President Obama’s Detention Plan has critics saying that Obama’s proposal could be a deviation from American legal tradition. Obama’s proposal consists of new legal system in which suspects of terrorism could be held in what the president called as “prolonged detention” in the United States without a trial. The proposal can change the way the country perceives its legal system. People see the United States as having a government that strictly imposes the law. Criminal suspects, with the benefit of a trial, can either walk out of the courtroom free men or guilty of criminal charges against them.
However, legal measures have been taken to allow the detention of suspected criminals. Quarantine laws can be cited including the use of court precedents that allow the detention of sexual offenders and people who are considered to be dangerous and mentally ill. Every day in the United States, people are denied the benefit of bail and are detained because they are considered to be a threat to their respective communities even though they have yet to be convicted of any charge. Despite the availability of these legal tools, the idea of preventive detention, legal experts say, is at the very edge of United States law.
Any new proposal for the detention of suspects of terrorism without a trial would eventually reach the Supreme Court. No specific details have been given for Obama’s detention plan but the President has said that the matter will be overseen by the courts and Congress (www. nytimes. com). Several legal minds have already said that when it comes to the proposal being constitutional, the matter will depend on the fairness of the evaluation procedures. Critics of the Obama have said that the proposal was just a repeat of the Guantanamo Bay prison of Bush.
They said that Obama will simply close the prison in Cuba and move it to another location which is the United States. Obama sees the prolonged detention plan as necessary because there are some detainees who cannot be tried but are considered to be a threat to society if released. They are prisoners who continue to be at war with the country, had extensive training under the Al Qaeda and those who have pledged their allegiance to Osama bin Laden. They can also be people who have made it very clear to everyone that they want to kill American people.
Whether or not the proposal is constitutional is a matter of debate. Opponents of the detention plan have said that such a proposal is reminiscent of abusive legal systems of the past. Some are also skeptical if there are detainees who pose a considerable threat to the country but against those whom the government does not file criminal charges. Proponents of the Obama detention plan that the existing detainees in Guantanamo Bay include extremists and militants who are so wrapped up in their ideology. Some of them cannot be tried partially because for the lack of evidence.
Civil liberties advocates are not convinced of Obama’s argument about needing to keep detainees who are too dangerous to be given freedom (www. nytimes. com). The proposed detention plan would seem to go beyond the boundaries of Americal legal tradition. The justice system is designed to protect the people and provide an avenue for the judgment of the guilty and the innocent. If suspects are tried and found not guilty, they should be released. If they are guilty, they must face the punishment of the law.
This is the way justice is served in America. The prolonged detention without trial is a violation of Amendment V and VI in which the prisoner has the right to be indicted by a grand jury and to face those who pressed charges against him. The amendments also said that no liberty should be deprived without due approval of the law. In the case of the detainees, prolonged detention also violates their right to bail and fair trial. Amendment VIII is also a matter of consideration because prolonged detention can be classified as an unusual punishment.
The amendment prohibits such unusual punishment to be given to any man. Therefore, American laws should be amended to make the prolonged detention plan constitutional and acceptable even for the legal experts. The civil liberties of any man should not be taken away without the due process of the law. Work Cited Glaberson, W. , President’s Detention Plan Tests American Legal Tradition’, New York Times, May 22, 2009, http://www. nytimes. com/2009/05/23/us/politics/23detain. html? partner=rss&emc=rss