DeCecco highlights fear on Constitution Day


Luke Ulatowski, Digital Media Manager

Lakeland’s 11th Constitution Day convocation saw Sheboygan County District Attorney Joe DeCecco’s return to the stage.

The event took place on Friday, Sept. 16 at 11:15 a.m. in the Bradley Theatre. DeCecco’s lecture, titled “The Constitution’s Greatest Enemy: Fear,” highlighted moments in history in which DeCecco believes the government went against the constitution out of paranoia.

DeCecco first highlighted the passing of the Alien and Sedition acts, which heightened the residency requirement for American citizenship and allowed the president to imprison aliens thought to be a danger. One of the acts, the Alien Enemies Act, continues to exist and allowed President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to send Japanese Americans to internment camps during World War II.

DeCecco pointed to the power given to the Supreme Court by the Judiciary Act of 1801, which allowed them to decide whether or not a law was constitutional, theoretically rendering the constitution’s own words moot.

Closing in on the present day, DeCecco once again brought up the Patriot Act, which he fiercely criticized at 2015’s Constitution Day convocation. He focused on the act’s approval of covert entry, which allows police to secretly enter and search the homes of suspects.

“The rationale for [covert entry] was that ‘Hey, we don’t want terrorists to know what we’re doing,’” DeCecco said. “Well, we don’t want criminals to know what we’re doing. That doesn’t mean we violate the fourth amendment. That doesn’t mean we don’t comply with getting a warrant and serving it. We do this all the time. What’s so difficult about doing it here?”

Due to conflicting class schedules, the lecture was sparsely attended, cutting the question and answer portion of the event short.

DeCecco is not running for reelection as District Attorney. It is unknown if he will return to Lakeland for 2017’s Constitution Day convocation.

For more information about future convocations, check the Weekly Outlook on The Mirror website or the calendar on Lakeland Today.