Boalt’s Harry Scheiber came to the aid of journalists exploring the murky legal situation surrounding law enforcement in New Orleans and across the Gulf Coast region following Hurricane Katrina. Scheiber appeared twice on CNN and was quoted in the new legal affairs website, Justice, explaining the difference between a state of emergency-declared in the city and other areas in Katrina’s wake – and martial law, which, though the subject of repeated rumors, has not been declared in the disaster zone.
The states of emergency in effect in the hurricane region “involves the suspension of a lot of the normal rules of procedure for law enforcement authorities,” Scheiber told CNN host Nancy Grace. “Martial law is different in the sense that civilian authority is given over to the military.”
Scheiber, Boalt’s Stefan A. Riesenfeld Professor of Law and History and president of the American Society of Legal History, is at work on a book about the imposition of martial law in Hawaii during World War II. Based on records from the U.S. Army, Department of Justice, Hawaii’s territorial government and the personal papers of military and civilian officials, Scheiber said the work will be “the most complete study of martial law in U.S. history.” Scheiber is writing the book with his wife, Jane L. Scheiber, an assistant dean in UC Berkeley’s College of Chemistry.