Lawyers who authored interrogation memos should be disbarred: coalition

[JURIST] A coalition of progressive organizations Monday filed disciplinary complaints with five state bar associations seeking the disbarment [materials] of 12 former US government officials associated with the legal rationales behind the Bush administration's use of enhanced interrogation techniques [JURIST news archive]. Complaints filed by the Velvet Revolution [advocacy website] with the bar associations of New York, Pennsylvania, California, Texas, and the District of Columbia allege that former attorneys general John Ashcroft, Alberto Gonzales and Michael Mukasey [JURIST news archives], former Office of Legal Council [official website] lawyers John Yoo and Jay Bybee, former vice presidential chief of staff David Addington [JURIST news archives], former Pentagon official Douglas Feith [personal website], and other government officials violated the Rules of Professional Conduct by advocating the use of torture and should be disbarred as a result. The group said [AP video] that the recent release of CIA memos [JURIST report] authorizing the use of enhanced interrogation techniques "clearly demonstrate[s] that these attorneys conspired to violate laws against torture and that their actions resulted in torture and death."

Last week former JFK speechwriter Ted Sorensen told [JURIST report] an audience at the University of Nebraska College of Law [official website] that the lawyers from the Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] who had authorized the use of enhanced interrogation techniques had "disgraced not only their country but their profession." Last month, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) [official profile; JURIST news archive], Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] renewed his call [JURIST report] for the formation of a non-partisan "truth commission" to investigate torture allegations. Also last month, UN special rapporteur on torture Manfred Nowak [official profile, DOC] insisted that under international law the US must prosecute [JURIST report] DOJ lawyers who drafted the memos. President Barack Obama has said that he would not rule out the possibility of prosecuting [transcript; JURIST report] lawyers who authored the memos. Obama had previously said that he would not pursue prosecutions of CIA interrogators [statement], a pledge which drew sharp international criticism [JURIST report].

 

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.