Scenic Northampton, MA. Photo credit: John Phelan
Upon the recommendation of the Northampton Human Rights Commission and with the help of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC), the City Council of Northampton Massachusetts passed a resolution calling for the restoration of the rights to due process and a fair trial. The resolution, passed on February 16, 2012, will be forwarded to the town's federal representatives and to the President of the United States, who late last year signed the controversial National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law.
The Northampton resolution says the NDAA "corrodes the ideals of presumed innocence and right to a fair trial on which our nation was founded, and which generations of activists and military servicemen and women have fought to preserve." The resolution draws a connection between the material support for terrorism statute, which allows prosecution based on protected speech, and the NDAA, stating:
…[T]he NDAA's detention provisions could, under Humanitarian Law Project v. Holder, allow the targeted detention of activists, journalists and other Americans exercising their First Amendment rights despite the crucial role of Free Speech in preserving liberty…
The resolution also condemns the use of torture. Northampton was one of hundreds of cities and towns nationwide that passed a resolution condemning the Patriot Act.