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New Orleans is NOT under martial law

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  • Greg Cannon
    I saw it reported over and over yesterday that New Orleans was under martial law, but could never find any official announcement of it. And this guy has
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 31, 2005
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      I saw it reported over and over yesterday that New
      Orleans was under martial law, but could never find
      any official announcement of it. And this guy has
      confirmed it, there's been no declaration of martial
      law in New Orleans. And even if there had been, it
      sure wasn't enforced yesterday, there were all those
      stories about cops and National Guard watching looters
      and not stopping them.

      http://civilliberty.about.com/b/a/198081.htm

      Martial Law in New Orleans
      Civil Liberties Blog

      August 30, 2005

      Martial Law in New Orleans
      It has been widely reported that state officials have
      declared martial law in New Orleans, as the emergency
      there worsens. However, I recently confirmed with the
      Governor's office of the State of Louisiana that
      Governor Kathleen Blanco has not declared martial law.

      It would appear that local officials have misused the
      term, though I have not been able to find the source
      of the statement. This quickly filtered through the
      media. (It is more likely that local officials
      declared a curfew, which gives police probable cause
      to stop anyone for any reason.)

      Just what is martial law, and what are the
      implications to civil liberties?

      Martial law means a military authority has taken
      control of the normal administration of justice.
      Martial law may be used in times of emergency, when
      the traditional infrastructure (police, fire, etc.)
      are incapable of meeting the demands of the crisis.

      Martial law is also used by totalitarian regimes on a
      more permanent basis for the enforcement of their
      rule. It is this form of martial law, where military
      tribunals replace civilian courts, that the civil
      libertarian is most concerned with.

      The extent that martial law is imposed varies from
      nation to nation. In the United States, the 1866
      Supreme Court ruling in Ex Parte Milligan limited
      martial law. This ruling bars the use of military
      tribunals on civilians, and that habeas corpus may
      only be temporarily suspended if civilian courts are
      forced closed. And even then, citizens may only be
      held without charges, and not tried.

      Anytime we come under martial law, it is a concern -
      for one thing, military personnel are trained more for
      battle and not for law enforcement, and as such the
      potential for abuse or poor judgment is very real.
      (Thoughts of Kent State come to mind).

      In the present example of the situation in New
      Orleans, it appears that the emergency warrants a
      temporary, limited martial law. With that said, I
      extend best wishes to all in the region that they get
      through this storm alright.
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