Friday, July 29, 2005

the MILGRAM experiment

Milgram experiment

The Milgram experiment was a
famous scientific experiment of social psychology. The experiment was first described by Stanley Milgram, a psychologist at Yale University in an article titled Behavioral Study of Obedience published in the Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology in 1963, and later summarized in his 1974 book Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View. It was intended to measure the willingness of a participant to obey an authority who instructs the participant to do something that may conflict with the participant's personal conscience.

The experiments began in July 1961, a year after the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem. Milgram devised the experiment to answer the question "Could it be that Eichmann and his million accomplices in the Holocaust were just following orders? Could we call them all accomplices?" (Milgram, 1974)

Milgram summed up in the article "The Perils of Obedience" (Milgram 1974), writing:
"The legal and philosophic aspects of obedience are of enormous import, but they say very little about how most people behave in concrete situations. I set up a simple experiment at Yale University to test how much pain an ordinary citizen would inflict on another person simply because he was ordered to by an experimental scientist. Stark authority was pitted against the subjects' [participants'] strongest moral imperatives against hurting others, and, with the subjects' [participants'] ears ringing with the screams of the victims, authority won more often than not. The extreme willingness of adults to go to almost any lengths on the command of an authority constitutes the chief finding of the study and the fact most urgently demanding explanation."

Milgram created a documentary film showing the experiment and its results, titled "Obedience", legitimate copies of which are hard to find today. He also produced a series of five other films on social psychology with
Harry From, some of which touched on his experiments [1] ( They may all be obtained from Penn State Media Services (
Before the experiment was conducted Milgram polled fellow psychologists as to what the results would be. They unanimously believed that only a few
sadists would be prepared to give the maximum voltage.
In Milgram's first set of experiments, 65 percent of experimental participants administered the experiment's final 450-volt shock, though many were quite uncomfortable in doing so. No participant stopped before the 300-volt level. Variants of the experiment were later performed by Milgram himself and other psychologists around the world with similar results. Apart from confirming the original results the variations have tested variables in the experimental setup.
Thomas Blass of the University of Maryland (who is also the author of a biography of Milgram, called The Man who shocked the World) performed a meta-analysis on the results of repeated performances of the experiment (done at various times since, in the US and elsewhere). He found that the percentage of participants who are prepared to inflict fatal voltages remains remarkably constant, between 61% and 66%, regardless of time or location (a popular account of Blass' results was published in Psychology Today, March/April 2002). The full results were published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology. [Blass, 1999]

