Saturday, December 22, 2007

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Mass arrests were not necessary to protect the United States


Hoover Planned Mass Jailing in 1950

New York Times
By TIM WEINER
December 23, 2007

A newly declassified document shows that J. Edgar Hoover, the longtime director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, had a plan to suspend habeas corpus and imprison some 12,000 Americans he suspected of disloyalty.


Neal N. Boenzi/The New York Times
J. Edgar Hoover was F.B.I. director from 1924 to 1972.

Hoover sent his plan to the White House on July 7, 1950, 12 days after the Korean War began. It envisioned putting suspect Americans in military prisons.

Hoover wanted President Harry S. Truman to proclaim the mass arrests necessary to “protect the country against treason, espionage and sabotage.” The F.B.I would “apprehend all individuals potentially dangerous” to national security, Hoover’s proposal said. The arrests would be carried out under “a master warrant attached to a list of names” provided by the bureau.

The names were part of an index that Hoover had been compiling for years. “The index now contains approximately twelve thousand individuals, of which approximately ninety-seven per cent are citizens of the United States,” he wrote.

“In order to make effective these apprehensions, the proclamation suspends the Writ of Habeas Corpus,” it said.

Habeas corpus, the right to seek relief from illegal detention, has been a fundamental principle of law for seven centuries. The Bush administration’s decision to hold suspects for years at Guant√°namo Bay, Cuba, has made habeas corpus a contentious issue for Congress and the Supreme Court today.

The Constitution says habeas corpus shall not be suspended “unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require it.” The plan proposed by Hoover, the head of the F.B.I. from 1924 to 1972, stretched that clause to include “threatened invasion” or “attack upon United States troops in legally occupied territory.”

After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, President Bush issued an order that effectively allowed the United States to hold suspects indefinitely without a hearing, a lawyer, or formal charges. In September 2006, Congress passed a law suspending habeas corpus for anyone deemed an “unlawful enemy combatant.”

But the Supreme Court has reaffirmed the right of American citizens to seek a writ of habeas corpus. This month the court heard arguments on whether about 300 foreigners held at Guant√°namo Bay had the same rights. It is expected to rule by next summer.

Hoover’s plan was declassified Friday as part of a collection of cold-war documents concerning intelligence issues from 1950 to 1955. The collection makes up a new volume of “The Foreign Relations of the United States,” a series that by law has been published continuously by the State Department since the Civil War.

Hoover’s plan called for “the permanent detention” of the roughly 12,000 suspects at military bases as well as in federal prisons. The F.B.I., he said, had found that the arrests it proposed in New York and California would cause the prisons there to overflow.

So the bureau had arranged for “detention in military facilities of the individuals apprehended” in those states, he wrote.

The prisoners eventually would have had a right to a hearing under the Hoover plan. The hearing board would have been a panel made up of one judge and two citizens. But the hearings “will not be bound by the rules of evidence,” his letter noted.

The only modern precedent for Hoover’s plan was the Palmer Raids of 1920, named after the attorney general at the time. The raids, executed in large part by Hoover’s intelligence division, swept up thousands of people suspected of being communists and radicals.

Previously declassified documents show that the F.B.I.’s “security index” of suspect Americans predated the cold war. In March 1946, Hoover sought the authority to detain Americans “who might be dangerous” if the United States went to war. In August 1948, Attorney General Tom Clark gave the F.B.I. the power to make a master list of such people.

Hoover’s July 1950 letter was addressed to Sidney W. Souers, who had served as the first director of central intelligence and was then a special national-security assistant to Truman. The plan also was sent to the executive secretary of the National Security Council, whose members were the president, the secretary of defense, the secretary of state and the military chiefs.

In September 1950, Congress passed and the president signed a law authorizing the detention of “dangerous radicals” if the president declared a national emergency. Truman did declare such an emergency in December 1950, after China entered the Korean War. But no known evidence suggests he or any other president approved any part of Hoover’s proposal.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/23/washington/23habeas.html?em&ex=1198558800&en=4eae300b9fba9c53&ei=5087%0A

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Does law enforcement support Lowell Bruce?

Does law enforcement support its members when they kill their wives?

San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis seems to think so.

Why else would she be intervening on behalf of a sheriff's deputy, asking that a judge not be allowed to sentence the man for killing his wife?

You might think that law enforcement would think of Bruce as a criminal. But apparently "law enforcement" is a loose term; it refers to a group of people, but not a group of people who always want the law enforced.

