Gaston, OR City Council Resolution

Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
The City Council of the City of Gaston
Resolution No. 03-01

WHEREAS, the City of Gaston has been and remains committed to the protection of civil rights and liberties for all people as expressed in the Constitutions of the United States of American and the State of Oregon.

WHEREAS, the City of Gaston hereby reaffirms its support of the Constitution of the United States of America and the Constitution of the State of Oregon.  

WHEREAS, the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the United States of America and the Constitution of the State of  Oregon guarantee certain rights concerning:
· Freedom of Speech and peaceful assembly
· The assistance of counsel in criminal prosecutions and due process concerning deprivation of life, liberty or property; and
· Protection from unreasonable searches and seizures

WHEREAS, the USA PATRIOT Act, Federal legislation also known as HR 3162 or Public Law 107-56, and associated orders and rules of the executive branch, now threaten these fundamental rights and liberties by:
· Authorizing the indefinite incarceration of citizens designated as ""enemy combatants"", without access to counsel or meaningful recourse to the courts;
· Authorizing indefinite incarceration of non-citizens based upon mere suspicion, without access to counsel or meaningful recourse to the courts;
· Substantially reducing judicial supervision of telephone and Internet surveillance;
· Substantially expanding the government's ability to conduct secret searches;
· Granting the U.S. Attorney General and Secretary of State the power to designate domestic groups conducting legitimate activity as ""terrorist organizations;""
· Granting the Federal Bureau of Investigation broad access to sensitive medical, mental health, financial, library, bookstore purchase and educational records about individuals without having to show evidence of a crime and without presenting or even obtaining a court order;
· Imposing prosecution on any keeper of records who divulges the search; and
· Allowing secret searches of homes and offices, thus undermining an individual's right to be secure in one's home without facing unreasonable searches and seizures;

WHEREAS, many other communities in the U.S. have enacted similar resolutions in order to make a statement, affect government policy and demand accountability from law enforcement regarding the implementation of these new powers;

WHEREAS, this Resolution is not intended to inhibit or prevent apprehension, trial, or conviction of people who have carried out or planned attacks against the United States or any other country, but to state our belief that we are still a nation based on laws and that a threat to any one person's Constitutional rights is a threat to the rights of us all.

WHEREAS the Declaration of Independence of the United States holds as self-evident that all people are create d equal and are endowed with unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;

WHEREAS the extent of the enumerated powers of the federal government as listed in Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution and the reservation of powers to the states or the people pursuant to the Tenth Amendment of the United States Constitution implicate limitations on the role of the federal government that may affect the constitutionality of the USA PATRIOT Act;

WHEREAS the First Amendment of the United States Constitution specifies that no law be made ""respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances"";

WHEREAS the Fourth Amendment declares that ""the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and the effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized"";

WHEREAS the Fifth Amendment states that no person ""shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself"";

WHEREAS the Sixth Amendment guarantees defendants ""the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury?, and to be informed of the nature and cause the accusation; to be confronted with the witness against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense"";

WHEREAS the Eight Amendment states that ""excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted"";

WHEREAS the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the government from denying ""to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws"";

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the City of Gaston affirms the rights of all people-including United States citizens and citizens of other nations-within the City in accordance with the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Gaston City Council calls upon all City officials and employees to respect the civil rights and liberties of all members of this community, including those who are citizens of other nations; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Gaston City Council calls upon all private citizens-including residents, employers, educators, and business owners-to demonstrate similar respect for civil rights and civil liberties, especially but not limited to conditions of employment and cooperation with investigations; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that, to the extent legally possible, no City employee or department shall officially assist or voluntarily cooperate with investigations, interrogations, or arrest procedures, public or clandestine, be used that are in violation of individuals' civil rights or civil liberties as specified in the above Amendments of the  United States Constitution; and

BE IT FURTHRE RESOVLED that no City employee or department violate Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) 181.575, which prohibits police from collecting or maintaining information on groups or individuals based on their religious, political, and associational activities when that person or group is not suspected of any criminal activity; or ORS 181.850, which generally prohibits state and local law enforcement agencies from detecting or apprehending person of foreign citizen based only on violation of federal immigration laws; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City Recorder communicate this Resolution to all City Departments, the presiding judge of the circuit court, the Governor and Attorney General of the State of Oregon, the Oregon Congressional Delegation, the United States Attorney General, and the President of the United States; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the provisions of this Resolution shall be severable, and if any phrase, clause, sentence, or provision of this Resolution is declared by a court of competent jurisdiction to be contrary to the Constitution of the United States or of the State of Oregon or the applicability thereof to any agency, person, or circumstances is held invalid, the validity of the remainder of this Resolution and the applicability thereof to any other agency, person or circumstances shall not be affected thereby

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