The experiment raised questions about the
ethics of scientific experimentation itself because of the extreme emotional stress suffered by the participants (even though it could be said that this stress was brought on by their own free actions). Most modern scientists would consider the experiment unethical today, though it resulted in valuable insights into human psychology.
In Milgram's defense, 84 percent of former participants surveyed later said they were "glad" or "very glad" to have participated and 15 percent chose neutral (92% of all former participants responding). Many later wrote expressing thanks. Milgram repeatedly received offers of assistance and requests to join his staff from former participants.
Why so many former participants reported they were "glad" to have been involved despite the apparent levels of stress, one participant explained to Milgram in correspondence six years after he participated in the experiment, during the height of the
Vietnam War:
"While I was a subject [participant] in
1964, though I believed that I was hurting someone, I was totally unaware of why I was doing so. Few people ever realize when they are acting according to their own beliefs and when they are meekly submitting to authority. ... To permit myself to be drafted with the understanding that I am submitting to authority's demand to do something very wrong would make me frightened of myself. ... I am fully prepared to go to jail if I am not granted Conscientious Objector status. Indeed, it is the only course I could take to be faithful to what I believe. My only hope is that members of my board act equally according to their conscience..."
In contrast to the life-changing experience reported by some former participants, however, participants were not fully debriefed by modern standards and many seemed to never fully understand the nature of the experiment according to exit interviews.
Milgram describes 19 variations of the experiment that he conducted in Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View. In general, he found that when the immediacy of the victim was increased, compliance decreased, and when immediacy of the authority increased, compliance increased (Experiments 1-4). For instance, in one variation where participants received instructions from the experimenter only by telephone (Experiment 2), compliance greatly decreased; interestingly, a number of participants deceived the experimenter by pretending to continue the experiment. In the variation where immediacy of the "learner" was closest, participants had to physically hold the learner's arm onto a shock plate, which decreased compliance (Experiment 4). In this latter condition 30 percent still completed the experiment.
In Experiment 8, women were used as participants (all of Milgram's other experiments used only men). Obedience did not differ significantly, though they indicated experiencing higher levels of stress.
In one version (Experiment 10), Milgram rented a modest office in
Bridgeport, Connecticut, purporting to be run by a commercial entity called "Research Associates of Bridgeport" with no apparent connection to Yale, in order to eliminate the prestige of the university as a possible factor influencing participants' behavior. The results of this experiment did not significantly differ from those conducted at the Yale campus.
Milgram also combined the power of authority with that of
conformity. In these experiments, the participant was joined by one or two additional "teachers" (who were actually actors, like the "learner"). The behavior of the participants' apparent peers strongly affected results. When two additional teachers refused to comply (Experiment 17), only four participants of 40 continued the experiment. In another version, (Experiment 18) the participant performed a subsidiary task with another "teacher" who complied fully. In this variation only three of 40 defied the experimenter. [2] (
External links and references
Blass, Thomas. The Milgram paradigm after 35 years: Some things we now know about obedience to authority, Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 1999, Vol. 25, pp. 955-978.
Blass, Thomas. (2002), "The Man Who Shocked the World", Psychology Today, Mar/Apr 2002, Vol. 35 Issue 2.
Blass, Thomas. (2004), The Man Who Shocked the World: The Life and Legacy of Stanley Milgram. (
ISBN 0738203998)
American Scientist book review Official site (
Milgram, Stanley. (1963). "
Behavioral Study of Obedience (" Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 67, 371-378.
Milgram, Stanley. (1974), Obedience to Authority; An Experimental View (
ISBN 006131983X)
Milgram, Stanley. (1974),
"The Perils of Obedience" (, Harper's Magazine
Abridged and adapted from Obedience to Authority
Miller, Arthur G., (1986). The obedience experiments : a case study of controversy in social science, New York : Praeger, 295 p.
Parker, Ian, Obedience, published in Granta magazine ( ), issue 71, Autumn 2000. Includes an interview with one of Milgram's volunteers, and discusses modern interest in, and scepticism about, the experiment.
Wu, William, ( Practical Psychology: Compliance: The Milgram Experiment.
Obedience (, May 1962. (link broken 2005-04-29) Black-and-white film of the experiment, shot by Milgram. Distributed by The Pennsylvania State University Media Sales
The Milgram Reenactment (, 2002. Colour, Exact reenactment of one condition of the obedience experiment. Created by conceptual UK artist Rod Dickinson

Saturday, July 23, 2005



Thursday, July 21, 2005
According to local Arcata man, Rasta John, the case against him was thrown out of court at the Humboldt County court house on Thursday. He was charged with having cannabis medicine.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

EARLY TARGETS of nazi persecution

The Early Targets

The first concentration camp in Germany opened in Dachau in 1933, at a time when the Nazi government was still consolidating its power. Accordingly, it focused on political prisoners—communists, social democrats, and dissidents who posed a threat to the new regime and were unpopular with most other Germans.

Soon Nazi authorities and the police began to consign members of other groups to the new camps: homosexual men arrested as criminal offenders; Jehovah's Witnesses who refused to obey demands to cease their activities; women accused of prostitution; people labeled "asocial" because they were homeless, begged, or for some other reason did not fit into Nazi society.

In 1936, in preparation for the Olympic Games in Berlin, German police "cleaned up" the city, arresting people deemed inappropriate—prostitutes, street people, petty thieves—and forcing hundreds of Gypsies (Sinti and Roma) into makeshift camps.

All of these early victims were easy targets, people whom other Germans did little or nothing to protect, and whose disappearance from the public scene they often welcomed.

Nazis Increase Power and Targeted Populations

Mass attacks on Nazi targets that included widely respected members of German society did not start until 1938, five years after Hitler was named chancellor. By then Nazis had firm control of all the instruments of state power—the police, courts, laws, civil service, military and press—so they could afford to be less cautious.

The "Euthanasia" Program

During the following year, 1939, Nazi authorities began deadly attacks on one of their major targets: people considered handicapped. Rather than sending them to concentration camps where they would have to be housed and fed along with people who were being held and then sometimes released, disabled people were taken from hospitals and other institutions and sent to designated locations for "special treatment." That "special treatment" was killing. In just a few years, with the cooperation of scores of doctors, social workers, hospital administrators, and others, Nazi officials organized and carried out the murder of at least 70,000 Germans deemed "unfit for life." To the extent possible, the authorities tried to hide these killings from the rest of the population, so that family members would not protest.

