Gideon at Guantánamo

13 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2015

Date Written: 2013


The right to counsel maintains an uneasy relationship with the demands of trials for war crimes. Drawing on the author’s personal experiences from defending a Guantánamo detainee, the Author explains how Gideon set a baseline for the right to counsel at Guantánamo. Whether constitutionally required or not, Gideon ultimately framed the way defense lawyers represented their clients. Against the expectations of political and military leaders, both civilian and military lawyers vigorously challenged the legality of the military trial system. At the same time, tensions arose because lawyers devoted to a particular cause (such as attacking the Guantánamo trial system) were asked at times to help legitimize the system, particularly when it came to decisions about whether to enter a plea to help legitimize the rickety trial system in operation at Guantánamo.

Keywords: Guantánamo, Uniform Code of Military Justice, military order

JEL Classification: K00, K30, K39

Suggested Citation

Katyal, Neal K., Gideon at Guantánamo (2013). Yale Law Journal, Vol. 122, pp. 2416-2427, 2013, Available at SSRN:

Neal K. Katyal (Contact Author)

Georgetown University Law Center ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States
202-662-9807 (Phone)
202-662-9410 (Fax)

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