Legal changes post-Sept. 11

September 11, 2008
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With today being the anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, I couldn’t help but think about how our country has changed in seven years. I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I realize now that we aren’t as isolated from the rest of the world as we once thought, that terrorism can happen in America, and that the U.S. we knew before the attacks will never be the same.

One major change came about through Congress as the Patriot Act. President George W. Bush signed it into law in October 2001, and many of the laws introduced then have been made permanent.

The argument and rush to pass the act was it would make America safer. Giving the government more policing powers, the ability to search private records without having to show a judge that a crime may have been committed, easier access to monitor phone and e-mail communications, and gather information about people, among other powers, were necessary to protect the U.S. from future attacks and find terrorists before they can strike.

My question is one I’m sure many people have had regarding the Patriot Act – is it worth impeding on people’s freedoms and constitutional rights to try to protect our country? Is it OK for the government to obtain personal information without the approval of a judge as long as it’s in the best interest of our country’s safety?

It may be a question that’s hard to answer. Can I say for sure that the Patriot Act has prevented any more attacks? No. But I also can’t say it may not have contributed to keeping Americans safe.
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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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