Open Letter to David Carrillo Regarding Co-Teaching a Course with Torture Lawyer John Yoo

David A. Carrillo
CA DOJ - AG's Office
PO Box 70550
Oakland, CA 94612

Mr. Carrillo:

We have just learned that you plan to co-teach Constitutional Design and the California Constitution this coming spring semester at Boalt Hall with Professor John Yoo. This causes us grave concern, which we would like to share with you.

You are probably aware that Yoo is the author of memos justifying torture—which is, of course, always and everywhere a crime—as well as memos justifying domestic spying on U.S. citizens. He did this while in a position of power in the Bush administration, knowing that his work would be used to implement policies that violate both domestic and international law, professional ethics rules, and basic standards of human decency. His actions resulted in gross violations of civil liberties, physical pain, and death.

In response to Yoo's unethical actions as an attorney, the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility has prepared a report that should be released this month and will likely ask relevant state bars to take appropriate disciplinary action against Yoo and others. Yoo also faces a civil lawsuit brought by Jose Padilla for authorizing extremely harsh treatment of Padilla in violation of his constitutional rights – a lawsuit which a George H. Bush appointed federal judge is allowing to go forward over the objections of Yoo and his attorneys. Yoo is also facing criminal charges in a Spanish court for violations of international law.

There has been and will continue to be serious and determined opposition to Mr. Yoo's presence at Boalt and in the city of Berkeley. A diverse alliance of student groups came together as the Boalt Alliance to Abolish Torture, which held a month of torture awareness panels, with much of the focus on Yoo's infamous memos. Over 200 Berkeley law students and staff signed on to petitions submitted November 24, calling for the Justice Department, the Pennsylvania State Bar, and the UC Berkeley Academic Senate to conduct an investigation of "Torture Memo" Lawyers. Berkeley City Council has publicly condemned Yoo's work and requested action from the U.S. Attorney's Office, and local activists have made it clear through dozens of protest actions that Yoo is not welcome in Berkeley.

By instructing a class with Mr. Yoo, you are helping to legitimize his illegal and unethical actions. The timing could not be worse for a partnership with Mr. Yoo - just as the calls for justice are starting to be heard. We urge you to reconsider. We ask that you teach the course alone, or if Dean Edley won't allow that, that you withdraw from co-teaching it with Yoo.

We would very much like to sit down with you in the near future to discuss this further.


National Lawyers Guild San Francisco Bay Area Chapter

joined by

Alliance for Justice
Bay Area Association of Muslim Lawyers
Berkeley La Raza Law Students Association
Boalt Alliance to Abolish Torture
East Bay La Raza Lawyers Association
Law Students for Justice in Palestine
National Lawyers Guild UC Berkeley School of Law Chapter