charges against him Monday, the Pentagon said, in the first military commission trial there since Barack Obama became president.

Khadr, 24, was accused of throwing a grenade during a 2002 firefight in Afghanistan that resulted in the death of Army Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Speer, a Special Forces medic.

He also admitted that he "converted landmines to Improvised Explosive Devices and assisted in the planting of 10 IEDs with the intent of killing American forces" in the months before killing Speer, the Pentagon said.

Khadr, the youngest detainee at Guantanamo Bay, was 15 at the time. He faced a maximum sentence of life in prison.

He pleaded guilty to murder in violation of the laws of war, attempted murder in violation of the laws of war, conspiracy, two counts of providing material support for terrorism and spying in the United States, a Canadian diplomat said.

Canada -- where Khadr was born -- has been closely involved in negotiations with the United States over his plea.

A source close to the case told CNN on Monday that the deal includes an eight-year prison sentence -- one year in U.S. custody and seven to be served in Canada.

Bibas on Regulating Plea Bargaining

Stephanos Bibas (University of Pennsylvania) has a new article posted on SSRN. Download the article here.

Padilla v. Kentucky was a watershed in the Court’s turn to regulating plea bargaining. For decades, the Supreme Court has focused on jury trials as the central subject of criminal procedure, with only modest and ineffective procedural regulation of guilty pleas. This older view treated trials as the norm, was indifferent to sentencing, trusted judges and juries to protect innocence, and drew clean lines excluding civil proceedings and collateral consequences from its purview. In United States v. Ruiz in 2002, the Court began to focus on the realities of the plea process itself, but did so only half-way. Not until Padilla this past year did the Court regulate plea bargaining’s substantive calculus, its attendant sentencing decisions, the lawyers who run it, and related civil and collateral consequences. Padilla marks the eclipse of Justice Scalia’s formalist originalism, the parting triumph of Justice Stevens’ common-law incrementalism, and the rise of the two realistic ex-prosecutors on the Court, Justices Alito and Sotomayor. To complete Padilla’s unfinished business, the Court and legislatures should look to consumer protection law, to regulate at least the process if not the substance of plea bargaining.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

JetBlue Flight Attendant Pleads Guilty; Avoids Jail Time

The Wall Street Journal Law Blog is reporting that JetBlue Flight Attendant Steven Slater has pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted criminal mischief and will not serve any jail time. According to NBC News New York:

Former JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater, who made an abrupt emergency chute exit from a plane at JFK - - and from his career -- has pleaded guilty to one count of felony attempted criminal mischief and one count of misdemeanor criminal mischief.

Slater will not go to prison. A one-to three-year sentence was delayed by Supreme Court Judge Marcia Hirsch. His deal requires that he enter a year-long mental health program and also receive substance and alcohol abuse counseling.

Slater also agreed to reimburse JetBlue $10,000 -- the cost for repairing the chute.

Slater's August 9 outburst became a global sensation as some considered him a hero of the working man after he initially said he had been hit in the head with luggage by a rude passenger. Nobody was hurt as Slater famously grabbed a couple beers and slid out the plane's emergency chute.