Hafetz is Professor of Law at Seton Hall Law School. Hafetz formerly worked as a senior attorney for the National Security Project of the American Civil Liberties Union". He is notable for volunteering to serve to assist Guantanamo captives to access the US Justice system. He has also served as a lawyer for Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, who from 2003 to 2008, was the sole "enemy combatant" held in extrajudicial detention in the continental USA. Prior to his career at the ACLU, Hafetz served as Litigation Director for the Liberty and National Security Project at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law and as a Gibbons fellow in Public Interest and Constitutional Law at Gibbons, P.C.. He was also a law clerk to both Jed S. Rakoff of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and Sandra L. Lynch of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Hafetz is a graduate of Yale Law School. From 2014-15, Hafetz was a Visiting Professor in the Law and Public Affairs Program at Princeton University.
Hafetz is the author of Habeas Corpus after 9/11: Confronting America's New Global Detention System (NYU Press 2011). He is the editor of Obama's Guantanamo: Stories from an Enduring Prison (NYU Press 2016) and the co-editor of The Guantanamo Lawyers: Inside a Prison Outside the Law (NYU Press 2010).
On June 20, 2008 the Associated Press reported that the Government wanted to "rewrite detainee evidence". The impetus to rewrite the evidence is a reaction to the Supreme Court's June 12, 2008 ruling on Boumediene v. Bush. The Supreme Court had ruled that Guantanamo captives were entitled to challenge the basis for their detention through the US Justice System, because the Combatant Status Review Tribunals were not an adequate substitute for habeas corpus. According to the Associated Press:
At a closed-door meeting with judges and defense attorneys this week, government lawyers said they needed time to add new evidence and make other changes to evidentiary documents known as 'factual returns.'
The Associated Press quoted Hafetz reaction to this development.
It's a totally fishy maneuver that suggests that the government wants, at the 11th hour, to get its ducks in a row.
- Matt Apuzzo (June 20, 2008). "US asks to rewrite detainee evidence". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2008-06-21.
- Jonathan Hafetz. Brennan Center for Justice https://web.archive.org/web/20080704191708/http://www.brennancenter.org/people/hafetz_jonathan/. Archived from the original on July 4, 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-21. Missing or empty
- Jonathan Hafetz (June 12, 2008). "Supreme Court Deals Death Blow to Gitmo". The Nation. Archived from the original on June 21, 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-01.
- Jonathan Hafetz (October 9, 2006). "No Blank Checks on Torture". The Nation. Archived from the original on June 21, 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-21.
- Jonathan Hafetz (June 16, 2008). "Boumediene Guest Commentary: Jonathan Hafetz of the Brennan Center". Scotusblog. Archived from the original on June 18, 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-21.
- Jonathan Hafetz (April 16, 2006). "TD Blog Interview with Jonathan Hafetz". The Talking Dog. Retrieved 2008-06-21.
- Jonathan Hafetz (2008-04-20). "A guest post from Jonathan Hafetz". Slate magazine. Archived from the original on 2009-04-08.
- Jonathan Hafetz (2008-09-30). "Statement of Jonathan Hafetz on Al-Marri v. Pucciarelli". ACLU. Archived from the original on 2009-04-08.
- Glenn Greenwald (2008-10-10). "Salon Radio: ACLU's Jonathan Hafetz on Guantanamo cases". Salon magazine.
- Jonathan Hafetz (2007-10-27). "Torturegate". Huffington Post. Archived from the original on 2009-04-08.