Copyright (c) 1984 Northwestern School of LawJournal of Criminal Law & CriminologyWinter, 1984
75 J. Crim. L. & Criminology 1159
The Improper Use of the Federal Grand Jury: An Instrument for theInternment of Political Activists
By Michael E. Deutsch ** Partner, Peoples Law Office, Attorney for Political Activists, Chicago, Illinois. J.D., Northwestern University, 1969; B.A., University of Illinois, 1966.
Secret inquisitions are dangerous things justly feared by free men everywhere. They are thebreeding place for arbitrary misuse of official power. They are often the beginning of tyranny aswell as indispensible instruments for its survival. Modern as well as ancient history bearswitness that both innocent and guilty have been seized by officers of the state and whisked away for secret interrogation or worse, until the groundwork has been securely laid for their inevitable conviction. While the labels applied to this practice have frequently changed, thecentral idea . . . remains unchanging -- extraction of "statements" by one means or another froman individual by officers of the state while he is held incommunicado.
n1[*1159] I. INTRODUCTIONIn the United States, the government imprisons radical political activists, often calledterrorists, through the grand jury subpoena power, without a specific criminal charge. n2 This practice deeply offends our basic constitutional principles of due process, presumption of innocence, and trial by jury.Although the laws of apartheid in South Africa, which allow for indefinite detention of political oponents without specific charge or trial, n3 and the internment laws of Britain, whichwere used to [*1160] imprison supporters of the Irish Republican movement solely onsuspicion of their membership in the Irish Republican Army, n4 would [*1161] clearly be prohibited under the United States Constitution, a similar type of internment without charge is being employed in the United States with little public outcry. n5