William (Bill) Edmonds served with the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department from 1973-1995 where he received the following honors: Department - Unit Commanders Citation, Exemplary Service Award, Legendary Lawman, and LA County Board of Supervisors - Deputy Emeritus. He currently owns CRASH FACTS Collision Reconstruction where he performs detailed collision investigations and reconstructions for insurance companies and attorneys. He has over 38 years of litigation experience within the court system in both criminal prosecution and civil cases.
Below is Bill’s response to NDAA:
NDAA: A Slippery Slope
Having spent over 20+ years (now retired) with the largest Sheriff’s Department in the United States, and now for the past 18 years a forensic expert that routinely testifies in court, I think I know a little about the judicial system from both sides – prosecution and defense.
The singing of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) may make it law, but it does not make it a good law.
We are a nation of laws, and the Constitution is “supposed” to be our guide for making those laws. But, over the years it has become bastardized by political influence (Congress and the President) and personal motivations (Supreme Court).
Congress passed the NDAA and President Obama signed it into law on New Year’s Eve. It allows for “anyone” to be indefinitely detained. This includes American citizens – on American soil. If so ordered, even an American citizen can be indefinitely detain just not in a military prison – without formal charges being filed or a court hearing as to the merits of the detention being held. The word “detention” is used in place of “arrested”. An arrest is the formal taking into custody of someone suspected of violating a law and formal charges are bought in front of a court within a very specific time frame depending on State or Federal statute. That court then makes a determination if there is enough evidence to hold a person until a trial date. A “detention” is used while a “suspected” criminal is investigated and the actual detention time differs from State-to-State, usually hours… not YEARS.
While I rarely (if ever) agree with anything that the ACLU is involved in, I do feel that “indefinite” detention without due process, of anyone, is a disgrace to our judicial system of law and only further inflames countries that once looked to the US as a great democracy where personal freedoms were protected and guaranteed under LAW.
It is an extremely slippery slope we are headed down when we, as US citizens, elect people who take away our personal freedoms in the name of freedom. While the indefinite detention of “some” persons may be argued as having saved our country from additional attacks by extremist militant groups, it doesn’t give any legitimacy to the American foundations of democracy or the US Constitution.