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. Your Action is needed right now to help move this legislation forward!
Assembly Bill 351 (AB351) reads in part:
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)
It also provides for criminal penalties for attempting “indefinite detention” in California:
(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.
A modified version of the Liberty Preservation Act released by the Tenth Amendment Center, AB351 has been assigned to the Committee on Public Safety. It will first require a hearing and approval by the committee. Your help in this process is needed immediately!
1. CALL the chair of the Public Safety Committee. Politely urge him to schedule a hearing on AB351. Also let him know you’d like to see him vote YES on AB351.
Chair, Tom Ammiano
2. Contact the rest of the Public Safety Committee members. Strongly, but respectfully, let them know that you want them to vote YES on AB351 to move it to a debate and vote in the full State Assembly. Call in the evening and over the weekend too. If you reach a voicemail, leave your message – and ask for a call back so you can speak to the legislator or their staff personally.
Melissa Melendez, vice-chair (916) 319-2067
Byron Jones-Sawyer, Sr. (916) 319-2059
Holly J. Mitchell (916) 319-2054
Bill Quirk (916) 319-2020
Nancy Skinner (916) 319-2015
Marie Waldron (916) 319-2075
A phone call is much more powerful than an email, but if you’re only able to email, get contact information at this link:
3. Letters to the Committee. We’ve been advised by the sponsor’s staff that members of the committee pay particular attention to letters sent by groups in support of AB351. Whatever group you might be involved in – grassroots, or not – encourage your organization to get involved and send a letter to the committee in support of AB351. All that’s needed is to identify your organization, and express your support for the committee passing AB351 and allowing the full Assembly to debate and vote on the bill.
Contact information here:
4. 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:
5. Join the NDAA activist group on Facebook. Connect with others, plan strategy, build a coalition, and help get AB351 passed!
6. 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.