Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996

Prior to 9/11 there was in fact an important piece of legislation enacted that was later modified by the Patriot Act which continues to consume the attention of the public and law makers. Here was the most important piece of that puzzle (for want of a better term)!

AntiTerrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, Pub.L 104-132 [S. 735] April 24, 1996

Consisting of 105 pages of U.S. Code Congressional and Administration News this statute (AEDPA) addresses the culmination of law enforcement lessons learned prior to its adoption. Enactment of the U.S.A. Patriot Act in October 2001 further refined some of the AEDPA changes. Both prosecutorial lessons and administrative lessons were included based on the prior decade’s law enforcement efforts.

The substantive Titles of the AEDPA are instructive:

Title II-Justice for Victims
This title addresses both restitution to the victims and enhanced procedures to favor terrorist victims in the U.S. court system.
Title III-International Terrorism Prohibition
This title authorizes a system of both designating foreign organizations as terrorist organizations and prohibiting monetary and other assistance to so-called Terrorist states.
Title IV-Terrorist and Criminal Alien Removal and Exclusion
This title addresses both the specifics of removal (deportation), visa application procedural changes, modifications of asylum procedures, and extensive procedural modifications for handling criminal aliens.
Title V-Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Weapon Restrictions
This title adds further restrictions on possession of certain materials and provides enhancements in the controls of biological agents and increased
penalties for violations.
Section 521 of this title required a comprehensive study of the training of responders to the use of chemical and biological weapons.
Title VI-Implementation of Plastic Explosive Convention
This title regulates and restricts production and possession of plastic
explosive agents, including identifying markers.
Title VII-Criminal Law Modifications to Counter Terrorism
Increases penalties, including penalties for dissemination of certain information, assigns the death penalty for certain violations with other technical modifications.
Title VIII-Assistance to Law Enforcement
Provides for enhanced overseas training, special protection for federal buildings in the District of Columbia, and authorizes funding for law enforcement antiterrorism training. Section 819, captioned Local Firefighters and Emergency Services Training, authorized the Attorney General to make grants through FEMA for specialized training and equipment to enhance firefighter response to terrorist attacks. $8 million was authorized for fiscal year 1997, the AEDPA first year.
It should be noted that under the provisions of Presidential Directive 39 signed in June 1995 FEMA had been made chair of the Interagency Working Group on Training and Preparedness for Consequences Management.
An additional provision, section 827, authorized grants for specialized training and equipment for law enforcement personnel to deal with terrorist attacks. Section 821 authorized a new program of research and development to support counterterrorism technologies. This included technology to provide (1) detection; (2) tracking; (3) surveillance; (4) vulnerability assessment; and (5) information technology. Section 808 mandated a report to Congress annually on threats or intimidation efforts directed against federal employees related to terrorism.

Title IX provided miscellaneous changes. Section 901 expanded the Territorial Sea definition. Section 902 prevented the use of voting identification and registration for proof of citizenship. Section 903 capped representation fees for defense counsel experts at $7500 unless modified by court order. Finally, section 904 provided severability if any portion of the AEDPA was determined to be Unconstitutional.