Monday, December 17, 2007

A lot depends on who the duty sergeant is

ABC News report on Stacy Peterson's predecessor:

Nov. 15, 2007

"Kathleen Savio's Sister Said Drew Peterson Allegedly Threatened Woman at Knifepoint
Kathleen Savio, who was found dead in her bathtub in 2004, was the third wife of Bolingbrook Police Sgt. Drew Peterson. State's Attorney James Glasgow has said evidence suggests that someone killed Savio and tried to make it look like an accident. Peterson is a suspect in his fourth wife's disappearance...

"A coroner initially ruled Savio's death an accidental drowning despite the fact there was no water in the bathtub and her hair was soaked from an apparent head wound. Authorities theorized that the water had drained from the tub after her death. Drew was the duty sergeant working the night that her body was discovered..."

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

John Jersome White clearned of rape after 27 years: 7th Georgia convict cleared after DNA test

DNA Clears Man of Rape After 27 Years
By DORIE TURNER
AOL News
2007-12-12

John Jerome White left prison Monday after DNA tests cleared him of raping a 74-year-old woman in 1979. Another man was arrested in the case.

ATLANTA (Dec. 11) - A man enjoyed freedom Tuesday after a DNA test proved he did not commit a 1979 rape.

John Jerome White, 48, left Macon State Prison on Monday evening.

"I'm just thankful that this is behind me," White said at a news conference Tuesday morning with the Georgia Innocence Project, which had worked to free him.

"When I first started out, I wondered why this happened to me," he said, breaking into tears. "I just saw it as something that had to happen because I wasn't living a moral life."

The investigation led to the arrest Tuesday of James Edward Parham, 54, of Manchester, who was on the state's Sex Offender Registry for a 1985 rape conviction, Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokesman John Bankhead said. He was being held in the Meriwether County jail on charges of rape, aggravated assault, burglary and robbery.

A sheriff's office employee declined to say whether Parham had an attorney, and there was no immediate response from the public defender's office. There was no answer on a telephone listed at the address given for Parham in a GBI news release.

White is the seventh Georgia convict to be cleared by DNA evidence, said Aimee Maxwell, director of the Atlanta-based Georgia Innocence Project. In every case, the men were wrongly convicted on eyewitness accounts.

"This case does point out the fallibility of eyewitness identification," Maxwell said.

White was convicted in 1980 of breaking into a 74-year-old woman's home and raping and robbing her. The woman has since died.

He was sentenced to life in prison, then was paroled in 1990. White was sent back to prison for 2 1/2 years on a drug violation in 1993. A 1997 robbery charge led to a conviction, a seven-year sentence and a requirement that he return to serving his life sentence for the rape conviction.

At the urging of the Georgia Innocence Project, authorities tested DNA from hairs found at the scene of the 1979 rape, using tests that weren't available at the time.

District Attorney Peter Skandalakis of the Coweta Judicial District said authorities found that the DNA matched DNA on file in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation database, leading to an investigation of a new suspect. No arrests have been made yet, the GBI says.

Maxwell said her organization is working with state lawmakers and authorities to require all law enforcement agencies to develop and follow clearly written procedures for doing an eyewitness identification with a victim, Maxwell said. The organization says 82 percent of the 355 Georgia law enforcement agencies surveyed do not have any type of written eyewitness standards.

White was joined at the news conference by his wife, three sisters and his mother, Florence White.

"When they called to tell me that he was getting out, I didn't know whether to shout, cry or holler," said his mother, who lives in Meriwether County. "I'm so glad to have him back home one more time before I leave this world."

In North Carolina, meanwhile, charges were dropped Tuesday against a Charlotte man who spent seven years on death row in the killing of a jeweler.

Jonathan Hoffman had been convicted of killing 35-year-old Danny Cook at Cook's Marshville store in 1995, but he won a new trial in 2004.

Union County District Attorney John Snyder said he dismissed charges because two witnesses have died and the prosecution's star witness, Hoffman's cousin, eventually recanted his testimony.

"What you had at the first trial is just not there," Snyder said.

Defense attorney Joseph Cheshire said it wasn't clear when Hoffman would be released.

Hoffman was in disbelief when told about the dropped charges, Cheshire said.

"He just couldn't believe it," Cheshire said. "He was surprised something so dramatic in his life could happen in such a low-key way."

http://news.aol.com/story/_a/dna-clears-man-of-rape-after-27-years/20071212090909990001?ncid=NWS00010000000001