One of the most puzzling mysteries of the MCU is why Hawkeye and Ant-Man aren't behind bars. They were committed to the Raft alongside the rest of Steve Rogers's allies in Captain America: Civil War; when Rogers broke them out, though, both chose to return to their homes. The trailer for Ant-Man & the Wasp showed the consequences, with Scott Lang placed under house-arrest. Given the Avengers: Infinity War Prelude comic, it seems likely Clint Barton has suffered a similar fate.
But why is this the limit of Clint and Scott's punishment? They broke out of one of the world's most secure prisons, a jail designed to house "enhanced" beings. In Scott's case, he's also an ex-con. House arrest doesn't quite seem to fit the magnitude of their "crimes."
Surprisingly, the answer may have just been provided by Jessica Jones Season 2.
"Enhanced" People Don't Have Rights
Jessica Jones Season 2 is the first Marvel Netflix show to be set after the events of Civil War, and it shines a troubling light on the rights of "enhanced" people in the MCU. Simply put; they don't have any. Dangerous "enhanced" individuals can be arrested without trial, and can actually be sent to the Raft without trial too. The Raft is situated in international waters, meaning prisoners there aren't subject to any nation's laws. They have no visiting rights, and only an hour out of isolation every day. The only possible real-world parallel is, as Jessica rightly notes, Guantanamo Bay.
Both Jessica and Jeri Hogarth refer to the Raft, and the NYPD clearly know the procedure to send prisoners there. In the wake of Steve Rogers's mass breakout, the world powers evidently chose to go public about the prison. No doubt the parallels between the Raft and Guantanamo Bay will have continued, with human rights advocates opposing this extreme solution. Still, as far as the world's governments are concerned, the Sokovia Accords have stripped "enhanced" people of those rights; they aren't considered "human" any more. Named signatories to the Sokovia Accords, such as Tony Stark and James Rhodes, likely choose to waive their rights and allow themselves to be considered subject to this process.
But here's the catch; neither Ant-Man nor Hawkeye are actually "enhanced" humans in the first place. What's more, neither are officially members of the Avengers either. Scott Lang is an ex-con who got his hands on advanced tech, and Hawkeye is simply another ex-S.H.I.E.L.D. agent - albeit one with a bow and arrow. They should never have been sent to the Raft anyway.
The Legal Problems Raised By Hawkeye And Ant-Man
That actually causes a major international problem. Both Hawkeye and Ant-Man were wrongfully imprisoned in the Raft. They were imprisoned without trial, and their human rights were stripped from them in a breach of international law. Worse still, both Scott and Clint are American citizens, and they were actually arrested in Germany. That turns this into a diplomatic nightmare. It could be effectively managed while the two sat in the Raft; for one thing, the fact their lawyers couldn't visit would presumably mean they had no advocates. Upon their return to American soil, though, the situation would become even more awkward for the UN.
The reality is that Scott Lang probably wouldn't know to take advantage of this. But Hawkeye is a smart agent, one of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s best and brightest, and it's likely he'd either spot the problems - or have access to lawyers who would do so. What's more, the Raft going public would complicate matters still further for the UN; Clint and Scott could easily become symbols, proving that this new system allowed human rights violations on a global scale.
So a compromise seems to have been reached. Both have been allowed to return to their families. In Scott's case, he's under house arrest, his every move monitored. The same is likely true for Clint. But still, at least neither of them have been sent back to the Raft.
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019