The Herald (Randolph, VT)
Vigilance Is Needed on Patriot Act
The complete article is currently (4/5/04)
available on the Randolph Herald's website at--http://www.rherald.com/news/2003/1030/Front_Page/f05.html [found through a Google search by article title on the date
Covert searches. Warrantless wiretaps. Closed deportation hearings. The ability to seize records and assets without
any demonstration of probable cause.
It’s enough to cause a former civil rights attorney and U.S. Solicitor General some sleepless nights, Drew Days III
told a packed crowd at Vermont Law School last Tuesday.
In an address entitled, "Homeland Insecurity: Assessing the Threats to Constitutional Protections in Abnormal Times," Days
suggested that it is time for a "vigilant public" to examine expanded federal powers "unleashed" by the USA Patriot Act. ...
The extraordinary powers granted by the law will have an impact on the rights of speech, association, search and
seizure, legal counsel, and privacy, all guarantees of the Bill of Rights, Days said....
Benson Scotch, the former director of the Vermont American Civil Liberties Union, echoed Atty. Days’ warnings about
the measure in a talk Oct. 8, at Randolph’s Kimball Library. ...
The law defines "domestic terrorism," he explained, as "the violation of the criminal laws" … "that appear to be
intended" … "to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion."
The "appear to be intended" phrase, in a ground-breaking maneuver, moves the focus from what the accused actually
did or thought, to what the prosecutor thinks he might have intended, Scotch said.
It has always been tough for prosecutors to prove intent, Scotch conceded, but lowering the threshold to "appear
to be intended," he said, "is really crazy."
Using this legal definition, "a demonstrator could be tried as a terrorist," Scotch charged. ...
By Sandy Cooch