Padilla Convicted in Terrorism Case

Jose Padilla was convicted today in Miami of being part of a terrorist cell, a crime that could land him a sentence of life in prison. The Padilla case was not an easy battle for the feds. The Chicago native was first detained in 2002 and held without charge for 31/2 years on allegations that he had plotted to detonate a radioactive bomb in the United States. But questions over his military custody—and interrogation without a lawyer—turned Padilla into a symbol of the problems with the Bush administration's approach toward many terrorist suspects.

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Jose Padilla was convicted today in Miami of being part of a terrorist cell, a crime that could land him a sentence of life in prison.

The Padilla case was not an easy battle for the feds. The Chicago native was first detained in 2002 and held without charge for 3 1 /2 years on allegations that he had plotted to detonate a radioactive bomb in the United States. But questions over his military custody—and interrogation without a lawyer—turned Padilla into a symbol of the problems with the Bush administration's approach toward many terrorist suspects.

The legal questions about his prolonged detention were never resolved because just as the Supreme Court was to hear his appeal, the administration transferred him to civilian custody on lesser charges of terrorism support.

—Emma Schwartz