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Federal court orders Bush Administration to charge Padilla with a crime or let him go

I've been watching for news of the Jose Padilla case. I've posted on it in May 2004 and in June 2004, twice . The New York Times has latest news.

A federal district judge in South Carolina ruled Monday that President Bush had greatly overstepped his authority by detaining an American citizen as an enemy combatant for nearly three years without filing criminal charges.

The judge, Henry F. Floyd, ruled that the government must release the American, Jose Padilla, within 45 days from the military brig in Charleston, S.C., where he has been held since June 2002. That left the Bush administration time to appeal, and a Justice Department spokesman, John Nowacki, said officials immediately decided to do so.

In his opinion, Judge Floyd sharply criticized the administration's use of the enemy combatant designation in Mr. Padilla's case.

"The court finds that the president has no power, neither express nor implied, neither constitutional nor statutory, to hold petitioner as an enemy combatant," Judge Floyd wrote.... "To do otherwise would not only offend the rule of law and violate this country's constitutional tradition,... but it would also be a betrayal of this nation's commitment to the separation of powers that safeguards our democratic values and individual liberties."

[via Capitol Hill Blue]

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