The Brattleboro, VT indictment resolution: Why is it legal nonsense?

On Tuesday March 4 voters in Brattleboro, VT will vote on a non-binding resolution calling for the following:

"Shall the Selectboard instruct the Town Attorney to draft indictments against President Bush and Vice President Cheney for crimes against our Constitution, and publish said indictment for consideration by other municipalities? And shall it be the law of the Town of Brattleboro that the Brattleboro Police, pursuant to the above-mentioned indictments, arrest and detain George Bush and Richard Cheney in Brattleboro if they are not duly impeached, and extradite them to other authorities that may reasonably contend to prosecute them."

According to the organizers the resolution a largely symbolic gesture. One organizer wrote, "it was born simply out of the devastating realization that our Constitution and entire system of government were -- and still are -- under assault, and that such extraordinary circumstances sometimes call for extraordinary measures." Now organizers claim the initiative now has real legal teeth. How legal is it?

Read below the fold.

Organizers claim the resolution, although symbolic, can have legal teeth provided it's taken to the next level. The organizers I know are seeking legal help from Francis Boyle and Connecticut Green Party candidate Harold Burbank. Here's their legal argument:

" Under a legal provision known as "Common Law Application," municipalities have indisputable legal standing to apply laws against any alleged criminal who violates Federal law -- which encompasses violating treaties, being party to war crimes, or engaging in any other criminal activities. We have also been assured that the language in the resolution is well suited for implementing this provision.

In short, we have the legal justification to call for a legal remedy, because the government cannot nullify the rights invested in its citizens to invoke Federal or international criminal law. Put another way, any town has the right to pass laws to address war crimes, or any other Federal crimes, and to indict the people alleged to have committed them."

I have a hard time believing anything Francis Boyle advocates for and I've never heard of Harold Burbank until now. The fact he's a Green Party candidate for Congress doesn't help either. But the question I have to all of you is this:

How much legal standing does this resolution have as organizers have put forth?

For any of you with extensive legal background, I'd like to hear what you have to say. I don't think George W. Bush and Dick Cheney will ever be brought up on war crime charges. However, I'd like to see citizen activists efforts somewhere somehow make an impact. How else should we go about doing this? How can we still hold them accountable for assaulting our Constitution and system of government?

Let's hear it.

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