Friday, December 6, 2013

United States v. Yousef case brief

United States v. Yousef case brief summary
327 F.3d 56 (2d Cir. 2003)

Defendants appealed from judgments of conviction for conspiracy to bomb 12 United States commercial airliners in Southeast Asia and the February 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City entered in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in two separate jury trials. Defendants also appealed from the denial of several post-judgment motions.

  • Inter alia, the court held that the district court had jurisdiction over defendants' extraterritorial conduct under federal law, even though the district court erred in partly basing its finding of jurisdiction over one defendant on the universality principle of customary international law because it improperly relied on the unsupported statements of commentators instead of the practice and customs of States in determining what crimes may be subject to prosecution. 
  • However, the absence of jurisdiction over "terrorist" acts under the universality principle did not preclude prosecution under United States laws implementing the United States' obligations under the Montreal Convention. 
  • Neither the exercise of jurisdiction over defendants in the United States nor the conduct of their trials violated due process. 
  • As to the Trade Center bombing, because one defendant did not request counsel before any United States official, the admission of his post-arrest statements to Filipino law enforcement officers did not violate his Sixth Amendment right to counsel. 
  • The district court did not commit reversible error by requiring the defense to produce their experts at the Daubert hearing.
The appellate court affirmed the judgments of the district court except to the extent that one defendant's restitution requirements were modified to align with his indigent status, so that certain portions of the restitution order would become active only upon a change of financial circumstances.

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