All of these early victims were easy targets, people whom other Germans did little or nothing to protect, and whose disappearance from the public scene they often welcomed.

“Do not forget that every people deserves the regime it is willing to endure!”
from the first leaflet of the “White Rose.” The White Rose began distributing anti-government leaflets in mid 1942 protesting against the brutality and evil of the nazi government, and against the extermination of the Jews, which was beginning to become known to more and more people at this time.

the Stanford Prison Experiment

The Stanford Prison Experiment

In the prison-conscious autumn of 1971, when George Jackson was killed at San Quentin and Attica erupted in even more deadly rebellion and retribution, the Stanford Prison Experiment made news in a big way. It offered the world a videotaped demonstration of how ordinary people ­ middle-class college students ­ can do things they would have never believed they were capable of doing. It seemed to say, as Hannah Arendt said of Adolf Eichmann, that normal people can take ghastly actions.

Details of the experiment are well known. They are included in most basic psychology texts and in a public television psychology course, "Discovering Psychology," that Zimbardo wrote and narrates. Movie rights have been optioned, "60 Minutes" has filmed a segment on the experiment, and even a punk rock band in Los Angeles calls itself Stanford Prison Experiment.

In summary:

On Sunday morning, Aug., 17, 1971, nine young men were "arrested" in their homes by Palo Alto police. At least one of those arrested vividly remembers the shock of having his neighbors come out to watch the commotion as TV cameras recorded his hand-cuffing for the nightly news.

The arrestees were among about 70 young men, mostly college students eager to earn $15 a day for two weeks, who volunteered as subjects for an experiment on prison life that had been advertised in the Palo Alto Times. After interviews and a battery of psychological tests, the two dozen judged to be the most normal, average and healthy were selected to participate, assigned randomly either to be guards or prisoners. Those who would be prisoners were booked at a real jail, then blindfolded and driven to campus where they were led into a makeshift prison in the basement of Jordan Hall.

Those assigned to be guards were given uniforms and instructed that they were not to use violence but that their job was to maintain control of the prison.

From the perspective of the researchers, the experiment became exciting on day two when the prisoners staged a revolt. Once the guards had crushed the rebellion, "they steadily increased their coercive aggression tactics, humiliation and dehumanization of the prisoners," Zimbardo recalls. "The staff had to frequently remind the guards to refrain from such tactics," he said, and the worst instances of abuse occurred in the middle of the night when the guards thought the staff was not watching. The guards' treatment of the prisoners ­ such things as forcing them to clean out toilet bowls with their bare hands and act out degrading scenarios, or urging them to become snitches ­ "resulted in extreme stress reactions that forced us to release five prisoners, one a day, prematurely."

Zimbardo's primary reason for conducting the experiment was to focus on the power of roles, rules, symbols, group identity and situational validation of behavior that generally would repulse ordinary individuals. "I had been conducting research for some years on deindividuation, vandalism and dehumanization that illustrated the ease with which ordinary people could be led to engage in anti-social acts by putting them in situations where they felt anonymous, or they could perceive of others in ways that made them less than human, as enemies or objects," Zimbardo told the Toronto symposium in the summer of 1996.

"I wondered, along with my research associates Craig Haney, Curtis Banks and Carlo Prescott, what would happen if we aggregated all of these processes, making some subjects feel deindividuated, others dehumanized within an anonymous environment in the same experimental setting, and where we could carefully document the process over time."

full article on the ineternet at:

Public Servants or SECRET POLICE?!?

One Saturday night, May 21 2005, Arcata police officer Ed Cashman shot James States with a taser stun-gun as he walked away from the officer on the plaza in downtown Arcata.

After public pressure, Arcata police captain Tom Chapman conducted an internal investigation. According to chief of Arcata police Randy Mendosa, the results of the investigation will NOT be disclosed to the public because the investigation into officer conduct is a personel matter.
(see the Arcata Eye, 7/5/05)

Don’t the people of Arcata deserve to know if their tax dollars are paying to commit assault with a deadly weapon against an innocent person?
right in front of everybody?
Is it ok NOT to know?

