Jeh Johnson Opens The Door To Post-Acquittal Detentions

I’m seeking further clarity on this, but just as the Senate Armed Services Committee’s first panel on military commissions was wrapping up, Pentagon General Counsel Jeh Johnson strongly suggested that if the administration considered someone to be dangerous, it could detain him after a court acquitted him of a crime.

 “If you have authority under the law of war to detain someone” under the Supreme Court’s Hamdi ruling, “that is true irrespective of what happens on the prosecution side.”

Martinez looked surprised. “So the prosecution is moot?” he asked.

“No, no, not in my judgment,” Johnson said. But the scenario he outlined strongly suggested it is.

 Uh, lawyers? Please weigh in here…

Update: Of course, in Johnson’s defense, the White House’s Department of Law can just overturn any verdict anyway.

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Spencer Ackerman

Spencer Ackerman