Garcia v. Thomas

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Habeas Corpus
  • Date Filed: 06-08-2012
  • Case #: 09-56999
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: En banc; Per curiam; Concurrence by Circuit Judge Thomas; Dissent by Circuit Judge Tallman; Partial Concurrences and Partial Dissents by Circuit Judges Berzon and Pregerson; Partial Dissent by Chief Judge Kozinski
  • Full Text Opinion

Under the Convention Against Torture and the Due Process Clause, an extraditee has the right to a determination by the Secretary of State that it is “not more likely than not that the extraditee will face torture.” In a habeas corpus proceeding, a court must find that right fully vindicated if the court receives a properly executed declaration from the Secretary of State “that she has complied with her obligations.”

“Trinidad y Garcia allege[d] that his extradition to the Philippines would violate his rights under the Convention Against Torture ("CAT") and the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause.” Thomas, who was named as appellant in her capacity as Warden of the Metropolitan Detention Center-Los Angeles, appealed the district court’s order granting Garcia’s release. The Ninth Circuit noted that “the Secretary of State must make a torture determination before surrendering an extraditee who makes a CAT claim.” The Court also found that the Foreign Affairs Reform and Restructuring Act of 1998 “and its regulations generate interests cognizable as liberty interests under the Due Process Clause, which guarantees that a person will not be 'deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.'” The Court stated: “An extraditee thus possesses a narrow liberty interest: that the Secretary comply with her statutory and regulatory obligations.” The Ninth Circuit held that if the Secretary of State submitted to the district court a “declaration that she has complied with her obligations,” then the petition for habeas corpus should be denied because “the doctrine of separation of powers and the rule of non-inquiry block any inquiry into the substance of the secretary’s declaration.” VACATED and REMANDED.

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