April 27, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The federal rules say a person making an arrest "must take the defendant before a magistrate without unnecessary delay. " And the Supreme Court has said the judicial process must begin within 48 hours. This rule aims to "prevent secret detention," wrote former Justice David H. Souter, adding that "no one with any smattering of the history of 20th-Century dictatorships needs a lecture on the subject. " Despite criticism from Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill that the questioning of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was prematurely curtailed, legal experts say the only way to have avoided triggering that process once he was arrested a week ago would have been to declare him an enemy combatant.
April 23, 2013
Re "Legal debate swirls around treatment of suspect," April 21 I am glad the Boston bombing suspect has been caught. But however despicable his alleged crimes are, do we want to deny a U.S. citizen his right to a trial, as guaranteed by our Constitution? Terrorist prosecutions enjoy a near-perfect conviction rate. A cowardly attack on innocent people is scary because it is hard for us to understand why anyone would do something so uncivilized. But it is also scary when those who have sworn to protect and defend the Constitution use such an act to attack our constitutional rights.
April 23, 2013 |
On Monday morning, Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was charged with using a weapon of mass destruction. According to a transcript of that proceeding, a magistrate at Tsarnaev's hospital bedside read him the Miranda warning, informing him of his right to counsel and his right to remain silent. But among the things we don't know is if, or to what extent, Tsarnaev was interrogated before being informed of his rights. Over the weekend, Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. gave every indication that he intended to have Tsarnaev questioned without the Miranda warning.
April 16, 2013
NEW YORK - An independent review of the U.S. government's anti-terrorism response after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks found that it was "indisputable" the U.S. engaged in torture and the George W. Bush administration bore responsibility. The report released Tuesday by the Constitution Project, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington, is an ambitious review of the Bush administration's approach to the problems of holding and interrogating detainees after the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 28, 2013 |
Religious leaders may deliver opening prayers at Lancaster city council meetings and mention Jesus if they like, as long as a variety of denominations are invited, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled. Lancaster Mayor Rex Parris says the prayers have unified the community, and the lawsuit was about “making Jesus a dirty word.” Sectarian prayers are not prohibited at government meetings, the court said, and the city has not endorsed one religion over another, even though a majority of the prayers are Christian.
March 19, 2013
North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple should not sign any of the legislature's half-dozen bills that seek to subvert a well-established constitutional right to abortion. Late last week, the North Dakota legislature passed a bill that would ban a woman from having an abortion as soon as the heartbeat of the fetus is detected, which can happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. If Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple signs it into law, North Dakota will have the ignominious distinction of being the most restrictive state in the country on abortion.