Pardon all the Nazi stuff recently, I really couldn’t tell you why I am suddenly thinking about it so often (could be reading Hannah Arendt’s fantastic Eichmann in Jerusalem, I guess). Here’s a nice bit for your consideration, the devil, as always, in the details:
The Gestapo had the authority to arrest citizens on the suspicion that they might commit a crime, and the definition of a crime was at their discretion. The Gestapo Law, passed in 1936, gave police the right to act extra-legally. This led to the sweeping use of Schutzhaft—”protective custody”, a euphemism for the power to imprison people without judicial proceedings. The courts were not allowed to investigate or interfere. The Gestapo was considered to be acting legally as long as it was carrying out the leadership’s will. People were arrested arbitrarily, sent to concentration camps, or killed.