Equal Protection - On July 6, 2017, the ACLU of Utah, the law firm of Latham & Watkins, and the ACLU Disability Rights Program filed a lawsuit demanding a right to counsel for anyone who is to be put under guardianship. The lawsuit also challenges a 2016 Utah law, H.B. 101, that lowered legal counsel requirements for people with disabilities who are involved in guardianship disputes.
The ACLU of Utah, along with the ACLU of Northern California and the ACLU of Hawai’i, has filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) demanding government documents related to the chaotic on-the-ground implementation of President Trump’s executive orders related to foreign travel from multiple majority-Muslim nations.
Participatory Democracy, Equal Protection, Racial Justice - On February 25, 2016, The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee), DLA Piper, LLP, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah (ACLU of Utah) filed a lawsuit against San Juan County, Utah. The lawsuit, on behalf of the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission, and seven members of the Navajo Nation, challenges the County’s decision to switch to a mail-only voting system, and designating the only location for in-person voting, that adversely impacts Navajo voters. On September 9, 2017, U.S. District Court Judge Jill Parrish issued a decision allowing the lawsuit to proceed to a trial on the merits of the plaintiffs’ claims that San Juan County is not providing effective language assistance to Navajo-speaking voters and is providing unequal voting opportunities to Navajo voters.
Racial Justice, Criminal Justice - The ACLU of Utah, along with cooperating attorney Randall Richards of Richards & Brown, P.C., filed a class action petition under Utah’s Post Conviction Remedies Act, requesting that the state court vacate all convictions of individuals charged with violating the so-called Ogden gang injunction in light of the Utah Supreme Court’s 2013 decision dissolving that injunction. A separate petition on behalf of an individual petitioner twice convicted of violating the injunction has also been filed.
Prison/Jail - The ACLU of Utah filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of a group of prisoners at the Utah State Prison. The case involves an incident in August 2011 in which corrections officers released a tear gas canister in the Olympus wing of the Utah State Prison to subdue a single prisoner. The tear gas entered the air ventilation system and seeped into cells that have no windows or bars, affecting about 150 inmates. The inmates were left to breathe the noxious gas for about 20 minutes, and many feared for their lives. The Olympus wing is the mental health wing of the prison; it also houses prisoners with severe medical conditions.