PBS: Interview "John D. Hutson" Guantanamo Detainees Update
Sat Jul 1, 2006 01:34

Guantanamo Detainees Update


The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Thursday (June 29) that the Bush Administration does not have the authority to try terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba by military tribunal.

Following the decision, David Brancaccio spoke with John D. Hutson, a former senior lawyer for the Navy, who said the decision has broader implications.

"This decision pulls a couple of rugs out from the Administration's prosecution of the war," Hutson tells David Brancaccio. "Basically, the court's saying, 'You've got to play by the rules.'"

The court's ruling came in response to a case brought by Osama Bin Laden's former driver, Salim Ahmed Hamdan, one of 10 Guantanamo detainees facing a military tribunal. Lawyers for the inmates have pushed to have their clients tried by a civilian tribunal or court martial, wherein proceedings would be more open.

In its ruling, the Supreme Court said military tribunals contravened U.S. and international standards on prisoner rights. Hutson told NOW that he welcomed the court's decision, saying the move was favorable for human rights.

"It was not good for the Bush Administration right now, unless they learn from it. And if they learn from it and using the wisdom that the Supreme Court of the United States tried to give them, we'll all be better off for it," Hutson said. The facility at Guantanamo currently holds about 480 inmates.

How are Detainees Treated?

See NOW's report: Lockdown: Detainees in the "War on Terror"

Read the Supreme Court's June 29, 2006 decision: U.S. Supreme Court ruling On Guantanamo Detainees [pdf]



John D. Hutson
President and Dean
B.A., Michigan State University
J.D., Minnesota Law School



Dean Hutson was born in North Muskegon, Michigan. He was commissioned in the U.S. Navy upon graduation from Michigan State University in 1969. He graduated from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1972. Upon admission to the State Bar of Michigan, he attended the Naval Justice School in Newport, R.I. In 1973, he was assigned to the Law Center in Corpus Christi, TX, where he served as Chief Defense Counsel and Chief Trial Counsel. In 1975, he was transferred to Naval Air Station, Point Mugu, CA. He served as the station legal officer for two years before returning to Newport to serve as an instructor at the Naval Justice School, where he taught civil law, procedure, and evidence.

In 1980, Dean Hutson attended Georgetown University Law Center where he earned a Master of Laws degree in labor law. He was then assigned as a legislative counsel in the first of three tours in the Office of Legislative Affairs for the Navy. In 1984, he was assigned to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, ME, where he served both as Staff Judge Advocate and Administrative Officer.

Dean Hutson assumed duty as Executive Officer of the Naval Legal Service Office, Newport, RI, in 1987. In 1989, he returned to Washington, DC, to serve as Staff Judge Advocate and Executive Assistant to the Commander, Naval Investigative Command.

In August, 1989, Dean Hutson moved to the Office of Legislative Affairs as Director of Legislation. Between October, 1992, and November, 1993, he was assigned as the Executive Assistant to the Judge Advocate General of the Navy. In November, 1993, he resumed duty in the Office of Legislative Affairs.

In August, 1994, he assumed duty as Commanding Officer, Naval Legal Service Office, Europe and Southwest Asia, located in Naples, Italy. In July, 1996, Dean Hutson returned to the Naval Justice School as Commanding Officer. He was promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral, and assumed duties as the Judge Advocate General of the Navy in May, 1997. He also served as the DOD/JCS Representative for Ocean Policy.

Dean Hutson was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit (with three gold stars), Meritorious Service Medal (with two gold stars), Navy Commendation Medal, and Navy Achievement Medal.

Dean Hutson is married to the former Paula Smith of Fairview Park, OH. They have two daughters, Christy and Melissa.


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