Oh, gee. I thought I was done.
I found another line of cases specific to terrorism cases. It is not called a “national security exception.” The case that I am reading at the moment is the case of the underwear bomber, who tried on Christmas Day, 2009, to blow up a plane flying into Detroit and only succeeded in incinerating his groin.
In United States v. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, after a suppression hearing held in September, 2011, the U.S. District Court judge allowed into evidence Abdulmutallab’s un-Mirandized statements. Here is what had happened.
After he had set fire to his groin, he was taken to the University of Michigan Hospital for treatment. He had been at the hospital for about 3 hours on Christmas Day, and had had his wounds cleaned and a mess of fentanyl injected. The FBI Agent had learned from a Customs agent that Abdulmutallab had admitted that he had detonated an explosive device in his underwear, and that he was acting on behalf of Al-Qaeda. “Mindful of Defendant’s self-proclaimed association with al-Qaeda and knowing the group’s past history of large, coordinated plots and attacks, the agents feared that there could be additional, imminent aircraft attacks in the United States and elsewhere in the world.” He was questioned for about 50 minutes before he was Mirandized.
The judge permitted this information to come into evidence against him.
“Special Agent Waters reiterated that, before he interviewed Defendant, he was aware that Defendant claimed to be acting on behalf of al-Qaeda. The agents were also well aware that on September 11, 2001, al-Qaeda operatives hijacked four airplanes in an attack on the United States that killed almost 3,000 people. Mindful of Defendant’s self-proclaimed association with al-Qaeda and knowing the group’s past history of large, coordinated plots and attacks, the agents logically feared that there could be additional, imminent aircraft attacks in the United States and elsewhere in the world.
“Defendant was asked questions that sought to identify any other attackers or other potentially imminent attacks – information that could be used in conjunction with other U.S. government information to identify and disrupt such imminent attack before they could occur. The agents limited their questioning to approximately 50 minutes, at which time they had sufficient information to address the threat to public safety. The agents then concluded their interview and immediately passed that information on to other law enforcement and intelligence agencies worldwide, further underscoring that it was obtained for purposes of public safety, to deal with other possible threats.”
This is also a situation where the government didn’t NEED the statements to come into evidence to convict this guy of the charges that he was facing. So this sounds to me like prosecutors trying to dare the judge to suppress the evidence, or daring the appeals court to overturn the conviction. Abdulmutallab got a life sentence, by the way.
One little detail that I learned in running down the Abdulmutallab case… If you do a WestLaw search for “Abdulmutallab,” you get a reference to a 2010 case that is styled “Jonathan L. Riches, a/k/a Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, d/b/a Bernard L. Madoff v. The Sporting News et al.” It seems that Mr. Riches, who was a resident of the Lexington Federal Medical Center of the Bureau of Prisons, was complaining that 110 different news organizations and publications were conspiring together to “get the big story me about my Previous Life that they want to feature me in their magazine.” He also claimed that the defendants were defaming him, that they had been exchanging sport secrets about him with Sports Illustrated without his consent, and that they had been using secret bugging devices and lining cameras along the fence at the Lexington Federal Medical Center where he was then incarcerated so that they could film him and sell the film to Youtube. He wanted a restraining order prohibiting Defendants from producing and distributing his material and from terrorizing him. The judge threw the case out without a hearing, finding no jurisdictional basis alleged in the hand-written pleading. Riches eventually got released from federal prison; in the last few months, though, he has tried to become the lawyer for disgraced former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, and he tried to pass himself off as Jonathan Lanza, the uncle of Newtown shooter Adam Lanza. (Read this piece here for details…) He had also recently sued Kim Kardashian, claiming that she had taken his virginity, and alleging that he had met Kardashian and Kanye West in a secret Al Qaeda training camp.