- US Supreme Court Rejects Appeal (6-3 vote) From Guantanamo Detainees
- Co-hosts Michael Ratner and Michael Smith discuss the recent ruling by the Supreme Court to reject appeal from Guantanamo detainees who are challenging their five-year long confinement. Once again, Habeas Court is at stake. Michael Ratner says “If we had Habeas Corpus hearings, Guantanamo would be cleaned out in 24 hours.” Both co-hosts discuss what’s at stake as the US Supreme Court rolls back some 800 years, a fundamental pillar of justice. Habeas Corpus.
Red Light For Stop Light Systems
Surveillance Creep: Across the United States, from Minnesota to Texas, a host of cities have installed automated systems to catch vehicles that run red lights. A photo is taken of the speeding car’s license plate and a citation is sent to the owner. Owners can contest it by showing that the car title had been transferred or by telling people the name of the person driving at the time. In Minneapolis, the police who manage the program said it issued 26,000 tickets in six months and reduced accidents by 16 percent at the intersections where cameras were posted.
But cities are finding problems with some of these devices. Lubbock, Texas for example has delayed installation of red light cameras after the discovery of shorter timed yellow lights. Also in Iowa. Residents felt this was an attempt to get more money…short yellows assure a steady flow of red light camera ticket revenue. And in Minneapolis, the program has reached its own red light. In mid-March the ACLU scored a victory in court, when a judge found the automated system, called Photo Cop, illegal. Photo Cop ticketed vehicle owners, not the drivers, which uniformity of Minnesota laws governing moving violations.
Guest – Howard Bass, a Burnsville attorney, he argued the case for the ACLU of Minnesota.
Courts Relax Laws That Protect Expression of Free Speech From Police Spying
Unrestrained police surveillance has crept back into the lives of civilians at an alarming rate. Normally held in check by court settlements or consent decrees, city officials and courts are increasingly diluting the power of such agreements. A consent decree will help restrain overreaching law enforcement and permit the exercise of free speech.
In New York City, since 1986 police must follow consent decree guidelines when investigating individuals engaging in First Amendment activities. We may not have had these guidelines were it not for a lawsuit brought by Barbara Handschu Known as the Handschu Settlement, it was agreed to in 1980 by a plaintiff class numbering in the millions and the New York City Police Department.
Twenty-two years after the settlement was signed, the NYPD asked to modify it, saying it was too restrictive, and would inhibit terrorism investigation. U.S. District Court Judge Charles Haight agreed with the NYPD.and relaxed the guidelines.
And what’s happening in NY is also happening around the country.
Take Chicago for example. In 2001 the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals stripped Chicago’s consent decree. It was signed 25 years ago. Now, city officials say it impedes investigations of gang activity. No longer are police deterred from spying on, or disrupting the constitutionally protected activities of political groups.
Historically, court settlements and consent decrees have held in check unfettered police abuse of First Amendment freedoms. But under the Bush administration, attorneys general have actually marginalized these important decrees. We’ve watched the Justice Department LIFT existing decrees, preferring to enter into less formal understandings with police. In so doing, the judicial branch of our government acts as a national conspirator with local police departments in violating our collective civil rights.
Guest – Paul Chevigny, law professor at New York University and one of the lawyers involved in NY’s historic Handschu lawsuit.