Sunday, July 17, 2005

letter from tad to Dr. Holschuh

July 14, 2005,
Dr. Jane Holschuh,
Professor of Social Sciences,
Department of BSS,
Humboldt State University,
Arcata, Ca. 95521

Dear Dr. Holschuh,

The elimination of campgrounds in subcommittee is of great concern, not only to the disenfranchised who suffer at the hands of faulty-policy decisions, but also to the entire political, social, economic, judicial and spiritual well-being of our fair town. Sleep is not only a human Right, but also an unavoidable fact of nature. The federal view is that shelter for the homeless should be a permanent and long range goal, even though the wait for most homeless (90%, “Homelessness: Programs and the PeopleThey Serve,” Urban Institute, 1999), does not even begin until the “chronic homeless” (10%) are finally housed - best estimates which are at least ten more years.

Many Arcata residents realize that shelter isurgently needed tonight. Though the costs of housing“chronic homeless,” with supportive services far exceed the cost of housing any other group in our society with the possible exception of prisoner housing, the creation of a chronic homeless bureaucracy promises to provide high-paying prison industry type career fields for HSU's department of BS2 graduates for many years to come. It would be one thing if these jobs were employing the homeless, thus curing the economic realities of some of the 90% of homeless persons, but the homeless are rarely considered even when gregarious grant jobs are being sought. Until you and all other so-called “experts”realize that every person on this planet has the right to life; including the right to sleep, food, shelter, education, job and hygiene opportunities, not just in ten years, but tonight, then the dream of everlasting peace will remain but a fleeting illusion to be pursued but never attained.

Diminishing job opportunities, both in numbers and wages, have directly led to increases in homelessness. As a matter of government policy, both worldwide and locally, homeless are managed rather than employed. The problem with hierarchal management systems is the false belief that there will be perceived value at all levels. Authoritarian dominance over the homeless is not mutually beneficial, in most cases, and leaves little recourse or alternative for those who decide upon their own choices for dealing with their homelessness.

“Chronic homeless” grants, being federally prioritized to communities who make the “Chronic Homeless Initiative's 'continuum of care'” their top priority, create a situation in which desperate homeless become forced by necessity to lie and violate laws in order to get life sustaining needs. To heap both the burden of desperation and guilt upon another human being in order to sway their decisions about their own self-worth and their resulting need for “chronic homeless initiative's 'continuum of care,” is inhumane in and of itself, but when pharmaceutical cures, distributed with the same coercion of basic human needs, are used to “modify” behavior of an economically depressed class, then it becomes a crime against Humanity. We as Americans have denounced the using of food and as in this case sleep, as a lure to dangle before the disenfranchised to entice coerced “solutions” (See Lenin's Soviet and Hitler's Reich). Leaving homeless people with no option to Bush's agenda seems designed for failure at best and a deliberate political stand by HSU, its President, Rollin Richmond, Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences (BS2), its faculty, staff, and student body, especially Dr. Betsy Watson, and yourself.

Any law that excludes sleep is an assault on Human and Civil Rights, and is wrong! There can be no argument that sleep is consistent with healthy physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual wellbeing. To have a law that forbids sleep to those who have no legal alternative is violation of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, a violation of the Eighth Amendment's “cruel and unusual punishment” clause, a violation of Ninth Article's “right to travel” clause, creates mental illness, alienates classes, and interrupts the “ . . . as you would do unto others” rule attributed to “God” in every major religion. Likewise, the right to shelter, along with the right to have life sustaining property to utilize, all fall under the umbrella of the aforementioned protections.

Through your expert guidance we now find the most attainable, economic, and fair accommodation to the afflicted non-chronic homeless, a place to camp, is not only being ignored but is being discouraged by you. Is it a very disconnected vantage from which we view those believed “less” then ourselves that produces a belief that hunger, sleep deprivation, and incessant police harassment will lead to anything other than resistance in the long term.

David Wright, a Michigan State University professor who has researched why scientists cheat, said there are four basic reasons: some sort of mental disorder; foreign nationals who learned somewhat different scientific standards; inadequate mentoring; and, most commonly, tremendous and increasing professional pressure to publish studies (Cases of faked medical research up 50% in last two years, San Francisco Chronicle, July 10, 2005). I am at a complete loss as to why an “expert” homeless surveyor, like yourself, would ignore “conduct[ing] a survey, and assess[ing]the needs and solutions of the homeless community” (City Council Study Session, June 7, 2005, collective memory), while conducting a poll to find out how much hate for the homeless the housed, especially the business, community has. Your polling methods are faulty. With questionable polling procedures, bias questions, and bigoted solicitations, all we can expect is more of the corrupt data your team has already gathered.

