Thursday, April 21, 2005

PATRIOT: Material Support

Yesterday, Congress heard testimony regarding Section 805 which is about Material Support.
"The original definition of "material support or resources" in the AEDPA included providing tangible support such as money, goods, and materials and also less concrete support, such as "personnel" and "training." Section 805 of the PATRIOT Act expanded the definition to include "expert advice or assistance." Some courts have found the terms "personnel," "training," and "expert advice or assistance" to be unconstitutionally vague. The courts have reasoned that enforcement of these provisions has the potential to criminalize First Amendment-protected speech."
Therefore, the challenge to this section will likely be the fear of mistaken prosecution, where it has been justly applied the majority of the time. This concept is called the Overbreadth Doctrine as coined by the Supreme Court. I would concede that some abuse of prosecutorial powers could occur, but such an event would be rare, and should not prevent this laws rightful execution.

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