How can Americans consider themselves free people when they can be detained indefinitely without trial or even charges?
Under the guise of the “war on terror,” President Barack Obama signed the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which contained a provision allowing for the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens without trial or charges. It fought all challenges in court until the Supreme Court declined to hear the case, leaving it place, essentially nullifying the 6th Amendment.
The 6th Amendment reads:
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 defense.
But not under NDAA.
And it’s not just the federal government that ignores the 6th Amendment. Local and state governments “disappear” people into the vast labyrinth of the judicial system that is overloaded, underfunded, byzantine and often corrupt. Like in the case of Kalief Browder.
Browder was nabbed by New York police in 2010, just days before his 17th birthday after a man told police he had been robbed by the teen. Police found no evidence on Browder, and he denied he had robbed anyone. Nevertheless, Browder was charged with robbery, grand larceny and assault. His bail was set at $3,000, a sum out of reach for his family. He was hauled off to Rikers Island, one of the most notorious and dangerous prisons in America.
Browder spent more than 1,000 days on Rikers Island without being convicted of a crime. He endured beatings by inmates and prison guards and spent about two years in solitary confinement. When charges were dropped and he was finally released in March of 2013, Browder was a broken young man who had repeatedly tried to kill himself. He finally succeeded in 2015.
Senator Rand Paul plans to introduce a bill this week to stop the government from indefinitely detaining someone. The bill will be called The Sixth Amendment Preservation Act and is described by Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano as “utterly faithful to constitutional principles.”
Browder’s case has been on Paul’s mind and part of his narrative in his efforts to reform the broken and corrupt American criminal justice system.
Indefinite detention has reared its ugly head in America a number of times, the most notorious being during the Civil War and then in World War II with the internment of Japanese-Americans.
War and fear of enemies real and perceived is always used by the elites as an opportunity to steal people’s liberties.
The so-called “war on terror” spurred George Bush II to strip Americans of habeas corpus in 2016, which is a fundamental tenet of American jurisprudence.
According to Black’s Law Dictionary the primary function of a writ (Writ of Habeas Corpus) is to release from unlawful imprisonment. Further it is an independent proceeding instituted to determine whether a defendant is being unlawfully deprived of his or her liberty. This Act is regarded as the great Constitutional guaranty of personal liberty, the purpose of which is to test the legality of detention or imprisonment; not whether a detainee is guilty or innocent.
Paul says, “You can’t keep the Second Amendment if you don’t protect the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth.”
But Paul remains skeptical, especially in light of the appointment of Jeff Sessions as attorney general, that the Donald Trump regime will be receptive to criminal justice reform.
“I don’t have high expectations of this,” he said. “But I will try to influence him on that.” While Paul has done his fair share of praising and criticizing the various actions taken for and against criminal justice reform in both Trump and Obama’s administration, he believed the government’s overall attitude in favor of constitutional justice was on its way.
He concluded, saying that he didn’t just believe so because criminal justice reform is very much a bipartisan issue.
He also recalled a lesson from his father, former Texas Representative Ron Paul. “My dad used to always say that he felt the public was a decade or so in front of the legislature.”
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