The question of legalized camping in the city of Arcata is not a question of money. When ex-mayor Bob Ornelas first came to the city he was homeless and was allowed to sleep. Upon arriving for a second time again the former mayor was allowed to sleep. It has been done and can again be done. As the City is the title holder of over 2000 acres of land finding multiple sites for camps and safe zones would seem elementary to a true governance by the people, for the people. Immediate repeal of the camping ordinance, Arcata Municipal Code 10010, should be recommended as a first step in creating camp/safe zones. With the ordinance repealed effort should then be forthcoming to create zones, which attract campers away from congesting favorite city recreational sites. Many sustainable models should be explored, including but not limited to, resident-directed camps like Dignity Village, Educational camps, faith-based camps, alternative building single-room shelters, open city camps, and maybe even a CoC camp after adequate alternatives for those who choose not to have a case manager have been established.

The community and autonomy resulting from self-governed camps help camp residents better cope and even overcome the harsh realities of homelessness (“The faces of dignity: rethinking the politics of homelessness and poverty in America,” Dr. Susan Finley, QUALITATIVE STUDIES IN EDUCATION, JULY-AUGUST 2003 VOL. 16, NO. 4, 509–531” and “The power of space: constructing a dialog of resistance, transformation, and homelessness,” Susan Finley, Washington State University, Angela Calabrese Barton, Teachers College at Columbia University, QUALITATIVE STUDIES INEDUCATION, JULY-AUGUST 2003, VOL. 16, NO. 4, 483–487). Educational camps could encourage homeless to further their educations and better prepare them to compete for jobs once the economy recovers. Faith-based camps could take advantage of faith-based grants to shelter increased numbers of our homeless, who choose those kinds of environment. The Campus Center for Appropriate Technology (CCAT), once the show piece and major recruiting point of HSU, could work in conjunction with the city and its homeless to create alternative, temporary construction of single-room structures and communal facilities as both domiciles and examples of sustainable technology. Finally open places where those people who fit in no where else can stay is a must if you are not trying to divide even the homeless into their own version of haves and have-nots. Open places could be regularly visited by outreach and social workers and volunteers, to offer services, provide peer counseling and help teach healthy and clean camping. As you should know, creating and maintaining trusting relationships with mentally ill and chronic inebriates is very difficult when outreach can only contact chronic homeless when they surface for life sustaining homeless services or jail.

Many “policies” expected in your forthcoming Arcata Homeless Services Plan will surely drive more of the vulnerable segment of the chronic homeless further underground. Legal camping would save money in Police costs for the city. The City of Arcata hired a “park ranger” out of the wastewater fund. That fund became short and required another clear-cut of our community forest. Just prior to the drastic cuts in social spending, due two the enormous outlays in our defense spending, the City hired a total of two “park rangers” and two bicycle patrol officers to “rid” Arcata of homeless who sleep. These funds would be better spent creating peace from sleep rather than war against the poor.

A place to reach out to these individuals would more than outweigh its costs. I know most of the homeless who have been here for a while. These people for the most part are not counted in the point in time counts. They have learned how to fend for themselves, rarely use services and don't “hang out” on the Plaza. There are chronic homeless among them, but they have been frustrated, belittled, and fooled by the very structure your plan hopes to impose.

As people are allowed to create their own sustainable solutions, the benefits will constantly increase. New solutions and positive social ramifications will come from interaction between the housed segment and those with a newly acquired sense of home. I see new ways of doing things that support who we are in Arcata. Perhaps allowing homeless to grow, preserve and put away their own food; create sustainable, temporary shelter; have more autonomy and self-direction; participate in their community as equals and not servants; reduce the harm caused by being homeless; and create security for the entire community by having food and shelter options in place, in case of a worst-case scenario, will eventually put Costco and Coldwell reality out of business. But if this happens it is because the market demanded it, not because the poor united for mutual survival.

We looked forward to your arrival at HSU with fantasies of an expert on the realities of homelessness. We had envisioned a sharing of expertise between the academia and those actually immersed in the problem. Many researchers studied chimpanzees in laboratory situations, but Jane Goodall went and lived amongst them. Dr. Goodall was able to gain insight into aspects of chimp behavior and society that was previously unknown to the outside researchers. Likewise people living with the homeless, especially those who are the chosen homeless and already know they have the best of time and space, have valuable insight into social intricacies that are not available to researchers only viewing them in professional-client relationships. Many concepts could be presented and many myths could be dispelled by a more corporative relationship between yourself and those who have been directly involved with the homeless issue in this community and surrounding areas for years. You presented yourself to this community of truly homeless experts with an attitude of vast superiority and an apparent agenda. Since you are claiming superior insight into this problem your every move will be closely scrutinized and all its faults and misconceptions will be made public. To you this may be an “experiment,” but to those whom are affected by your actions it is life or death.

