When Judge Hogan first came on board as the "coordinator" for the Gitmo cases he entered an odd order. He ordered that all of the petitions that were filed as "next friend" petitions be supplemented with an authorization from the client for the attorney to represent them. Next friend petitions are petitions where the authorization comes from a family member or friend. I don't know how many of the cases are filed as "next friend" petitions and frankly I don't know why it matters. Neither of my cases is a next friend case so the matter does not directly impact me but I still wondered what this judge was up to. Is he going to dismiss the cases if the clients will not sign an authorization? Will those petitioners then have to represent themselves pro se? Will he bar the attorneys from going to see their clients? Most importantly why is he spending energy on this issue when the supreme court has said to get moving on these cases? Over the last few weeks there has been a dribbling of motions coming across the wires explaining why they cannot get authorizations, some of the reasons are mundane:attorneys have never seen their clients because they are waiting for security clearances and hurricanes have kept them from getting to the base. Other reasons are not mundane: men with severe medical and psychological problems who do not understand anything about the US legal system (I can relate to that one of late) and desperately need representation; men who have been long engaged with their lawyers but will not sign any documentation.
Todays Order entered by Judge Hogan (below) shows that for whatever reason he is keeping tabs on this issue and has something up his sleeve. So while our clients rot in that hell hole and our courts continue to sit on their hands Judge Hogan finds time only to enter orders that are meaningless in the overall scheme of things. Indications from previous Judge Hogan orders suggest to me that this is not going to have a happy ending.
MINUTE ORDER granting (Docket # 595, 05-cv-2386) (Docket # 522, 08-mc-442) Petitioner Abu Rawda's Motion For More Time To Submit Authorization. Accordingly, by October 28, 2008, counsel for Petitioner Rawda shall file a signed authorization from Petitioner to pursue this action or a declaration by counsel that states Petitioner directly authorized counsel to pursue this action and explains why counsel was unable to secure a signed authorization. Signed by Judge Thomas F. Hogan on 9/26/08. (lctfh1)