Back to All Press Release

Rights Advocates Raise Strong Objections To New Antiterrorism Legislation

Advocates of civil rights and civil liberties are sharply critical of antiterrorism legislation recently passed by the Senate. The advocates, speaking at a news conference today, charge the proposed legislation would lead to the routine violation of fundamental rights of privacy, speech and due process of law.

Participants at the news conference include representatives of the New York Civil Liberties Union, the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the New York State Defenders Association. They are calling upon the Governor and the Assembly not to proceed with the five antiterrorism bills acted on by the Senate.

The new antiterrorism proposals, included in a package of five bills, include provisions that would create a “good faith” exception to the rule that excludes the use of evidence obtained unlawfully by police and prosecutors; permit the greatly expanded use of police authority to monitor telephone conversations and electronic communications; and create new felony crimes for acts of “cyberterrorism,” which involves “inundating” or “overloading” a computer network.

“If the intent of this legislation is to ensure public safety,” commented Robert Perry, the New York Civil Liberties Union’s legislative counsel, “the proposals are terribly misguided. They would create extraordinary new police powers that would undermine basic freedoms. Quite frankly, there are a number of provisions in the package that appear to be unconstitutional.” The NYCLU is issuing an analysis that finds the legislation is badly flawed, and that also criticizes the Senate’s use of expedited procedures that prevented proper comment and deliberation before the bills were taken to a vote.

According to Richard Barbuto, President of the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, “The proposed antiterrorism legislation would overturn longstanding rules of due process that are intended to protect against overzealous and improper prosecutions.” Jonathan Gradess, Executive Director of the New York State Defenders Association adds that, “These bills are stale, discredited, reactionary ideas that have been legislatively attempted before and failed.”

The advocates are calling upon the Governor and the Legislature not to proceed with the legislation; and instead, to conduct hearings that examine the appropriate role of local law enforcement and other state agencies in protecting New Yorkers from acts of terrorism.

Click here to read the NYCLU’s statement in opposition to the antiterrorism legislation now pending in the New York State Legislature.

As bold as the spirit of New York, we are the NYCLU.
© 2024 New York
Civil Liberties Union