- Two men seriously hurt in crash near Fruitland (9/21/16)3
- Perryville man arrested for alleged patronizing prostitution, harassment (9/23/16)6
- Video and evidence largely confirm trooper's claims in April traffic stop shooting (9/23/16)9
- Cape man may lose eye after shovel beating, police say (9/25/16)2
- Funeral procession of former Cape Girardeau police chief Henry H. Gerecke (9/22/16)17
- Cape man accused of attacking pregnant girlfriend (9/22/16)
- Driver charged with manslaughter in crash that killed 2 (9/27/16)
- Show Me Center upgrades may allow facility to draw more elaborate shows (9/21/16)17
- Man convicted of Perryville convenience-store heist (9/21/16)
- Planning, design puts renovations of H-H building into hotel on hold (9/26/16)4
Blanket closure of detainee deportation hearings barred
NEWARK, N.J. -- A federal judge granted a preliminary injunction Wednesday barring the government from enforcing it's blanket policy on secret deportation hearings for immigrants detained in the terrorism investigation.
Such hearings may only be closed on a case-by-case basis by the judge conducting the proceeding, Chief U.S. District Judge John W. Bissell said. Civil rights groups and two newspapers had requested the injunction.
In a Sept. 21 memorandum, the nation's chief immigration judge directed immigration judges to close hearings involving detainees whose cases have been designated of "special interest" to the FBI. The memo also prohibited court administrators from listing the cases on dockets, or confirming when hearings are to be held.
"Without an injunction, the government could continue to bar the public and press from deportation proceedings without any particularized showing of justification. This presents a clear case of irreparable harm to a right protected by the First Amendment," Bissell wrote.
The Justice Department has not decided whether to appeal, spokesman Charles Miller said.
Bissell acted on a lawsuit that was filed March 6 by the Newark chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and the New York-based Center For Constitutional Rights on behalf of the New Jersey Law Journal, a weekly publication, and North Jersey Media Group, publisher of the Herald News of West Paterson, a daily newspaper.
The newspapers' reporters tried to cover court hearings involving detainees, but were barred from courtrooms, along with the rest of the public.
"As important as the war on terrorism is, it doesn't supersede our constitutional rights," Lawrence Lustberg, a lawyer for the newspapers, said Wednesday.
As of Wednesday, 104 post-Sept. 11 detainees were still in custody around the nation, down from more than 700, Justice Department spokesman Dan Nelson said. Most have been held in county jails in New Jersey.
On the Net:
New Jersey media lawsuit: http://www.aclu.org/court/creppy.pdf
U.S. Justice Dept.: http://www.usdoj.gov