Rights - from National Lawyers Guild

Hunter Gray hunterbadbear at earthlink.net
Tue Sep 25 14:12:43 MDT 2001


In a message dated 9/25/01 2:18:44 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
toplab at toplab.org writes:

<< forwarded here, revised draft for national lawyers guild rights summary.
 this is near-final text for Know Your Rights pamphlet. National Lawyers
 Guild contact is riva enteen: nlgriva at pacbell.net  415 285 1055

                           KNOW  YOUR  RIGHTS!

 What rights do I have?

 The Right to Advocate for Change. The First Amendment to the U.S.
 Constitution protects the rights of groups and individuals who advocate
 changes in laws, government practices, and even the form of government.

 The Right to Remain Silent. The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution
provides
 that every person has the right to remain silent in the face of questions
 posed by any police officer or government agent.

 The Right to be Free from "Unreasonable Searches and Seizures." The Fourth
 Amendment is supposed to protect your privacy. Without a warrant, no
 government agent is allowed to search your home or office and you can
refuse
 to let them in. Know, however, that it is easy for the government to
 monitor your telephone calls, conversations in your office, home, car, or
 meeting place, as well as mail. E-mail is particularly insecure. The
 government has already begun stepping up its monitoring of e-mails.


              CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS CANNOT BE SUSPENDED -- EVEN DURING

                    A STATE OF EMERGENCY OR WARTIME.

 What should I do if agents come to question me?

 1.  YOU DO NOT HAVE TO TALK TO THE POLICE, FBI, INS, OR ANY OTHER LAW
 ENFORCEMENT AGENT OR INVESTIGATOR. Other than providing your name and
 address to a police officer who is investigating a crime, you are not
 legally obligated to talk to anyone: on the street, at your home or office,
 if you've been arrested, or even if you're in jail. Only a judge has the
 legal authority to order you to answer questions.

 2.  YOU DO NOT HAVE TO LET POLICE OR OTHER LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENTS INTO YOUR
 HOME OR OFFICE UNLESS THEY HAVE A SEARCH WARRANT OR ARREST WARRANT. Demand
 to see the warrant. The warrant must specifically describe the place to be
 searched and the things to be seized. If they have a warrant, you cannot
 stop them from entering and searching, but you should still tell them that
 you do not consent to a search. This will limit them to the scope of the
 search authorized by the warrant.

 3.  IF THEY DO PRESENT A WARRANT, YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO MONITOR THEIR
SEARCH
 AND ACTIVITIES. You have the right to observe what they do. You have the
 right to ask them for their names and titles. Take written notes including
 their names, badge numbers, and what agency they are from. Have your
friends
 who are present act as witnesses. Give this information to your lawyer. A
 warrant does not give the government the right to question, nor does it
 obligate you to answer questions.

 4.  IF THE POLICE OR FBI OR INS OR ANYONE ELSE TRIES TO QUESTION YOU OR
 TRIES TO ENTER YOUR HOME WITHOUT A WARRANT, JUST SAY NO! Police and other
 law enforcement agents are very skilled at getting information from people.
 Many people are afraid that if they refuse to cooperate, it will appear as
 if they have something to hide. Don't be fooled. The police are allowed to
 (and do) lie to you. Although agents may seem nice and pretend to be on
 your side, they are likely to be intent on learning about the habits,
 opinions, and affiliations of people not suspected of wrongdoing, with the
 end goal of stopping political activity with which the government
disagrees.
 Trying to answer agents' questions, or trying to "educate them" about your
 cause can be very dangerous. You can never tell how a seemingly harmless
bit
 of information that you give them might be used and misconstrued to hurt
you
 or someone else. And keep in mind that lying to a federal agent is a crime.

 5.  IF YOU ARE STOPPED ON THE STREET, ASK IF YOU ARE FREE TO GO.  If you
are
 stopped by the police, ask them why. If they do not have a good reason for
 stopping you, or if you find yourself chatting for more than about a
minute,
 ask "Am I under arrest, or am I free to go?"  If they do not state that you
 are under arrest, tell them that you do not wish to continue speaking with
 them and that you are going to go about your business.  Then do so.

 6.  ANYTHING YOU SAY TO THE POLICE, FBI, INS, ETC. WILL BE USED AGAINST YOU
 AND OTHERS. Once you've been arrested, you cannot talk your way out of it!
 Don't try to engage the cops in dialogue or respond to their accusations.

 7.  In California, YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO MAKE 3 FREE LOCAL TELEPHONE CALLS
 within three hours of your arrest on state charges if you are booked into
 jail. You have a right to call a lawyer, a bail bondsperson, and a friend
 or relative. If arrested by federal authorities, you also have a right to
 a phone call. Demand to make those calls.