An autonomous camp ground is the first step towards alleviating perhaps one of the biggest problems in both homelessness and mental health, the mental illness caused by the social rejection felt by homeless. In order to help anyone we must lift the burdens we can, not heap more upon them. Help lift the burden of illegal sleeping, promote healing, and take a more inclusive consideration of the causes and social failures of homelessness, in your approaches and research. Do the right thing, if only because it's right.

love eternal
Homeless representative
Arcata Homeless Task Force

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Quote from Dr. Virgil Davis, Member of the Homeless Task Force, Arcata Eye June 7th, 2005.

Dr. Virgil Davis
Member of the Homeless Task Force
Arcata Eye June 7th, 2005

“The fundamental problem I see is that the homeless population that we serve in this community has a subset of people that create almost all of the negative impact on our community. This seems to be about 10 percent of the folks that access homeless services in town. They are homeless by choice either as “urban travelers” or “homeless activists” and are capable of working and paying their own way and are often not even homeless...
We’re conflicted because as caring progressively minded people we want to help those in need, we want to feel that what we do maximizes self-sufficiency so we don’t worsen the problem, and we want to set some limits on what we can and will do as a community. Finally we wouldn’t mind if those we help are thankful. On the other hand, we want to
run the 10 percent out of town!”

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

National Lawyer's Guild: KNOW YOUR RIGHTS!!!


NLG National OfficeHelp for people contacted by FBI, help finding criminal lawyers, and help for lawyers and organizers.143 Madison Ave, 4Fl, NY NY 10016212.679.5100,

I. What rights do I have?

Whether or not you're a citizen, you have these constitutional rights:
The Right to Remain Silent. The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives every person the right not to answer questions asked by a police officer or government agent.
The Right to be Free from "Unreasonable Searches and Seizures". The Fourth Amendment is supposed to protect your privacy. Without a warrant, police or government agents may not search your home or office without your consent, and you have the right to refuse to let them in. They can enter and search without a warrant in an emergency. New laws have expanded the government's authority to conduct surveillance. It is possible that your e-mail, cell and other telephone calls, and conversations in your home, office, car or meeting place are being monitored without your knowledge.
The Right to Advocate for Change. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the rights of groups and individuals who advocate changes in laws, government practices, and even the form of government. However, the INS can target non-citizens for deportation because of their First Amendment activities, as long as it could deport them for other reasons.

