HE IS: One of just a few African-American lawyers to represent a prisoner being held in the infamous GuantÃ¡namo Bay, Cuba, detention center. A lifelong Gary, Indiana, resident, Bullock is also running to become a state representative for his district this May.
FREEDOM FIGHTER: Bullock opened a law firm in 2004 specializing in civil rights and job discrimination cases. Two years later, he partnered with the Center for Constitutional Rights, a legal advocacy group seeking pro bono lawyers for GuantÃ¡namo Bay detainees, who had been confined without ever being charged with a specific crime.
BEFORE THE JUDGE: Bullockâ€™s client, an Afghani captured in Pakistan, has been held for six years. (Bullock canâ€™t elaborate on the case, but says that post-9/11 the U.S. government offered money for information leading to the capture of suspected terrorists, which resulted in a number of false accusations.) â€œIf the detainees are guilty of some action against the U.S., then clearly they should be punished,â€ Bullock says. â€œBut at the very least, they should be told the basis of their detentionâ€”and be provided with some mechanism for challenging it.â€ The Supreme Court agreed, ruling in 2008 that GuantÃ¡namo prisoners have the right to a hearing to determine whether their detention is lawful. Bullock is working to arrange one for his client.
LAW AND ORDER: President Obama has pledged to close GuantÃ¡namo and has proposed moving some detainees to an Illinois prison.Â However, Bullock says, â€œFor me, closing GuantÃ¡namo isnâ€™t really the issue. The issue is whether my client will get to give evidence of his innocence.â€ As for critics alarmed by the prospect of having detainees on American soil, Bullock is sympathetic but unwavering. â€œWe have tried terror suspects [here] before. . . and we hold all kinds of bad people in jail all the time,â€ he counters. â€œThe bottom line is we canâ€™t simply say that because the government [alleges] that these people are terrorists they donâ€™t get due process. I donâ€™t think I want to live in a country that [believes] that.â€