DOJ Seeks to Suspend Constitutional Rights During COVID-19 Pandemic

The Federal Docket

March 24, 2020

Marsh 24, 2020.

Attorney General William Barr has recently requested that Congress pass a law allowing federal judges to indefinitely detain individuals pre-trial and suspend other rights that criminal defendants have. Specifically, the DOJ wants to empower federal judges to “pause” court proceedings during instances of “natural disaster, civil disobedience, or other emergency situation.”

The scope is broad, targeting “any statutes or rules of procedure otherwise affecting pre-arrest, post-arrest, pre-trial, trial, and post-trial procedures in criminal and juvenile proceedings and all civil processes and proceedings.”  The rights affected would be the protection against excessive fines or bail, the right to a speedy trial, the right to petition for habeas corpus, suspending the statute of limitations, and other crucial constitutional safeguards that are staples of our system.

To read the article at Rolling Stone, click here.

Tom Church - Tom is a trial and appellate lawyer focusing on criminal defense and civil trials. Tom is the author of "The Federal Docket" and is a contributor to Mercer Law Review's Annual Survey in the areas of federal sentencing guidelines and criminal law. Tom graduated with honors from the University of Georgia Law School where he served as a research assistant to the faculty in the areas of constitutional law and civil rights litigation. Read Tom's reviews on AVVO. Follow Tom on Linkedin.

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