Bill of Rights Defense Campaign

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Durango, Colorado

City/Town: Durango
County: La Plata
State: Colorado
Congressional District: (click to contact Rep.) 3

Population (2000 Census): 13,922
Date Passed: 07/01/03

A Resolution in Defense of Citizens' Constitutional Rights and Civil Liberties

Approved by: Durango City Council

WHEREAS, the City of Durango recognizes the Constitution of the United States of America and the Constitution of the State of Colorado to be the supreme laws of the land, which our city elected officials and police officers by their oath of office have sworn to uphold; and

WHEREAS, the Durango City Council members, as representatives of the people, shall be accountable and effective guardians of the public trust; and

WHEREAS, the City of Durango has a long tradition of upholding the people's constitutional rights and greatly benefits from the many contributions of all of its citizens and visitors, past and present, who are vital to our city's unique character; and

WHEREAS, the City of Durango affirms its strong opposition to terrorism, but believes that government can protect public safety without impairing constitutional rights and civil liberties; and

WHEREAS, the City of Durango believes that any federal anti-terrorism policies should not pose a threat to the constitutional rights and civil liberties of all people within the City of Durango; and

WHEREAS, the City of Durango is bound by law, honor and duty to uphold the State and Federal Constitutions, the Bill of Rights, and specifically the following:

A. The First Amendment of the United States Constitution specifies that no law be made "respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances;" and
B. The Fourth Amendment declares that "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized;" and
C. The Fifth Amendment states that no person "shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;" and
D. The Sixth Amendment guarantees defendants "the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury… and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense;" and
E. The Eighth Amendment states that "excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted;" and
F. The Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the government from denying "to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws;" and

WHEREAS, Federal policies adopted since September 11, 2001, including provisions in the U.S.A. PATRIOT Act (Public Law 107-56) and related executive orders, regulations and actions may be contrary to the City of Durango's constitutional obligations and threaten the fundamental civil rights and liberties of the citizens and visitors of Durango by being interpreted and implemented as:

A. Authorizing the indefinite incarceration or deportation of non citizens even if they have not committed a crime.
B. Limiting judicial supervision and constitutional rights and civil liberties protections in the application of telephone and Internet surveillance.
C. Expanding the authority of federal agents to conduct secret searches so that the subject of a search warrant is unaware that the property has been searched.
D. Granting law enforcement and intelligence agencies broad access to sensitive medical, mental health, library, business, financial, educational, and other records about individuals without first showing probable cause or evidence of a crime.
E. Limiting constitutionally protected speech through unchecked authority of the Attorney General and the Secretary of State to designate domestic groups as "terrorist organizations" using overbroad definitions of "terrorism."
F. Authorizing the indefinite incarceration of citizens designated by the President as "enemy combatants" without access to counsel or meaningful recourse to the federal courts.
G. Authorizing the FBI to conduct surveillance of religious services, Internet chatrooms, political demonstrations, and other public meetings without evidence that a crime has been or may be committed.
H. Limiting the disclosure of public documents and records under the Freedom of Information Act.
I. Permitting wiretapping of conversations between federal prisoners and their lawyers.
J. Establishing secret military tribunals for terrorism suspects.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the City Council of the City of Durango, Colorado that:

Section 1. The City of Durango affirms its commitment to preserve the constitutional rights and civil liberties of its citizens and visitors alike within the City of Durango, including equal protection of the laws, freedom of speech, religion, association and assembly, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, and privacy, for all the people without regard to race, ethnicity, gender, economic status, national origin, religion, political affiliation, age, sexual orientation, marital status, citizenship status or disability.

The City of Durango recognizes that infringement of the constitutionally guaranteed rights and civil liberties of the people, under color of law, is an abuse of power, a breach of the public trust, a misappropriation of public resources, a violation of civil rights and is beyond
the scope of government authority.

Section 2. The City Council of the City of Durango hereby reaffirms established policy by directing its City Manager and all other officers and employees of the City, including those of the Police Department to take no action that would conflict with or impair the constitutional rights and civil liberties of our citizens as enumerated in the U. S. Constitution, the Constitution of the State of Colorado and, as may be set forth in other applicable Federal, State or local laws.

Section 3. The Council further directs the City Manager to immediately report to the Council, in writing, any request by Federal authorities to the City and/or its various departments that, if granted, would cause the City of Durango to exercise powers or cooperate in the exercise of powers in apparent violation of any City ordinance or the laws or Constitution of the State of Colorado or the United States.

Section 4. The Council urges all citizens and residents of the City to make themselves aware of the provisions of the U.S.A. PATRIOT Act and to contact and communicate with the Colorado Congressional delegation with respect to its contents.

Section 5. The Durango City Council directs the City Manager to transmit a copy of this resolution to Colorado's elected officials in Congress, to the Governor and to the members of the Legislature representing Durango, to President George W. Bush, to Attorney General John Ashcroft, to La Plata County, the Durango City Library, School District 9R and Fort Lewis College.

Section 6. The Durango City Council supports the immediate repeal of the unconstitutional provisions of the U.S.A. PATRIOT Act and opposes the proposed enhancement of the U.S.A. PATRIOT Act contained within the Justice Department draft "Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003."

Section 7. The Durango City Council strongly urges the State of Colorado’s Congressional delegation to vigorously resist and oppose any and all attempts to extend or make permanent the powers and authorities contained in the U.S.A. PATRIOT Act now scheduled to cease to have effect or “sunset” on December 31, 2005.


Community Group / Coalition: Southwest Colorado Peace & Justice Coalition

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