Friday, December 27, 2013

Ex parte Quirin case brief

Ex parte Quirin case brief summary
317 U.S. 1 (1942)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Petitioners, eight German born U.S. residents, challenged the judgment of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, which held that the President of the United States could try petitioners under the Articles of War, 10 U.S.C.S. §§ 1471-1593, at a military tribunal, and not in a civil proceeding for offenses against the law of war.

CASE FACTS
Petitioners, eight German-born U.S. residents, were captured by the United States, as they tried to enter the country during war time, for the purpose of sabotage, espionage, hostile or warlike acts, or violations under the law of war. The President of the United States held that petitioners were to be tried before a military tribunal under the Articles of War, 10 U.S.C.S. §§ 1471-1593. Petitioners challenged the President's authority, arguing that under the U.S. Constitutional article III, § 2, amendments V and VI, petitioners had a right to demand a jury trial at common law in the civil courts.

DISCUSSION

  • The court found that petitioners were alleged to be unlawful belligerents, and that under the Articles of War, they were not entitled to be tried in a civil proceeding, nor by a jury. 
  • The court also determined that trying petitioners before a military court was not illegal and did not violate the U.S. Constitutional amendments V and VI relating to "crimes" and "criminal prosecutions." 
  • Thus, the court affirmed the President's authority to try petitioners before a military tribunal without a jury.

CONCLUSION
The court affirmed the judgment of the lower court and held that petitioners did not have a constitutional right to a civil tribunal before a jury, but instead that the President of the United States could try petitioners in a military tribunal without a jury.

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