In determining whether or not to classify a country as a democracy, I have humbly submitted that one indicator would be denial of habeas corpus to people. Meaning, if a state in rules, processes and obvious actions denies people the Great Writ, then that state is ejected from the democratic core. I have other indicators, see here. This post briefly explores how the U.S. does deny people habeas corpus, even though institutions have condemned such behavior-laws.
(1) Denial of habeas corpus: Habeas corpus generally means that a person being held against their will has the right to know why they are being held, and then they are charged and tried, or, released. Denial of habeas corpus is usually attributed to governmental authority, since people cannot falsely imprison other people without being charged with a crime against society by local police. Indeed, the American Constitution permits suspension of that writ only “in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion” (Article I, Section 9). In Boumediene v. Bush (2008), the Supreme Court said that “Petitioners are therefore entitled to the habeas privilege, and if that privilege is to be denied them, Congress must act in accordance with the Suspension Clause’s requirements” (Syllabus, 4). Yet cases observing the denial of habeas corpus are ongoing in the United States in 2012. See here and here if you like news. Political scientists may appreciate the research: see here and here.