Community Resolution for Edgartown, MA

August 31, 2004

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Section1>ARTICLE 9. Moved that the Town vote to adopt the following:
 
WHEREAS the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Massachusetts ensure that every person has the right to freedom of speech and association. Every person has the right to freedom of religion. Every person has the right to assembly and privacy. Every person has the right to due process in judicial proceedings. Every person has the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. Stops or arrests may not be made without establishing reasonable suspicion or probable cause that a crime has been committed or is about to be committed. Every person has the right to equal protection under the law and the right not to be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.
WHEREAS there is strong evidence that these guarantees are threatened by parts of the USA PATRIOT Act, related legislation, and Federal Executive orders which allow: a) detaining citizens and residents of Edgartown without bringing legal charges and denying their right to counsel; b) monitoring their telephone, internet and library use, video rentals, book and grocery purchases, financial transactions, medical records and other activities without evidence of criminal behavior and without a court order; c) spying on domestic organizations without evidence of wrongdoing, designating organizations as ""terrorist"" without evidence of intent to act against the US and deporting citizens and residents who contribute to these organizations even if they are unaware of the ""terrorist"" designation d) conducting secret military tribunals without fundamental legal protections; e) secretly searching the homes of residents and citizens of Edgartown when they are absent; and f) profiling individuals according to their ethnicity.
WHEREAS the people of Edgartown are joining over 233 cities and towns in the US in affirming strong opposition to those parts of the USA PATRIOT Act, related legislation and acts, and to certain Justice Department directives and executive orders that weaken or destroy our constitutional civil rights and liberties.
BE IT RESOLVED that the Town of Edgartown should employ all possible leverage to ensure that Federal and State law enforcement officials working on the Island not engage, to the extent legally permissible, in law enforcement activities that threaten our civil rights and civil liberties, such as surveillance, wiretaps, and securing private information, which the USA PATRIOT Act and related legislation and acts authorize.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the people of Edgartown request that our United States Congressional representatives monitor the implementation of the USA PATRIOT ACT and related legislation, acts, and executive orders, and actively work for the repeal of the parts of those documents that violate fundamental rights and liberties as stated in the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Massachusetts, in the United Nations Charter, and the ratified International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention Against Torture, and the Convention on Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the Town Clerk communicate this resolution to all Town departments, the General Court, the Governor and Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Congressional delegation, the US Attorney General, the President of the United States and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland.
 
Moved and seconded; thereafter voted in favor by a standing vote YES 189 NO 49
 
ARTICLE 10. That that the Town vote to adopt the following:
 
The purposes of this article are as follows:
A. To protect the civil rights and civil liberties for all and to affirm the Town's commitment to embody democracy, and to embrace, defend and uphold the inalienable rights and fundamental liberties granted under the United States and the Massachusetts Constitutions, and
B. To ensure that local law enforcement continues to preserve and uphold residents' freedom of speech, assembly, association, and privacy, the right to counsel and due process in judicial proceedings, and protection from unreasonable searches and seizures.
 
Provisions:
All employees of the Town shall promptly refer the matter to Selectmen without taking any other action when, in the course of Town employment, the following occurs:
 
An employee of the Town is contacted by state or federal agents and asked to cooperate or assist with an investigation, interrogation, or arrest procedure under provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act (Public Law 107-56), Homeland Security Act (Public Law 107-296), or related Executive Orders, or future enacted law, executive order or regulation, where such procedure may be in violation of an individual's civil rights or civil liberties as specified in the U.S. Constitution or the Bill of Rights.
 
Working with the town attorney, the selectmen will have the power to weigh the constitutionality of such orders and the ramifications of following or not following them. If the selectmen believe that there is reasonable probability the courts would rule those orders unconstitutional, a special town meeting will be held to seek town support to refuse the request.
 
Indemnification:
All town officials and employees, when acting in their official capacity under this bylaw, will be indemnified by the Town.
 
Severability:
If any section or sections of this article are or are held to be invalid or unenforceable, all other sections shall nevertheless continue in full force and remain in effect.
 
Moved and seconded; thereafter voted with the Moderator declaring that the Article DID NOT CARRY.
 
On a motion duly made and seconded; it was voted to adjourn the meeting at 9:21 P.M.
Attest:
Wanda M Williams
Town Clerk
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