Legal News

Judge Lashes Out at Attorney During Guantanamo Hearing
Download PDF
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)

On Monday during an argument as to whether attendance by five Guantanamo prisoners is mandatory in court ended when a military judge angrily ended the defense lawyer’s comments. The exchange occurred in a pretrial hearing for the case involving Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the death penalty. Mohammed has been accused of being the mastermind of the September 11 attacks that killed 2,976 people. There are four other al Qaeda conspirators as defendants in the case.

Prior to being transferred to Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in 2006, the defendants had  been imprisoned in secret CIA locations. The five defendants claim that they were tortured during negotiations. The judge in the case is Army Colonel James Pohl. Pohl said that the question of torture is irrelevant when it comes to determining if the defendants have the right to voluntarily miss court hearings.


The lawyer for Mohammed, Air Force Captain Michael Schwartz, said that removing the defendants from their cell forcibly and dragging them into court would cause them emotional and physical strain that would remind them of their time in custody with the CIA. The exchange between Schwartz and Judge Pohl went as follows:

“We have to talk about torture,” Schwartz said.

“No we don’t,” the judge replied.

Get JD Journal in Your Mail

Subscribe to our FREE daily news alerts and get the latest updates on the most happening events in the legal, business, and celebrity world. You also get your daily dose of humor and entertainment!!

“I think we do,” Schwartz said.

“I’m telling you I don’t think that’s relevant to this issue. That’s the end of that,” Pohl snapped.

As Schwartz kept pressing the issue Pohl responded “Are you having trouble hearing me? Move on to something else!”

Pohl issued a ruling that permits the defendants from not appearing in court during the hearings but must be present when the jury is assembled for trial. When Mohammed was asked if he understood that for now, his attendance was voluntary, Mohammed responded, “Yes, but I don’t think there’s any justice in this court.”

The other four defendants in the case are Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, Ramzi Binalshibh, Mustafa al Hawsawi and Walid bin Attash. They have been charged with attacking civilians, conspiring with al Qaeda, attacking civilian targets, destruction of property, murder in violation of the laws of war, terrorism and hijacking. All of the defendants could be sentenced to death if they are convicted.

There was a previous attempt to try the defendants at Guantanamo that ended when President Obama and his administration attempted to move the trial to New York City. Congress pressured the president and his administration to abandon the idea, which led to the charges being filed again in Guantanamo.



Principal, Board Governance Advisor

USA-CA-Newport Beach

 The Principal, Board Governance Advisor is responsible for supporting the Board of Directors o...

Apply now


USA-CA-Los Angeles

LA based law firm with multinational practice seeks a Patent Prosecution / IP attorney. 2+ years of ...

Apply now

Paralegal / Legal Assistant I (USAO)


Duties and Responsibilities • provide a variety of direct legal support assistance to the C...

Apply now

Associate Attorney

USA-LA-New Orleans

Greenbaum Breuer and Associates is a high-volume New Orleans, LA based firm that practices exclusive...

Apply now




Search Now

Associate Attorney


Portland office of a BCG Attorney Search Top Ranked Law Firm seeks an associate attorney with 1 year...

Apply Now

Real Estate And Commercial Litigation Attorney

USA-FL-Vero Beach

Vero Beach office of a BCG Attorney Search Top Ranked Law Firm seeks a real estate and commercial li...

Apply Now

Litigation Associate Attorney

USA-CA-San Diego

San Diego office of a BCG Attorney Search Top Ranked Law Firm seeks a litigation associate attorney ...

Apply Now


To Top