Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Judge denies motion to dismiss in Blackwater contractors MEJA case

We've previously noted the ongoing MEJA prosecution of Blackwater contractors and the thorny jurisdictional issues that case presents. Today's Washington Post reports that yesterday Judge Urbina denied a motion to dismiss on jurisdictional grounds. But while declining to dismiss the case, Judge Urbina reportedly characterized the jurisdictional challenge as "rather strong."

In related news, the WaPo business section reported Saturday that Blackwater Worldwide has changed its name to Xe.

For those who really care about this case, here's the minute entry entered in the case's docket today:

Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Ricardo M. Urbina: Motion Hearing as to PAUL ALVIN SLOUGH, NICHOLAS ABRAM SLATTEN, EVAN SHAWN LIBERTY, DUSTIN LAURENT HEARD, DONALD WAYNE BALL held on 2/17/2009 re 34 MOTION to Dismiss Case filed by DONALD WAYNE BALL, PAUL ALVIN SLOUGH, DUSTIN LAURENT HEARD, EVAN SHAWN LIBERTY, NICHOLAS ABRAM SLATTEN, heard and denied. 35 Joint MOTION to Dismiss Case for Lack of Venue filed by DUSTIN LAURENT HEARD, heard and denied. (Bond Status of Defendant: Defendants on PR Bond) (Court Reporter: Wendy Ricard) (Defense Attorney: Michael Barakz, Mark J. Hulkover, and Bruce Bishop-#1, Thomas G. Connolly, and Steven A. Fredley-#2, William F. Coffield-#3, David Schertler, Danny Onorato and Veronica Renzi Jennings-#4, Steven J. McCool-#5; US Attorney: Jonathan M. Malis, Kenneth Clair Khol, Barry Jonas, Joseph N. Kaster) (hsj, ) (Entered: 02/18/2009)
United States v. Slough, et al., No. 1:08-cr-00360-RMU (D.D.C. Feb. 18, 2009).


Anonymous said...

They were supporting DoD because it's a military mission. We're not going to nitpick DoD/DoS "support" when we're talking about holding Blackwater accountable to answer what's been alleged.

Cloudesley Shovell said...

Except the Government is not "holding Blackwater accountable." They are charging individuals.

Attempts at extraterritorial jurisdictional grabs ought to be disfavored, and in any case criminal jurisdictional statutes should be strictly construed against the gov't.

Unfortunately, such concepts such as the rule of lenity and the requirement to construe all criminal statutes strictly against the gov't are a dead letter. The typical spectacle is that of a Court tripping over itself inventing justifications for expanding criminal law.

And finally, if it was a military mission, why the heck wasn't the military performing that mission? Contracting out core military missions to glorified mercenaries is repugnant.