Brian Kehrl reports on the Justice Department's campaign against government accountability for government injustice: On March 30 the High Court heard arguments on two combined cases involving the Alien Tort Claims Act of 1789 (ATCA), a law interpreted to allow foreign victims of human rights violations the ability to sue in federal court. The cases involve a Mexican doctor who was arrested and brought to the United States by Mexican nationals hired by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Dr. Humberto Alvarez-Machain was charged in 1990 with participating in the murder of a DEA agent in Mexico but was acquitted after two years of court battles for lack of evidence. The presiding judge called the government’s charges “wild hunches and speculation” when he dismissed the case. Alvarez-Machain returned to Mexico and filed suits against the U.S. government and Francisco Sosa, a Mexican policeman hired by the DEA for the kidnapping. A federal district court in Los Angeles dismissed the suit against the government but ruled in favor of Alvarez-Machain in the suit against Sosa and awarded the doctor $25,000 in damages. After Sosa appealed, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld the judgment and also reinstated the case against the government. Both decisions were appealed to the Supreme Court.


Post a Comment

<< Home