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The ACLU of Utah Activist

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YES ON SIX: David's Story

06 June 2016 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
After spending just one year as the sole public defender in a rural Utah county, David Van Dyke did not renew his contract.

Mentally ill prisoners need treatment. Not tear gas.

18 May 2016 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
It is becoming more and more common to hear the sentiment, “People with mental illness need treatment, not jail time,” from policy makers, correctional administrators, legislators and even members of the general public.

Voter Access in San Juan County: Why It Matters So Much

03 May 2016 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
In rural areas of Utah, serious voter disenfranchisement is happening - decades after the original Voting Rights Act meant to end such discrimination.

YES ON SIX: Harry's Story

02 May 2016 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
“That looks like the guy who robbed me.” Those are the eight words that sent Harry Miller to prison for a crime he didn’t commit.

Why Race Matters: An Interview with Nubia Peña

19 April 2016 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
This article was first published in the Liberty Reporter: 2016 Spring Newsletter >> Nubia Peña is Program Coordinator for Racially Just Utah. Nubia will graduate from S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah in May 2016. She is also the founder and president of the Social Justice Student Initiative at the College of Law.  Formed from a series of discussions on racial issues, Racially Just Utah (RJU) has developed into a racially and ethnically diverse coalition with a mission to positively and proactively ensure racial equity in Utah. RJU is composed of organizations, service providers, students, parents, educators, attorneys, advocates, activists, and concerned community members. ACLU of Utah is proud to be a founding and supporting member.  Can you highlight what RJU accomplished in the past year? RJU partnered with the ACLU and Salt Lake Peer Court during the National Week of Action Against School Push-Out where we hosted a school-to-prison pipeline (STPP) awareness event for youth, educators, and parents. We also partnered to coordinate the 2nd Annual Youth Activism Leadership Conference where teens ages 12-18 attended workshops facilitated by longstanding and new upcoming leaders in our community.  RJU hosted our first annual “Breaking The Pipeline” Symposium at…

The Director’s Chair: We have begun a time of transition at the ACLU of Utah

19 April 2016 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
This article was first published in the Liberty Reporter: 2016 Spring Newsletter >> As we move into spring, we have begun a time of transition at the ACLU of Utah. I will be retiring this summer in order to have more time with my family. The board has begun the search process for a new Executive Director. This transition occurs at a time when we are a vibrant and effective organization with a strong board and a talented staff.  We have a terrific group of members, supporters and community partners across our state. The ACLU of Utah is on solid footing for the future. It’s a reminder that the good work we are able to do is a result of the efforts of many  I’ve felt deeply privileged to work with the ACLU both here in Utah and across the country. I have been encouraged and inspired by the depth of thoughtfulness, knowledge and strategic thinking that characterizes the ACLU.  The ACLU builds upon nearly 60 years of courageous and ambitious work in Utah and nearly 100  years nationally as it continues to serve as the ”Guardian of Liberty”. Each of you is an essential component in keeping us a…

Fighting for You: the 2016 Board of Directors

19 April 2016 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
This article was first published in the Liberty Reporter: 2016 Spring Newsletter >> Rear L - R: Cathleen Power, Barry Gomberg, Rachel Heller, Michael Weinholtz, Danielle Hawkes. Front L - R: Bill Orchow, Heidi Chamorro, Erin Castro, Forrest Crawford, Marian Edmonds-Allen, Russell Fericks, Clemens Landau, and Karen McCreary. Not pictured: Chase Clyde, Gina Cornia, Roderic Land.

YES ON SIX: Sue's Story

18 April 2016 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
While the state puts together an Indigent Defense Commission that will take at least a few years to take action, real people like Sue McAley are suffering NOW because of Utah's failing public defender system.

The President’s Corner: Michael Weinholtz

15 April 2016 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
This article was first published in the Liberty Reporter: 2016 Spring Newsletter >> Dear ACLU of Utah supporters: Greetings! My name is Michael Weinholtz and I am honored to serve as the board president of the ACLU of Utah. I assumed this role in January, after serving on the board of directors for two years. I am the former CEO and current Chairman of CHG Healthcare Services. CHG is the largest physician-staffing company in the United States, but is equally known as a business that focuses on making a positive difference in the world through community service, medical missions, and philanthropy. My family and I moved to Salt Lake City for this business opportunity with CHG nearly 20 years ago; and we have fondly called Utah home ever since. My wife, Donna, and I are long-time members of the ACLU and committed advocates for civil rights and liberties.  As someone who has led teams and organizations for over 30 years, I have been extremely impressed and inspired by the job that Karen McCreary, our executive director, has done in building an outstanding staff and affiliate. Over the last ten years, Karen has raised the profile of the ACLU of Utah…

The Many Trials of Darryl Hunt Are Over

14 April 2016 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
Darryl Hunt spent nearly two decades in prison for a crime he did not commit. He had spent half his life in prison before he was exonerated.

Utah Legislature Says: "Meh" On Six

21 March 2016 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
To put it mildly, as we assess the 2016 Legislative Session in light of Utah’s now-well-documented public defense crisis, we are not impressed.

Take action one more time to finally end the death penalty in Utah

09 March 2016 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
It's been a hard fight, but death penalty repeal is making progress in the Utah legislature! We have one last chance to keep the momentum building and abolish the death penalty in Utah.

Into the Home Stretch: Final Week of Legislative Session

08 March 2016 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
To power us all through the final week of the Legislative Session, here are some tidbits of GOOD news for our allies, supporters and friends: great bills that have been moving!

Week Six: Cue the Attacks on Reproductive Freedom

27 February 2016 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
With just two weeks left in the 2016 Legislative Session, the attacks on reproductive freedom are finally popping up all over Capitol Hill - just as predictable as the spring blooms popping up outside!

TAKE ACTION: Contact your senator to vote yes on SB189. Let’s end the death penalty in Utah now!

24 February 2016 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
If you oppose the use of capitol punishment in Utah, now is the time to take action!

TAKE ACTION: Time to End the Death Penalty In Utah!

23 February 2016 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
TAKE ACTION: The death penalty is expensive, ineffective and unconstitutional. It's time for REPEAL.

LGBT Equality Issues at the Capitol (2016 Edition)

22 February 2016 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
Grabbing the most headlines last week was the LDS Church’s statement on SB107, which suggested that the hate crimes law update would “alter the balance” achieved in last year’s anti-discrimination legislation. 

Quick Primer on Body Cam Legislation at the Capitol

17 February 2016 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
Community activists and advocates have been asking a lot about the TWO bills related to police body-mounted cameras, both being considered by the legislature during this 2016 session: Rep. Dan McCay’s HB300 and Sen. Dan Thatcher’s SB94.

FAQs on Civil Asset Forfeiture

16 February 2016 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
"Civil Asset Forfeiture" - it's a not-very-sexy name for a VERY important issue!

Indigent Defense: The Bill Is Now Public...and It's Not Enough

12 February 2016 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
Last week, Senator Todd Weiler's legislation to address Utah's indigent defense crisis finally became public. SB155, "Indigent Defense Commission," is not a bad bill...but it's nowhere near robust enough to address the fact that every day, Utahns appearing in district and justice courts throughout the state, are being deprived of their Sixth Amendment right to legal counsel.