Johnson v. Eisentrager, 339 U.S. 763 (1950) grew out of World War II and dealt with the question of what rights, if any, detained enemy aliens, who had never entered the United States, could claim. The Court split 6-3.
The Facts: The case involved petitions of habeas corpus from 21 German nationals being held in Landsberg Prison in Germany, then under U.S. control. They had been captured in China while supporting German forces following Germany's unconditional surrender on May 8, 1945, but prior to the surrender of Japan. These prisoners were tried and convicted of war crimes by a military commission sitting in China with the express permission of the Chinese Government. They were repatriated to Germany to serve their sentences. The German prisoners claimed that their trial, conviction and imprisonment violated Articles I and III of the U.S. Constitutition, the Fifth Amendment, and other provisions of the Constitution and laws of the United States, as well as provisions of the Geneva Conventions.Read More