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Legal History Commons

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2009

University of Colorado Law School

National Security Law

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Full-Text Articles in Legal History

In The Sweat Box: A Historical Perspective On The Detention Of Material Witnesses, Carolyn B. Ramsey Jan 2009

In The Sweat Box: A Historical Perspective On The Detention Of Material Witnesses, Carolyn B. Ramsey

Articles

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 ...