Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Detention As Material Witness? No Constitutional Guarantees

Poor ol’ Habeas Corpus. Habe is really turning into a corpus; if the government wants to hold someone as a “material witness,” then there’s not much to be done: no trial necessary, do not pass go, do not... The hook is that if there’s no evidence, the government can lock someone up because the feds think the person might do something. For years and years, police and law enforcement people have bleated about how criminals have all the rights and their hands are just so tied by court decisions... Bull. That’s all it is: pure unadulterated manure. If they want someone bad enough, they’ll find a way. Especially now, with all the “war on terrorism” hype.

Welcome to the New Amerikan Order.

Material witness detention under scrutiny
03/21/2006 @ 8:40 pm
Filed by RAW STORY
Detention of material witnesses has become a hotly debated tactic in the wake of reports of government prosecutorial abuses, according to a story set for Wednesday's New York Times, RAW STORY has learned.

Excerpts from the article written by Eric Liptak:

A 22-year-old federal law that allows people to be held without charges if they have information about others' crimes is coming under fresh scrutiny in the courts, in Congress and within the Justice Department after reports that it has been abused in terrorism investigations.

The law allows so-called material witnesses to be held long enough to secure their testimony if there is reason to think they will flee. But lawyers for people detained as material witnesses say the law has been used to hold people the government fears will commit terrorist acts but lacks probable cause to charge with a crime.

Concerns about how the law has been used have prompted calls from across the political spectrum for a reassessment. A bill introduced by Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., would curtail the use of the material witness law to hold people suspected of plotting terrorist acts.


But Andrew C. McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor who took part in terrorism investigations in New York after the Sept. 11 attacks, said curtailing the ability to hold potentially dangerous people could be a devastating mistake.

"Terrorism cases present, obviously, the least margin for error that you could conceivably have," McCarthy, a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, said. "If you lose control of people who come up on the radar screen, you could have massive death."

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?