J.A.I.L. News Journal ____________________________________________________ Los Angeles, California April 25,Message 1 of 1 , Apr 26, 2002View SourceJ.A.I.L. News Journal
Los Angeles, California April 25, 2002Give Us This Day More Police!The Oakland PressApril 24, 2002'Living in a police state'By JOHN WISELY and STEPHEN W. HUBER,The Oakland Press,Pontiac, Michigan
The state Legislature has given police power to search your home without telling you why. Two new laws, which took effect Monday as part of anti-terror efforts, also shield from public scrutiny the reasons for police searches. Defense lawyers and civil libertarians are outraged at the laws, which make search warrants and supporting documents such as affidavits non-public records. "If you think the police did secretive work before, just wait," defense attorney William Cataldo said. "It gives more power to the ignorant and more power to those who would take your rights." Defense lawyer Walter Piszczatowski said: "This is nuts, this is beyond nuts. "What happened to the Fourth Amendment? We're living in a police state."
That means the public, the press, and in some cases even the person accused of the crime, can't know why the police entered a home without permission. Under previous laws, the records were public, unless a judge ordered them sealed for a specific reason. In federal courts, that remains the case. But now, search warrants in state courts are automatically closed to public view.
"I think this is absolutely unconstitutional," said Dawn Phillips, a First Amendment lawyer with the Michigan Press Association. "We objected to it at the time. This thing passed like greased lightning."
The House portion of the bill passed unanimously and the Senate version passed 27-8. The chief sponsor of the bill in the state senate was Shirley Johnson (R-Royal Oak) while Bill Bullard (R-Highland Township) was a cosponsor. In the state House, Nancy Cassis (R-Novi) was among 20 sponsors. ....
©The Oakland Press 2002
Legislature RespondsLawmakers defending secret warrantsBy JOHN WISELY,The Oakland PressApril 25, 2002
Local legislators are defending two new laws that limit public access to court documents.
The laws, which took effect this week, stop the public from gaining access to search warrants and affidavits. It deems them nonpublic records.
Lawmakers - who unanimously voted for the measures in the Senate and House of Representatives - said the laws protect crime victims, informants and witnesses from criminals and the media. ....
The bills were part of an anti-terrorism package that passed the Legislature after the Sept. 11 attacks. ....
©The Oakland Press 2002
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