Detroit Underwear Bomber’s Attorney Works to Have Client’s Conviction and Sentence Overturned by U.S. Court of Appeals

On Christmas Day in 2009, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight as the airplane descended in Detroit. Abdulmutallab’s efforts failed, leaving him the only person injured of the 286 passengers aboard the Amsterdam to Detroit flight. Now, his defense attorney has appealed Abdulmutallab’s conviction and sentencing to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit. plane-silhouette-1414861-m.jpg

The defendant, who is the son of a wealthy Nigerian banker, had a chemical bomb in his underwear which was intended to blow up the airplane. Upon detonating, the bomb caused a small fire which resulted in Abdulmutallab suffering severe burns. The defendant admitted the scheme was a suicide mission. He was charged with eight criminal offenses which included conspiracy to commit terrorism, willful attempt to destroy an aircraft, and attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. He was sentenced to four life prison terms.

The appellate court has reportedly listened to the defending attorney’s arguments, but has not yet ruled on the case. Travis Rossman, Abdulmutallab’s lawyer, contends that the sentence given his client is cruel and unusual, that the court improperly failed to order a competency exam, and that the defendant’s post-arrest confession should not have been admissible. Rossman maintains that giving his client who is just 26 years old a sentence of life behind bars is extreme, particularly considering no passengers on board the airplane other than Abdulmutallab himself were injured.

The appeals court, located in Cincinnati, heard Rossman’s arguments on Thursday December 5, although no decision has yet been made.


While this is an extremely serious crime, individuals who have been convicted of any criminal offense including home invasion, armed robbery, murder, or even crimes of a sexual nature may feel they were wrongly convicted, or their rights violated in some way in the course of their arrest or at trial. Regardless of your situation, consult with a highly capable and experienced Michigan criminal appeals attorney to ensure you have the very best chance to be successful in appealing your conviction and/or sentence.