University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name ACLU Foundation v. Mattis NS-DC-0123
Docket / Court 1:17-cv-02069 ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) National Security
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
On October 5, 2017, the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation (ACLUF) filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of an American citizen being detained by the United States military in Iraq. The plaintiff sued the Secretary of Defense under the federal ... read more >
On October 5, 2017, the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation (ACLUF) filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of an American citizen being detained by the United States military in Iraq. The plaintiff sued the Secretary of Defense under the federal habeas corpus statute, 28 U.S.C. §2241, the Non-Detention Act of 1971, and 18 U.S.C. § 4001(a). The plaintiff sought injunctive relief, claiming violations of the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments to the United States Constitution. The Defense Department had detained the plaintiff since on or around September 14, 2017, after Syrian forces transferred him to U.S. Custody. The Defense Department asserted it was detaining the plaintiff because he was allegedly fighting for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria ("ISIS") in Syria. The ACLUF claimed that the Defense Department held the plaintiff "without charge, without access to a court or other meaningful opportunity to challenge his detention before a neutral decisionmaker, and without access to counsel."

The defendants moved to dismiss the complaint on October 30, 2017. They alleged that the ACLUF lacked standing to seek habeas corpus relief on the plaintiff's behalf and that the circumstances did not warrant the ACLUF's immediate access to the plaintiff. On December 23, 2017, District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan denied the motion. 286 F. Supp. 3d 53. She ordered the Defense Department to allow the ACLUF immediate and unmonitored access to the plaintiff for the purpose of determining whether the plaintiff wished for the ACLUF to continue this action on his behalf. She also ordered the Defense Department to refrain from transferring the plaintiff until the ACLUF informed the court of the plaintiff's wishes regarding his representation in this action. The plaintiff presumably requested that the ACLUF continue the action on his behalf.

The plaintiff moved for the court to prevent the Defense Department from transferring him to another country while his case was pending. Judge Chutkan granted in part and denied in part this motion on January 23, 2018. She held that the court would not enjoin the Defense Department from transferring the plaintiff but would require it to provide the court and the plaintiff's counsel with seventy-two hours' notice prior to any transfer. 288 F. Supp. 3d 195. The defendants appealed this judgment on February 2, 2018. On April 18, 2018, the plaintiff sought a preliminary injunction to prevent the Defense Department from transferring the plaintiff from U.S. custody into the custody of another country. Judge Chutkan granted this motion on April 19, 2018. The defendants appealed this judgment on April 20, 2018.

The defendants' two appeals were consolidated. On May 7, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit sustained both of the district court's orders. The opinion for the court was filed by Circuit Judge Sri Srinivasan, with whom Circuit Judge Robert L. Wilkins joins. A dissenting opinion was filed by Circuit Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson. 889 F.3d 745.

On June 22, 2018, the plaintiff filed a sealed motion for a preliminary injunction and the party underwent settlement discussions. On October 28, 2018, the Defense Department released the plaintiff and the parties agreed to dismiss this case with prejudice. On November 7, 2018, the court dismissed this case with prejudice and order each party to bear its own costs and fees.

The plaintiff then filed an unopposed motion for extension of time to destroy documents and the court granted this order on February 28, 2019. In addition, the court ordered that the plaintiff must file any motion to challenge continued designation of materials by April 8, 2019.

Victoria Fiengo - 09/27/2018
Sichun Liu - 03/17/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Male
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Law-enforcement
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Confinement/isolation
Over/Unlawful Detention
Terrorism/Post 9-11 issues
Torture
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Special Case Type
Habeas
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Habeas Corpus, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2241-2253; 2254; 2255
Defendant(s) U.S. Defense Department
Plaintiff Description An American citizen being detained by the United States military in Iraq.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Habeas relief
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Voluntary Dismissal
Filing Year 2017
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  U.S. Citizen, Detained Without Charge by Trump Administration for a Year, Is Finally Free
Date: Apr. 12, 2019
By: ACLU
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:17-cv-02069-TSC (D.D.C.)
NS-DC-0123-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/01/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus [ECF# 1]
NS-DC-0123-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/04/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 8] (D.D.C.)
NS-DC-0123-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/19/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion [ECF# 29] (286 F.Supp.3d 53) (D.D.C.)
NS-DC-0123-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 12/23/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion [ECF# 51] (288 F.Supp.3d 195) (D.D.C.)
NS-DC-0123-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 01/23/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice of Appeal [ECF# 56]
NS-DC-0123-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/02/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 88] (D.D.C.)
NS-DC-0123-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/19/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice of Appeal [ECF# 89]
NS-DC-0123-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/20/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order
NS-DC-0123-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/09/2018
Source: U.S. Court of Appeals website
Joint Status Report [ECF# 120]
NS-DC-0123-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/26/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Chutkan, Tanya Sue (D.D.C.) show/hide docs
NS-DC-0123-0002 | NS-DC-0123-0003 | NS-DC-0123-0004 | NS-DC-0123-0006 | NS-DC-0123-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Hafetz, Jonathon L. (New York) show/hide docs
NS-DC-0123-0001 | NS-DC-0123-0008 | NS-DC-0123-9000
Kaufman, Brett Max (New York) show/hide docs
NS-DC-0123-0008 | NS-DC-0123-9000
Ladin, Dror (New York) show/hide docs
NS-DC-0123-9000
Metcalf, Hope R. (Connecticut) show/hide docs
NS-DC-0123-9000
Shamsi, Hina (New York) show/hide docs
NS-DC-0123-0001 | NS-DC-0123-0008 | NS-DC-0123-9000
Spitzer, Arthur (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
NS-DC-0123-0001 | NS-DC-0123-0008 | NS-DC-0123-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Burnham, James M (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
NS-DC-0123-0005 | NS-DC-0123-0007 | NS-DC-0123-0008 | NS-DC-0123-9000
Henry, Terry Marcus (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
NS-DC-0123-0005 | NS-DC-0123-0007 | NS-DC-0123-0008 | NS-DC-0123-9000
Hunt, Joseph H. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
NS-DC-0123-0008
Liu, Jessie K. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
NS-DC-0123-0005 | NS-DC-0123-0007 | NS-DC-0123-0008
Readler, Chad Andrew (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
NS-DC-0123-0005 | NS-DC-0123-0007
Scott, Olivia Hussey (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
NS-DC-0123-0007 | NS-DC-0123-0008 | NS-DC-0123-9000
Wyer, Kathryn L. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
NS-DC-0123-0005 | NS-DC-0123-0007 | NS-DC-0123-0008 | NS-DC-0123-9000

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