II. What if the police or FBI contact me?

What if agents come to question me?
YOU DO NOT HAVE TO TALK TO THE POLICE, FBI, INS, OR ANY OTHER LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENT OR INVESTIGATOR. You can't lawfully be arrested for refusing to identify yourself on the street, although this may make the police suspicious, and police and other agents do not always follow the law. If you are driving a vehicle, you must show your license and registration. Otherwise, you do not have to talk to anyone: on the street, at your home or office, if you've been arrested, or even if you're in jail. Only a judge has the legal authority to order you to answer questions.
Do I need a lawyer?
IF YOU ARE CONTACTED, TELL THE AGENT YOU WANT TO TALK TO A LAWYER. Once you say this, they should stop trying to question you and should make any further contact through your lawyer. You have the right to say that you want to talk to a lawyer even if you do not already have one. Remember to get the name, agency, and telephone number of any investigator who calls or visits you, and call the NLG, or a criminal or immigration lawyer, before deciding whether to answer questions. If you do agree to be interviewed, you have the right to have a lawyer present. The government does not have to provide you with a free lawyer unless you are charged with a crime, but the NLG or another organization may be able to find you a lawyer for free or a reduced rate.
If I refuse to answer questions or if I say I want a lawyer, won't it seem like I have something to hide?
TALKING TO THE FBI OR OTHER AGENTS CAN BE DANGEROUS. You can never tell how a seemingly harmless bit of information might be used to hurt you or someone else. That is why the right not to talk is a fundamental right under our Constitution. The FBI is not just trying to find terrorists, but is gathering information on immigrants and activists who have done nothing wrong. And keep in mind that even though they are allowed to and do lie to you, lying to a federal agent is a crime. The safest things to say are "I am going to remain silent", "I want to speak to my lawyer", and "I do not consent to a search."
Can agents search my home, apartment or office?
YOU DO NOT HAVE TO LET POLICE OR OTHER LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENTS INTO YOUR HOME OR OFFICE UNLESS THEY HAVE A SEARCH WARRANT. However, your roommate or guest can legally consent to a search of your house if the police believe that person has the authority to give consent and your employer can consent to a search of your office. Do not try to physically interfere with the police or agents, even if the search is illegal, or you will likely be arrested. Say "I do not consent to a search." Do not answer any questions. Call the NLG or a criminal lawyer.
If agents come to arrest me in my home, can they search my home?
They can search the area near where you are arrested but not your entire house, unless they have a search warrant.
What if I am not at home?
Under the new "USA Patriot Act", under certain circumstances agents may surreptitiously search and not notify you until afterward, perhaps a long time afterward. It is uncertain whether this provision will stand up in light of the Fourth Amendment. If you suspect your home or office has been searched or that you are being surveilled, contact the NLG or a criminal lawyer.
What if they do have a search warrant?
DEMAND TO SEE THE WARRANT. The warrant must tell in detail the places to be searched and the people or things to be seized. If the police have a warrant, you cannot stop them from entering and searching, but you should still tell them that you do not consent to a search. This will limit them to search only where the warrant authorizes. Ask if you are allowed to watch the search and if so, watch and take notes including names, badge numbers, and what agency the officers are from. Have friends act as witnesses. Give this information to your lawyer. If the officers ask you to give them documents, your computer, or anything else, look to see if the item is listed in the warrant. If it is not, do not consent to them taking it without talking to a lawyer. Even if they have a search warrant, you still do not have to answer any questions. Call the NLG for help getting a criminal lawyer.
What if the police stop me on the street?
ASK IF YOU ARE FREE TO GO. If they say yes, walk away. If you are not free to go, you are being detained, but this does not necessarily mean you will be arrested. They are entitled to frisk you. A frisk is a pat down on the outside of your clothing. Do not consent to any further search. But if they continue, or in some other way violate your rights, stay calm and don't physically resist police or agents. You will only be hurt and arrested. Stick to "I don't consent, I want to speak to my lawyer"; get the officer's name, badge number, and agency; and call a lawyer or the NLG at your first opportunity. You do not have to answer questions or give a statement if you are detained or even if you are arrested.
Do I have to give my name?
Legally, you do not have to give your name unless they suspect you of a crime, but refusing to give your name is likely to arouse suspicion. Be aware that police/ agents may be carrying a list of deportable aliens. Giving a false name could be a crime. If you are driving a car, you must show them your license, registration and proof of insurance, but you do not have to consent to a search, although the police may have legal grounds to search your car anyway.
What if the police or FBI threaten me with a grand jury subpoena if I refuse to talk?
A grand jury subpoena is a written order for you to go to court and testify about information you may have. It is common for the FBI to threaten you with a subpoena to get you to talk to them. Don't be intimidated. This is frequently an empty threat, and if they are going to subpoena you, they will do so anyway. Receiving a subpoena to testify before a grand jury doesn't mean that you are suspected of a crime. And you may have legal grounds to stop the subpoena or to refuse to answer questions before the grand jury. If you do receive a subpoena, call the NLG or a criminal lawyer right away.
What if I am treated badly by the police or FBI?
Try to remember the officer's badge number and/or name. You have the right to ask the officer to identify himself. Write down everything as soon as you can and try to find witnesses. If you are injured, see a doctor and take pictures of the injuries as soon as possible. Call the NLG or one of the other organizations listed on the front as soon as possible.

