Yesterday was a busy day for news coming from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It started with Donald Trump meeting with a bipartisan group at the White House to discuss passing comprehensive gun legislation. While it had Democrats smiling, it didn’t make the Republicans in the room very happy. In 2016, NRA-endorsed Republican candidate Donald Trump won …
Tag: Due Process
Mar 09 2012
US Attorney General Eric Holder asserted in a speech at Northwestern University’s law school that it is lawful for the government to kill American citizens if officials deem them to be operational leaders of Al Qaeda who are planning attacks on the United States and if capturing them alive is not feasible. He did this without legal citations or footnotes to the speech. Eric Holder needs to reread the Constitution, in particular the 5th, 6th, and 14th amendments, with an emphasis on the 6th
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
There are seven rights in just that one amendment that go to the heart of the principles of the judicial process:
1. The right to a speedy trial
2. The right to a public trial
3. The right to be judged by an impartial jury
4. The right to be notified of the nature and circumstances of the alleged crime
5. The right to confront witnesses who will testify against the accused
6. The right to find witnesses who will speak in favor of the accused
7. The right to have a lawyer
“Due process balances the power of law of the land and protects individual persons from it. When a government harms a person without following the exact course of the law, this constitutes a due-process violation, which offends against the rule of law.”
And according to the 5th Amendment‘s brief but very clear language, no person “be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”
Law professor Jonathan Turley wrote at his blog that Holder has promised to kill citizens with care. That, in effect, is the pledge the Obama administration’s attorney general says has replaced our constitutional protections:
[..]The good news is that Holder promised not to hunt citizens for sport. Holder proclaimed that:
“The president may use force abroad against a senior operational leader of a foreign terrorist organization with which the United States is at war – even if that individual happens to be a US citizen.”
The use of the word “abroad” is interesting since senior administration officials have asserted that the president may kill an American anywhere and anytime, including in the United States. Holder’s speech does not materially limit that claimed authority. He merely assures citizens that Obama will only kill those of us he finds abroad and a significant threat. Notably, Holder added, “Our legal authority is not limited to the battlefields in Afghanistan.” [..]
Holder became particularly cryptic in his assurance of caution in the use of this power, insisting that they will kill citizens only with “the consent of the nation involved or after a determination that the nation is unable or unwilling to deal effectively with a threat to the United States.” What on earth does that mean? [..]
He was more clear in establishing that due process itself is now defined differently than it has been defined by courts since the start of this Republic. He declared that “a careful and thorough executive branch review of the facts in a case amounts to ‘due process.'” Of course, from any objective standpoint, that statement is absurd and Orwellian. It is basically saying that “we will give the process that we consider due to a target.” His main point was that “due process” will now no longer mean “judicial process.” [..]
This Administration has consistently maintained that courts do not have a say in such matters. Instead, they simply define the matter as covered by the Law Of Armed Conflicts (LOAC), even when the conflict is a war on terror. That war, they have stressed, is to be fought all around the world, including the United States. It is a battlefield without borders as strikes in other countries have vividly demonstrated.
Since the whole world is a battlefield in the vague ‘war on terror,’ the only due process afforded to someone who has been targeted for extrajudicial execution is a secret ‘review’ by the panel of senior officials in the executive branch.
Just as the public demanded the release of the Bush Administration’s Torture Memos to expose the ludicrous rationale behind their secret torture program, we too must demand to know the legal rationale for a program that allows our president to unilaterally choose to deprive someone of life and liberty – without any oversight or recourse available to the victim.
Holder’s speech was a cheap attempt to feign transparency without actually releasing the legal memos that define the administration’s execution program. We need your help to demand the Obama administration release these memos immediately so there can be an open public debate about Executive power and the execution of American citizens without any due process or outside accountability.
Oct 03 2011
whut’s this? A momentarily functioning press corpse?
