The Prison at Guantanamo Bay and America’s “Commitment to Justice”
a discussion with
Assistant Federal Public Defender Carlos Warner
Monday February 9, 2015
Tinkham Veale University Center, Ballroom A
In his State of the Union address, President Obama proclaimed that, “As Americans, we have a
profound commitment to justice — so it makes no sense to spend three million dollars per prisoner
to keep open a prison that the world condemns and terrorists use to recruit.” He added that he
had worked “to cut the population of GTMO in half… and I will not relent in my determination to
shut it down. It’s not who we are.”
Meanwhile, leading Republican senators have proposed legislation to force Obama to keep the
remaining prisoners there.
We can see this as a clash between Congress and the President, or some Democrats and almost all Republicans. But amid that conflict in Washington we should try to understand what happens in the prison at Guantanamo Bay itself. How is the prison run? In Boumediene v. Bush, the
Supreme Court ruled that prisoners had access to the federal courts to challenge their confinement. That means they have access to public defenders. How real is that right, and what do public defenders find when they try to represent these clients?
About Our Guest
Carlos Warner is an Assistant Federal Public Defender for the
Northern District of Ohio, and has been a public defender for 15 years in both state and federal courts. Since 2007 he has represented men detained in Guantanamo Bay. He has represented over a dozen men and represents one “High Value Detainee.” Carlos has appeared in various forms of media nationally and internationally advocating for his clients and for the closure of the prison at Guantanamo Bay. He is a lifelong resident of Northeast Ohio and graduated cum laude from the University of Akron with a Juris Doctorate and a Masters degree in Public Administration.