U.S. Second Circuit - The FindLaw 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Court Stops Deportation of Ex-Terrorist

Mohammed Khalid was the youngest person ever prosecuted on terrorism charges in the United States.

He started engaging in radical Islamic chat rooms when he was 15 from his family's apartment in Baltimore. He was arrested when he was 17 and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to support terrorists.

In Kahlid v. Sessions, authorities wanted to deport the young man. The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals had different ideas for him.

"Sneaking Violence"

Writing for the appeals court, Judge Christopher Droney said Khalid was entitled to citizenship because he was underage at the time. While he was in juvenile detention, his father naturalized.

It was a remarkable turnaround, given four other courts had ruled against him. It was not especially easy for the Second Circuit either.

Judge Dennis Jacob wrote separately to say he could not congratulate Kahlid because he "plotted sneaking violence against Americans."

"He cooperated with the authorities only when, having been caught, he found himself needing another kind of refuge," Jacobs said.

"No Continuing Threat"

In a footnote, the Second Circuit said the government had no information that Khalid was a continuing threat.

Wayne Sachs, his lawyer, told the Herald Whig that the judges "properly focused on the law rather than the petitioner's 'notoriety.'"

Kahlid was sentenced to five years in prison, and completed his sentence in 2015. He is now a college student studying cybersecurity.

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