Jeffrey Colwell

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Jeffrey Colwell
Born 1965
Nationality United States
Occupation Lawyer
Known for Defended terrorist Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani

Jeffrey Colwell (born 1965) is an American lawyer, and retired colonel in the United States Marine Corps.[1] Colwell served in the Marine Corps from his graduation from the United States Naval Academy in 1987 until his retirement in 2012. The Marine Corps sponsored Colwell to earn a law degree at Suffolk University. After his retirement, he moved with his wife and two children to Denver, Colorado to become a court clerk.

Colwell served as the senior Defense attorney for Guantanamo captive Ahmed Ghailani, prior to his transfer to the US civilian justice system.[1] He concluded that Ghailani "... was a young kid at that time who was sort of lured and used as a pawn." Ghailani wanted Colwell to help defend him in his civilian trial in 2009.[2] This request was denied.[3][4] He was appointed chief defense counsel in 2010.[5]

In late 2011 newly appointed camp commander David B. Woods ordered new, highly restrictive rules on lawyers' communications with their clients.[6] Woods ordered defense attorneys to surrender for review all documents they wanted to share with their clients. Legal commentators suggested that lawyers who complied with the order were putting their license to practice law at risk, as violating attorney-client privilege was a career threatening ethical violation. Colwell ordered all defense attorneys to halt all communication with their clients, until Woods' order was withdrawn.[7]


  1. ^ a b Tom McGhee (2013-02-24). "Clerk's path to U.S. District Court in Denver wound through Gitmo". Denver Post. Archived from the original on 2013-02-25. 
  2. ^ David Bario (2009-06-20). "As First Guantanamo Detainee Faces Federal Court Criminal Trial, He's Laden with Lawyers". American Lawyer. Archived from the original on 2013-02-25. Meanwhile, the two military lawyers who represented Ghailani during his detention at Guantanamo Bay have asked to represent him in federal court, according to The Associated Press. "First and foremost is what he wants," Marine Colonel Jeffrey Colwell, who represented Ghailani before Guantanamo's military commissions, told the AP. "We've got a good working relationship." Colwell told The New York Times that Ghailani has asked Fenstermaker and his military lawyers to cooperate in his defense. 
  3. ^ "Gitmo inmate pleads not guilty in US court". USA Today. 2009-06-09. U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska acknowledged Ghailani's U.S. military lawyers, Marine Col. Jeffrey Colwell and Air Force Maj. Richard Reiter, who were seated in the courtroom but were not representing him at the hearing. 
  4. ^ Mike Melia (2009-06-09). "Lawyer: Gitmo detainee in US wants military lawyer". San Juan, Puerto Rico: Omaha Herald. Archived from the original on 2013-02-25. Marine Col. Jeffrey Colwell tells The Associated Press he is traveling from Washington to New York in hopes of staying on as Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani's defense counsel. Colwell says he has been meeting with the detainee since August and they have "a good working relationship." 
  5. ^ Peter Finn (2010-03-23). "Chief lawyers named for Guantanamo Bay defense, prosecution teams". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2013-02-25. Navy Capt. John F. Murphy, an assistant U.S. attorney seconded from New Orleans, will oversee the prosecution of Guantanamo Bay detainees, and Marine Col. Jeffrey Colwell, a career officer, will command the military defense lawyers. 
  6. ^ Jane Sutton (2012-01-17). "Guantanamo commander defends prison mail review". Reuters. Archived from the original on 2013-02-25. Chief defense counsel for the Guantanamo tribunals, Marine Colonel Jeffrey Colwell, has ordered defense lawyers to stop sending confidential mail to their clients while the order is in effect. 
  7. ^ Jane Sutton (2012-01-17). "Guantanamo commander summoned to testify in court". Reuters. Archived from the original on 2013-02-16. The judge, an Army colonel, cannot compel the prison camp commander, a Navy admiral, to change the mail policy. But he could halt the prosecution of an alleged al Qaeda bomber accused of murdering 17 U.S. sailors if he believes the policy violates prisoners' rights to a fair trial or puts defense lawyers in an ethical bind.