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The Champion

October 2011 , Page 63 

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Informal Opinion

By Joshua L. Dratel

Last month on the 10th anniversary of the devastating attacks of September 11, 2011, all Americans reflected with sadness and a renewed sense of national purpose on the lives lost on that dreadful day. As criminal defense lawyers, we know that the ensuing decade has also extracted a toll on our legal system. The Champion invited the chair of NACDL’s National Security Committee to share his perspective on the compromises to fundamental rights and erosion of liberties that resulted from the 9/11 tragedy.


Reflections on 9/11 And the Law

The most profound and pronounced effect of 9/11 is that many of the principles previously regarded as fundamental in the operation of the criminal justice system are now in significant retreat, if not abandoned altogether.

Certainly these principles were not uniformly honored prior to 9/11, but they were at least recognized as controlling. Yet what were previously episodic and isolated departures have now become policy.

For example, before 9/11 it would have

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