California outlaws indefinite detention

ndaaOn Tuesday, October 1, California Governor Jerry Brown signed the California Liberty Preservation Act, also known as AB 351, into law. California is among several states state to legally prohibit state law enforcement agencies from sharing information or assisting federal agencies that could arrest and indefinitely detain people without trial.

This bill was created in an effort to safeguard the public’s Sixth Amendment rights by nullifying Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2012, signed into law by President Obama. The Bill of Rights Committee played a critical role in mobilizing broad grassroots coalitions in both northern and southern California that jointly mobilized to raise concerns about indefinite detention under the NDAA and ultimately helped prompt this resolution.

Peter Bibring, staff attorney with the ACLU of southern California, remarked about the significance of this moment:

This effort proves the power of finding common ground. In supporting this bill the ACLU and BORDC stood shoulder to shoulders with religious groups, the Tenth Amendment Center, and others and won nearly unanimous recognition from the Legislature that indefinite detention without trial is contrary to the values of all Americans.

This law is a victory for the people, and was won by the people but it also holds deep historical significance. Nadia Kayyali, former BORDC legal fellow, reminds us that,

“California has a history of unconstitutional detention, as demonstrated by the internment of Japanese-Americans, along with Italian and German Americans, during World War II.”

AB 351 helps to insure that the crimes of the past will not be repeated, or new ones committed in the future--at least not in California. The threat of indefinite detention for Americans throughout the rest of the country, however, still looms large under this government that seeks to continually expand its executive power.

To get involved in a campaign to stop indefinite detention in your state, contact the BORDC organizing team at organizing[at]BORDC[dot]org.

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