III. What if I am not a citizen and the INS contacts me?

Assert your rights. If you do not demand your rights or if you sign papers waiving your rights, the INS may deport you before you see a lawyer or an immigration judge.
Talk to a lawyer. Always carry with you the name and telephone number of an immigration lawyer and who will take your calls. You must carry your immigration papers such as "green card", I-94, work authorization with you as well. The immigration laws are hard to understand and there have been many changes since September 11. More changes are likely. INS will not explain your options to you. As soon as you encounter an INS agent, call your attorney. If you can’t do it right away, keep trying.
Always talk to an immigration lawyer before leaving the U.S. Even some legal permanent residents and applicants for LPR can be barred from returning.
Based on today's laws, non-citizens usually have the rights below, no matter what your immigration status. However, this information may change, which is why it's important to talk to an immigration lawyer. Also, foreign nationals trying to enter the U.S. at the border or airport do not have all of these same rights.
You usually have the right to talk to a lawyer before answering any questions or signing any papers. You have the right to call an attorney or your family if you are detained, and you have the right to be visited by an attorney in detention. You have the right to have your attorney with you at any hearing before an immigration judge. You do not have the right to a government-appointed attorney, so you must hire one or find someone who will represent you for free. Call the numbers listed on the front for help finding an attorney.
You do not have to answer questions about your immigration status or any other questions. You are better off talking to a lawyer first.
If you are arrested or detained, the INS must decide in 48 hours whether to put you into immigration proceedings and whether to keep you in custody or to release you on bond. However, under new laws, the INS has an "additional reasonable period of time" past 48 hours in the event of "an emergency or other extraordinary circumstance" to decide whether to keep you in custody. Make sure your attorney talks to national immigration rights organizations if the INS is keeping you in detention on the basis of these new laws (see the contact numbers on the front.)
In most cases, you have the right to ask for release from detention by paying a bond, or to ask for a bond hearing before an immigration judge. You have these rights even if you have not been charged by the INS. The law does not say when an immigration judge must hear your case. The judge may order you to stay in detention if he or she finds that you are a danger to society or might try to get away. In some cases, the law says you can't be released if you are charged with terrorism or have certain criminal convictions.
In most cases, you have the right to a hearing before an immigration judge before you can be deported. But if you waive (give up) your rights or take "voluntary departure" (agree to leave), you could be deported without a hearing. If this happens, you may never be able to enter the U.S. legally again or get legal immigration status. If you have criminal convictions, were arrested at the border, or have been ordered deported in the past, you must talk to an attorney about whether you have this right and what other legal alternatives you might have.
If you are a foreign national arrested in the U.S., you have the right to call your consulate or to have the police inform the consulate of your arrest. The police must allow your consul to visit or speak with you. Your consul might assist you in finding a lawyer or offer other help, such as contacting your family. You also have the right to refuse help from your consulate.

IV. What are my rights at airports?

You gave airport personnel permission to scan you and your bags by buying a ticket and going to the airport. They can do additional random searches of persons and property regardless of whether the initial scan turns up anything suspicious. If the scan does disclose something that might be a weapon, the law is unclear whether you have the right to leave the airport rather than being searched. The airplane pilot can refuse to fly a passenger if he or she believes the passenger is a threat to the safety of the flight. And if you are entering the country, the U.S. Customs Service has the right to stop and search every person and item. But you should not be barred from flying or subjected to special searches or harassment on the basis of your race, sex, religion, national origin, or political beliefs. If you believe this is the case, call one of the organizations on the front.

V. What if I am under 18?

Do I have to answer questions?
No. Minors too have the right to remain silent. You do not have to talk to the police, probation officers, or school officials.
What if I am detained?
If you are detained at a community detention facility or Juvenile Hall, you normally must be released to a parent or guardian. If charges are filed against you, you have the right to have a lawyer appointed to represent you at no cost.
Do I have rights at school?
Public school students have the First Amendment right to politically organize at school by passing out leaflets, holding meetings, publishing independent newspapers, etc., just so long as those activities do not disrupt classes. Students can be suspended or expelled from school only if they violate the law or disrupt school activities. You have the right to a hearing, with your parents and an attorney present, before being suspended or expelled.
Students can have their backpacks and lockers searched by school officials without a warrant, if they suspect that you are involved in criminal activity or carrying drugs or weapons. Do not consent to the police or school officials searching your property, but do not physically resist or you may face criminal charges. Students can be stopped and questioned by school officials at school, for example if you are not in class. However, they should not stop and question you for engaging in political activity or because of your ethnicity or religion. If you think your rights have been violated, call one of the organizations on the front.
This pamphlet was produced by the National Lawyers Guild, which is solely responsible for its content. Nothing herein is intended to interfere with any legitimate law enforcement investigation.
The National Lawyers Guild is a 65 year old membership organization of progressive lawyers, law students, legal workers and jailhouse lawyers fighting for social justice. Donations for printing this pamphlet and to help those targeted in the wake of 9-11 can be made out to NLG, earmarked "Post-911 Project", and sent to NLG, 126 University Place, 5th fl., New York, NY 10003.
Revised January 8, 2002