New bill would criminalize Idaho officials cooperating with military detentions

Sen. Monty Pearce, R-New Plymouth, says the post-9/11 law that permits indefinite detention without charge, military tribunals and transfer of persons arrested in the U.S. overseas is unconstitutional and that any Idaho official who cooperates with the feds in enforcing the law should be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Pearce’s Idaho Liberty Preservation Act was introduced Monday by the Senate State Affairs Committee.

“The National Defense Authorization Act allows for the government to come in and pick up our citizens and have them never appear before a judge,” Pearce told the committee. “They can be imprisoned for untold periods of time.”

The NDAA suspends habeas corpus rights, Pearce said, adding, “It violates our 1st Amendment, our 4th Amendment, our 5th Amendment, the 6th Amendment and the 14th Amendment.”

The bill would bar any state official or agent from participating in indefinite detention and aiding any federal agency in the investigation, prosecution or detention under the indefinite detention provision. It also requires any Idaho law enforcement agency to immediately report to the governor and Legislature any federal attempt to implement indefinite detention though any state agency.

Offenders would be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

The bill was introduced on a voice vote, but its prospects are unclear because legislative leaders hope to adjourn by March 29.



Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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