Monday, April 22, 2013

Daily Read: The Terrorism Exception to the Constitution?

Should there really be a "terrorism" exception to the criminal procedure protections in the Bill of Rights?

ConLawProfs looking for an extended treatment of this question might do well to turn to Norman Abrams' article, Terrorism Prosecutions in U.S. Federal Court: Exceptions to Constitutional Evidence Rules and the Development of a Cabined Exception for Coerced Confessions, available at 4 Harv. Nat’l Sec. J. 58 (2012).

Abrams argues for a something less than a wholesale exception:

The expression, “cabined,”  is  meant to signify not extending  all the way up the ladder of police  interrogation  methods, but only applying to a limited, non  -  extreme set of interrogation  methods, albeit methods that under current law might lead to a  determination of involuntariness.  A cabined exception is one that would, under the appropriate circumstances, authorize the FBI, or other police agencies, to use interrogation methods that exceed existing constitutional limits as  established by the Supreme Court, but only up to a point, and not to the  point where the methods used are extreme.

For some, allowing law enforcement the discretion to determine the "appropriate circumstances" and the methods that are not "extreme" is exceedingly troubling.  But Abrams extended argument seeking to support his conclusion is worth a read, even as the immediate issue of the possibility of a "terrorism exception" applied to Tsarnaev has receded.  

RR


http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/conlaw/2013/04/daily-read-the-terrorism-exception-to-the-constitution.html

Criminal Procedure, Due Process (Substantive), Scholarship, State Secrets, Theory | Permalink

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