Jul 15 2009
How Guantanamo’s prisoners were sold
The president of Pakistan’s [Pervez Musharraf] attempts to publicise his memoirs throw light on the flawed and dishonest processes that the US uses in bringing “terrorists” to justice
by Clive Stafford Smith – NewStatesman – 09 October 2006
The payments help us see why so many innocent prisoners ended up in Guantanamo Bay. Musharraf writes that “millions” were paid for 369 prisoners – the minimum rate was apparently $5,000, enough to tempt a poor Pakistani to shop an unwanted Arab to the Americans, gift-wrapped with a story that he was up to no good in Afghanistan.
I guess this is the True Meaning of Capitalism — if you can’t find the “bad guys” — Buy Them!
May 27 2009
Fact: Of the 3 people who the Bush/Cheney Regime admits to waterboarding, American citizen Jose Padilla, who is accused of planning to obtain and detonate a dirty nuclear bomb in the USA has been imprisoned on American soil since May 8, 2002. They even put him on trial here. His case was heard by the Supreme Court, the highest court in the empire.
The strange thing is, the WMD that Padilla was accused of seeking was never found, have yet to surface and can not be proven through evidence.
That whole evidence thing isn’t such a big deal though since we have denied American citizen Jose Padilla his Constitutional rights to a trial by jury.
Oh. About Jose Padilla. Did I mention he is almost certainly insane by now? 7 years of solitary confinement, torture and long periods of induced sensory deprivation will do that to a person over time, give or take a few years.
May 23 2009
For centuries Americans stood tall in the world. Literally. It would appear that the Dutch are now taller than us. The average Dutch man is 6’1″, whereas his American counterpart is 5’9″, only one inch taller than the average Dutch woman. Jiminy crickets: In one century they’ve had to redesign their ceilings and doorways and put extensions on the their beds! They’re better looking and smarter! Tall dudes make more money! And get better chicks. They are now using their advantage in stature to question our manliness. Because of the situation down at Guantanamo–the fact that we’re piss-scared of giving due process to the detainees in American courts– the towering Dutch are calling us “pussies.”
If you live outside of the US, or the US centric bubble, then the incredible stupidity of the this viewpoint is obvious.
Where does the World Court reside? It resides in the Hague in the Netherlands. the Netherlands has a population of 16 million (that are not allowed to bear arms or such).
The world courts deals with the worst of the worst, anything in Gitmo pails to what these folks have done.
Let’s take those war criminals (of which dozens have been tried and sentenced) from the Balkan conflict as an example. Here is a group that still has lots of support (Serbs primarily) all across Europe. They are in cells in the Hague which is driving distance from their homeland. Not like some poor Afghan farmer totally divorced from his people, these people have strong support living with a few hours drive!! Almost nothing could stop them from attacking and trying to release there leaders (and heros), or at least taking revenge on the country they are incarcerated in. The REAL danger to this court pails to anything the perceived Gitmo people could possibly do.
Just look at the history of the Balkan conflict, its horrible geenocide and the people who did the killing, and then grab a map to see where the two countries lie, you will get the picture. Then do the same for the Afghan conflict … Kinda makes you giggle.
But, do you hear the good people of the Netherlands on the streets demanding these criminals leave or cowering under their beds at night? No, it just might be that not all folks in the globe are NIMBY and some have the balls to realize that freedom comes at a price, and you never know when you will have to pay up in full.
Could it be that a small country in “old” Europe has more balls than the gun toting folk wingnuts of the US have?
May 22 2009
The Presumption of Innocence, and other Quaint Ideals
Presumption of Innocence
(Innocent until proven guilty)
A principle that requires the government to prove the guilt of a criminal defendant and relieves the defendant of any burden to prove his or her innocence.
The presumption of innocence, an ancient tenet of Criminal Law, is actually a misnomer. According to the U.S. Supreme Court, the presumption of the innocence of a criminal defendant is best described as an assumption of innocence that is indulged in the absence of contrary evidence
the presumption of innocence is essential to the criminal process. The mere mention of the phrase presumed innocent keeps judges and juries focused on the ultimate issue at hand in a criminal case: whether the prosecution has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the alleged acts. The people of the United States have rejected the alternative to a presumption of innocence-a presumption of guilt-as being inquisitorial and contrary to the principles of a free society.