Introduced in the California State Assembly this month is a bill that would oppose and nullify “indefinite detention” under the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2012.
Sponsored by Assemblyman Tim Donnelly of the 33rd District, Assembly Bill 351 (AB351) states in part:
“Sections 1021 and 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (Public Law 112-81), and the enforcement of those actions, are illegal within this state.”
If passed into law, the legislation would also require the state to refuse to participate or assist indefinite detention and also provides for criminal penalties for both state and federal employees who attempt to do so within the State of California. The bill reads:
It is the policy of this state to refuse to provide material support for or to participate in any way with the implementation within this state of Sections 1021 and 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (Public Law 112-81)
The criminal penalties against indefinite detention are as follows:
(1) An officer, agent, or employee of the United States or an employee of a corporation providing services to the United States who enforces or attempts to enforce Section 1021 or 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (Public Law 112-81) is guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to imprisonment in a county jail for up to one year, a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or both imprisonment and the fine.
(2) A public officer or employee of this state who enforces or attempts to enforce Section 1021 or 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (Public Law 112-81) is guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to imprisonment in a county jail for up to 6 months, a fine of not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000), or both imprisonment and the fine
A modified version of the Liberty Preservation Act released by the Tenth Amendment Center, California joins a growing choir of states and localities who’ve decided that waiting for federal politicians to repeal their own power is something they’re not willing to risk.
STANDING UP FOR LIBERTY
In an interview with the Sacramento Bee, Donnelly said that detaining suspects indefinitely violates constitutional and law enforcement rights to due process, speedy trials by an impartial jury, and freedom from unreasonable searches and cruel or unusual punishments.
“I’m not trying to stop the federal government from doing their job, I’m trying to stop them from an overreach of power,” he said.
If AB 351 had been in effect during World War II, it would have prohibited Japanese-Americans to be forced into internment camps, Donnelly said.
ACTION ITEMS for California
AB351 is pending referral to a committee. This is likely to happen soon and the bill could be heard in committee as early as Marcy 16th. Your action is needed right NOW to help move this bill forward.
1. Contact your representative in the California Assembly. Strongly, but respectfully, let them know that you want their support on AB351. Urge them to “vote on principle and not on party lines.”
It is highly recommended to CALL rather than email. Contact information here:
Make sure to ask where they stand not only on AB351, but on the power of “indefinite detentinon” in general. If you leave a message on their voicemail, make sure to ask for a call back so you can actually speak with the legislator or their staff.
2. Encourage your local community to take action as well. Present the Liberty Preservation Act to your city county, your town council, or your county commissioners. Various local governments around the country are already passing similar resolutions and ordinances. Local legislative action present a great way to strengthen a statewide campaign against NDAA indefinite detention
model legislation here:
3. Join the NDAA activist group on Facebook. Connect with others, plan strategy, build a coalition, and help get AB351 passed!
4. Share this information widely. Please pass this along to your friends and family. Also share it with any and all grassroots groups you’re in contact with around the state. Please encourage them to email this information to their members and supporters.
A state proposal charging federal agents with kidnapping is not unprecedented in American history. In fact, such an action in the past has held the high moral ground in response to immoral, unjust, and unconstitutional federal slave-catching laws in the 19th Century.
In 1850, when President Millard Fillmore signed the second “Fugitive Slave Act,” due process was under serious attack by the federal government. The law compelled people of all states to “assist” federal marshals and their deputies with the apprehension of suspected runaway slaves. It brought all trials involving alleged fugitive slaves under federal jurisdiction. It included large fines for anyone who aided a slave in their escape, even by simply giving them food or shelter.
On top of it, bounties were paid to commissioners in fugitive slave cases. $10 was paid if a person was sent back to slavery, and $5 if the person was allowed freedom. The federal government was paying people to capture other people and send them to slavery.
The act also suspended habeas corpus and the right to a trial by jury for alleged “slaves,” and made their testimony inadmissible in court. The written testimony of the supposed slave master, on the other hand, which could be presented to the court by slave hunters, was given preferential treatment.
In response, state legislatures in Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Michigan, Maine, Kansas and Wisconsin passed what were called “personal liberty laws.” The state nullification bills made it difficult to nearly impossible to enforce the fugitive slave acts in those states. These laws were varied but generally guaranteed basic due process rights for accuse runaways. In some cases, these laws extended habeas corpus, provided for jury trials for accused runaways and harshly punished false testimony.
Vermont passed a “Habeas Corpus Law,” requiring state judicial and law enforcement officials to actually help captured fugitive slaves there. Ohio and Massachusetts both took a really strong stand – and passed laws that provided for kidnapping charges to anyone trying to use these “indefinite detention” provisions of the fugitive slave act.
The Ohio “Act to Prevent Kidnapping” in 1857 made slave-catching attempts a kidnapping felony punishable by imprisonment for up to nine months and $300 fine. In Massachusetts, the bill was so successful that no-one was ever arrest under it – because the federal government simply backed down and stopped trying.
BACKGROUND ARTICLES AND INFORMATION ON NDAA “INDEFINITE DETENTION”
Note: while some believe that the 2013 NDAA eliminated indefinite detention, it does not. Dianne Feinstein introduced a very weak amendment to 2013 – and it failed anyway. 2012 indefinite detention provisions remain in tact – and the Obama administration is aggressively defending them in court.
Michael Boldin [send him email] is the founder of the Tenth Amendment Center. He was raised in Milwaukee, WI, and currently resides in Los Angeles, CA. Follow him on twitter – @michaelboldin, on LinkedIn, and onFacebook.