Terrorists on Trial

Hundreds of "enemy combatants" continue to be held in U.S. custody at Guantánamo Bay and possibly other secret U.S. prisons overseas. Despite a raft of Supreme Court cases designed to obtain the detainees additional legal rights, as many as 100 of them are expected to be tried this spring in military commissions that limit both public disclosure and the latitude accorded lawyers in defending them.

That's one reason the Jan. 22 sentencing—in a traditional U.S. courtroom—of Brooklyn, N.Y., native Jose Padilla to more than 17 years in prison for terrorist conspiracy has attracted attention. Soon after Padilla's arrest in 2002, he...

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