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Unconstitutional Policies Coming Around Again (From the President)
By Jim E. Lavine
On March 7, 2011, President Obama issued an executive order directing
the secretary of defense to resume military commission prosecutions at
Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and institutionalizing a regime of indefinite
detention for detainees the administration would prefer not to prosecute
at all.1 The order comes just over two years after the
president decreed an immediate halt to all military commission
proceedings and vowed to empty the prison camps by January 2010. The
president’s decision to breathe new life into military commissions and
pursue a formal indefinite detention policy is profoundly disappointing
and cause for deep concern by the criminal defense bar.
Military commissions continue to fall far short of American principles
of fairness and due process. Despite improvements over the Bush-era
commissions, the current system still permits the government to
introduce hearsay and statements obtained through coercion. The
commissions also assert jurisdictio
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