In an extremely rare intervention by an Article III court into an on-going court-martial, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington has issued a preliminary injunction stopping court-martial proceedings in the case of United States v. Watada until 26 October. Watada v. Head, No. C07-5549BHS (W.D. Wash. Oct. 5, 2007). NIMJ’s web site has a link to the order here. Phil “My Liege” Cave called my attention to a Seattle Times article about the case here.
1LT Watada’s first court-martial ended in a mistrial, and U.S. District Court Judge Settle is concerned with a potential double jeopardy violation from proceeding with a second court-martial. In his order, Judge Settle goes so far as to say that “the record indicates that Petitioner’s double jeopardy claim is meritorious.” Watada, No. C07-5549BHS, slip op. at 3.
Judge Settle ordered Army officials to file a response by 12 October and 1LT Watada’s counsel to file a reply by 17 October 2007. He set the case for further consideration of 19 October 2007. It looks like we’ll be following this case closely over the coming month.