Case Brief #3
Legal Issues Counter-Terrorism
Legal Issues Counter-Terrorism
Abdulla al-Kidd is an American citizen and is a well-renowned football player from Kansas. Kidd was initially Christian and converted to Islam. He was arrested in the year 2003 at an international hospital as he was traveling to Saudi Arabia. At his arrest, the FBI director at that time said that this was a success story for the FBI. Upon his arrest, Al-Kidd was never given charges and was not called as a witness in court. Ultimately, he was released and this was the root of the Ashcroft v Al-Kidd case. Upon his release, Al-Kidd created a case against Ashcroft who the US AG at the time. The charges were; during his arrest, he was not given admittance to an attorney and that he was strip-searched and shackled. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, the complainant was amongst 70 Muslim men who were treated in the same manner (Cohen, 2010). The federal government was on John Ashcroft's side and they said that he had unconditional immunity in such suits since he was within his duties as Attorney General. Since then, Ashcroft qualified immunity that prevented him against such suits unless he violated specific rights established at the violation time. However, in 2009, the Court of Appeal of the United States found that Ashcroft could be prosecuted for Al-Kidd's confinement. In 2010, the US Supreme Court settled on hearing Ashcroft's appeal based on the Ninth Circuit ruling.
Court of the Opinion
In May 2011, an 8-0 ruling was attained in the Supreme Court. According to the ruling, Al-Kidd’s attorneys did not meet the needed requirements to defend that the Attorney general ought to be sued. (Cohen, 2010). They did not also show hoe Ashcroft was involved directly in Kidd's occurrence or how his knowledge was explicated to the events. According to the court, the matter seemed to have been handled by distant subordinates and there was a probability that the attorney general was not aware that Muslim men were receiving such treatment. The CALU did not sue him personally because it is impossible to sue a senior agent from a felony that he is not directly involved (Kinports, 2016). In cases of felonies that the senior official is involved directly, he/she can be impeached or charged at court. All American government bodies have immunity from being sued. According to the Majority opinion which was written down by Justice Scalia, the court had ruled that “qualified immunity gives government officials breathing room to make reasonable but mistaken judgments about open legal questions. When properly applied, it protects all but the incompetent or those who knowingly violate the law. Ashcroft deserves neither label." (Cohen, 2010)
The issue of Ashcroft v Al-Kidd’s case is whether the Supreme Court ought to extend prosecutorial immunities to cover material witness warrant issuance. According to Ashcroft, absolute or partial immunity should be offered to cover the immunity since it is highly tied to the judicial process (Kinports, 2016). On the other hand, Al-Kidd contends that the offering of the prosecutorial immunity will open vast doors for its abuse. He also maintains that the utility of material witness warrants will act as a tool during the prosecution of criminal activity. The Supreme Court is yet to make a final decision on the boundaries that should govern prosecutorial immunity and whether prosecutors can utilize material witness warrants while detaining or investigating suspects.
Cohen, M. A. (2010). Ashcroft v. Al-Kidd (10-98). Preview US Sup. Ct. Cas., 38, 196.
Kinports, K. (2016). The Supreme Court's Quiet Expansion of Qualified Immunity. Minn. L. Rev. Headnotes, 100, 62.
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