UPDATE: Padilla was resentenced to 21 years on September 9, 2014, extending his original sentence by four years.
The only American citizen in history to be arrested on US soil and treated as an “enemy combatant,” Jose Padilla, is scheduled to be resentenced today in Federal Court in Miami after an appellate court ruled that Padilla’s earlier sentence of over 17 years (which included 12 years of solitary confinement and some of the most inhumane incarceration tactics ever reported, such as subjecting Padilla to extreme temperature changes, alternating between blinding lights and total darkness, involuntary injections of “truth serums,” being shackled in excruciating positions, being assigned to a windowless cell with no physical contact, and eventually being allowed only 1 telephone call a month) was not enough of a punishment. The appellate court also ruled that the trial judge erred in giving Padilla credit for three years of time he served in a South Carolina Navy Brig while awaiting charges to be filed. The interrogations of Padilla were reportedly filmed, however, the government claimed it “lost” the DVD of Padilla’s final interrogation.
Padilla made news initially in 2002 after being arrested in Chicago for allegedly plotting to detonate a bomb on American soil. However, after trial in 2008, the presiding judge, Judge Cooke, found that there was no evidence that Padilla personally planned attacks against the United States or that he personally committed any violence. Padilla was ultimately convicted of conspiracy to murder and kidnap, and of supporting the terrorism group al-Qaida. Prosecutors have reportedly stated that they will seek not more than 30 years in prison; however, the minimum sentence Padilla could receive under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines as a result of the charges and prior criminal convictions is nearly 21 years.
Casey Reiter is an associate attorney at Stuart R. Manoff & Associates, P.A. in West Palm Beach, Florida, practicing in the areas of Criminal Defense and Marital Law.