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In The Sweat Box: A Historical Perspective On The Detention Of Material Witnesses, Carolyn B. Ramsey
After the September 11 terrorist attacks, the Justice Department detained scores of allegedly suspicious persons under a federal material witness statute--a tactic that provoked a great deal of controversy. Most critics assume that the abuse of material witness laws is a new development. Yet, rather than being transformed by the War on Terror, the detention of material witnesses is a coercive strategy that police officers across the nation have used since the nineteenth century to build cases against suspects. Fears of extraordinary violence or social breakdown played at most an indirect role in its advent and growth. Rather, it has ...