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Cuba Travel News

 

Administrative Prosecutions of 
Cuba Travelers To Start
10/29/03

Flying in the face of last week's clear Senate majority vote (and a series of similar votes in the House), it now appears clear that the US Dept. of the Treasury's OFAC will break its 11 years of forbearance of administrative prosecutions of US travelers to Cuba, and that it has now placed at least one Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) to hear such cases. Pre-hearing procedures have already been instituted, with the likelihood that such actual hearings may be starting to take place as early as 4 months from now. See below.

However, delays are still possible, including as a result of legislative action or a lawsuit to enjoin the proceedings on various grounds.

Meanwhile maximum pressure is needed to expose an expected attempt by the House leadership to overrule the majority vote of its own members, and to scuttle the amendment which would deny funding to enforce the travel ban. This has passed the House for at least three years in a row, and passed the Senate last week. Not only is our right to travel at stake, but so is the concept of majority rule in both houses of the congress. (More later.)

Some details:

As of October 27th, CCR (the Center for Constitutional Rights, in NYC) has received two Order Instituting Proceeding (OIP) notices, with an ALJ assigned to the cases, Judge Robert L. Barton, Jr., issuing a First Pre-hearing Order, dated Oct. 24, 2003. That order requires Respondent or counsel to file a specific answer to the allegations in the OIP (which includes a complaint) within 45 days, and states that the answer must be specific rather than general, or the allegations will be deemed admitted. Perhaps someone has some information on the ALJ, as well as what precautions, if any, are in place to assure his impartiality. He is presumably a regular employee of the Dept. of Justice, working as an ALJ.

Discovery can be requested within 30 days, one or more pre-hearing conferences will be held by 14 days after the answer is filed, and a notice scheduling a hearing could then follow, giving at least 45 days notice.

Art Heitzer
aheitzer@igc.org
Law Offices of Arthur Heitzer
633 W. Wisconsin Ave Suite 1410
Milwaukee, WI 53203
414-273-1040, ext. 12; fax 414-273-485

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