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April 4, 2007 - Lawyers Reconfirm Support for Habeas Corpus

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April 4, 2007
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Lawyers Reconfirm Support for Habeas Corpus

Colorado Bar Association backs vital right in system of checks and balances

April 4, 2007 — Colorado Bar Association President Elizabeth Starrs has signed a second letter to Sen. Salazar and Sen. Allard urging them to support pending efforts to ensure that the United States District Court in Washington, D.C. has jurisdiction over habeas corpus claims brought by individuals detained at Guantanamo Bay. This letter also was sent to Colorado’s elected members of Congress. Full text of the letter follows:

On behalf of the Colorado Bar Association, I urge you to support legislation to fully restore the right of habeas corpus, which is a vital part of our system of “checks and balances.” The right of habeas corpus is an important safeguard against mistakes, which can be made even by the best-intentioned government officials.

The Colorado Bar Association and its members are committed to upholding fundamental and inalienable rights — including the right to habeas corpus — that are guaranteed in the Constitution of the United States. In fact, the right to petition for a writ of habeas corpus has been recognized in English law since at least as early as the Magna Carta in 1215, and was placed in the United States Constitution by our Founding Fathers as the means by which anyone who is detained by the Executive may challenge the lawfulness of his or her detention. The Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 and the Military Commissions Act of 2006 deny the Writ of Habeas Corpus to any citizen or non-citizen who has been deemed unilaterally to be an “unlawful enemy combatant,” without providing any meaningful process for challenging that designation. The Military Commissions Act does not provide an adequate substitute for habeas corpus. 

The Colorado Bar Association urges you to support pending efforts to ensure that the United States District Court in Washington, D.C. has jurisdiction over habeas corpus claims brought by individuals detained at Guantanamo Bay and others deemed to be “enemy combatants.”  

Elizabeth A. Starrs, Denver
President, Colorado Bar Association

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