 8.  THE FBI MAY THREATEN YOU WITH A GRAND JURY SUBPOENA IF YOU DON'T TALK
TO
 THEM. They may give you a subpoena anyway, so anything you tell them may
 permit them to ask you more detailed questions later. You may also have
 legal grounds to refuse to answer questions before a grand jury. If you are
 given a grand jury subpoena, you should call a lawyer immediately (see
 contact information at the end). Tell your friends and movement groups
 about the subpoena and discuss how to respond. Do not try to deal with this
 alone.

 9.  IF YOU ARE NERVOUS ABOUT SIMPLY REFUSING TO TALK, TELL THEM TO CONTACT
 YOUR LAWYER. They should stop trying to question you once you announce your
 desire to consult a lawyer. You do not have to already have one. Remember
 to get the name, agency, and telephone number of any investigator who
visits
 you, and contact the National Lawyers Guild for help getting a lawyer.

 How should I respond to threatening letters or calls?

 If your home or office is broken into, or threats have been made against
 you, your organization, or someone you work with, share this information
 with everyone affected. Take immediate steps to increase personal and
office
 security. You should discuss with your organization and with a lawyer
 whether and how to report such incidents to the police and the advisability
 of taking other legal action. If you decide to make a report, do not do so
 without a lawyer present.

 What if I suspect surveillance?

 Prudence is the best course, no matter who you suspect, or what the basis
 of your suspicion. Do not hesitate to confront suspected agents politely,
in
 public, with at least one other person present, and inquire about their
 business. If the suspect declines to answer, he or she at least now knows
 that you are aware of the surveillance. If you suspect government agents
 are monitoring you, or are harassing you, report this to the National
 Lawyers
 Guild.

 What if I am not a citizen?

 1.  YOU DO NOT HAVE TO REVEAL YOUR IMMIGRATION STATUS. We cannot count on
 the police to honor local sanctuary ordinances, and the fact that the INS
 obtained your name in violation of a sanctuary ordinance will NOT prevent
 you from being deported.

 2.  FOREIGN NATIONALS HAVE THE RIGHT TO CALL THEIR CONSULATE if arrested in
 the U.S., under the Vienna Convention.

 3.  DO NOT TALK TO THE INS, EVEN ON THE PHONE, before talking to an
 immigration lawyer. Many INS officers view "enforcement," meaning deporting
 people, as their primary job. They do not believe that explaining
 immigration options is part of their job, and most will readily admit this.
 (Noncitizens who are victims of domestic abuse should speak with an expert
 in both immigration law and domestic violence.) A noncitizen should always
 speak with an immigration law expert before speaking to the INS either in
 person or by telephone.

 4.  KNOW AND ASSERT YOUR RIGHTS!

 All noncitizens have the following rights, regardless of your immigration
 status:

 a.  The right to speak to an attorney before answering any questions or
 signing any documents;

 b.  The right to a hearing with an Immigration Judge;

 c. The right to have an attorney at that hearing and in any interview with
 INS (however you do not have the right to a free, government-paid lawyer);
 and

 d.  The right to request release from detention, by paying a bond if
 necessary.

 Noncitizens must assert these rights. If you do not demand these rights,
 you can be deported without seeing either an attorney or a judge. Leaving
 the U.S. in this way may have serious consequences for your ability to
later
 enter or to gain legal immigration status in the U.S.

 5.  TALK TO AN IMMIGRATION LAWYER BEFORE LEAVING THE U.S.

 Anyone not a U.S. citizen may be barred from coming back to the U.S. if
they
 fall into certain categories of people barred from entering. This includes
 some lawful permanent residents and applicants for green cards. Some
 noncitizens that have been in the U.S. without INS permission may be
 permanently barred from re-entering. In addition, some noncitizens that
 leave the US and return with INS permission may be swiftly removed from the
 U.S. if they end up in immigration proceedings.

                                 CONTACT INFORMATION

 National Lawyers Guild Bay Area legal hotline for local and federal police/
 government repression:

 (415) 285-1055 or 255-0796.

 National office: (212) 627-2656, www.nlg.org  <http://www.nlg.org/>

 *[A local immigration contact]*

 National Immigration Project: (617) 227-9727

 Immigration law information is also available on  <http://www.nilc.org/>


 American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee

 Report hate crimes and harassment against Arab Americans and Muslims to
 ADC-SF (415) 861-7444 or ADC-National (202) 244-2990, and to the American
 Civil Liberties Union of Northern California: (415) 621-2493.


 =================================================================


Hunter Gray  [Hunterbear]
www.hunterbear.org

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