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Protecting the Bill of Rights in Utah since 1958

Resolved Cases

You may find all of the resolved cases in specific issue fields by visiting our Utah Issues pages

Larson v. Provo School District (1999)

09 July 1999 Published in Resolved Cases
Religion & Belief - After a successful career as a correctional officer, Charles Larson decided he wanted to help young people, so he went back to school and became a public school teacher. In his spare time, he pursued scholarly religious studies from his traditional Christian perspective. Shortly after publishing a scholarly exegesis of the Book of Abraham, considered by LDS Church faithful to be ancient scripture, Larson was terminated from his teaching position in the Provo School District, ostensibly as part of a reduction in force.

Valdez v. McPheters (1998)

10 April 1999 Published in Resolved Cases
Police Practices - In December 1993, FBI Agent Samuel McPheters and BIA Agent Greg Littlewhiteman entered and searched the home of Rosanna Valdez in search of her adult son. Although he had not lived with her for over 10 years and the officers had no search warrant, the officers searched Valdez’s home not once, but twice, in an unsuccessful attempt to locate her son. In 1994, the ACLU of Utah and cooperating attorney Loren Weiss filed a complaint on behalf of Valdez arguing that during both searches, she was unreasonably seized (arrested) and subjected to an illegal custodial interrogation.

Roe v. Utah County (1999)

09 March 1999 Published in Resolved Cases
Privacy & Technology - After receiving a complaint from a local citizen, the Utah County Attorney and the Utah County Sheriff obtained a warrant allowing them to enter and search the Movie Buffs stores in Lehi and American Fork. During the course of the searches, the Sheriff’s department confiscated not only hundreds of videos they believed to be pornographic, but also lists of individuals who had rented those videos.

Slevin v. Salt Lake County Fair (1998)

10 January 1999 Published in Resolved Cases
Free Expression and Participatory Democracy - In fall 1998, John Slevin and John Guido sought to circulate petitions at the Salt Lake County Fair in Murray. While County Fair officials originally granted permission to circulate the petitions, they then arbitrarily revoked their permission and had the plaintiffs arrested on criminal trespass charges. The criminal trespass charges were later dropped, and the ACLU of Utah and cooperating attorney Brian Barnard filed a civil rights lawsuit on the petitioners’ behalf. Rather than pursue pointless litigation over a clear civil rights violation, the County opted to settle.

Crank v. Utah Judicial Council (1998)

10 December 1998 Published in Resolved Cases
Racial Justice, Participatory Democracy - For the better part of this century, Native Americans have been excluded from jury service in San Juan County, Utah. Few Native Americans appeared on jury lists, and it was not until the mid-1970’s that an Indian juror actually served on a trial jury, even though Native Americans constitute over 50% of that county’s population. This shameful situation was addressed in a 1993 lawsuit brought by Eric Swenson. The ACLU of Utah later joined Swenson in this lawsuit.

Weaver v. Nebo School District (1998)

10 November 1998 Published in Resolved Cases
LGBTQ Equality and Free Expression - In November 1998, U.S. District Judge Bruce Jenkins ruled favorably on our case, Weaver v. Nebo School District. The ACLU of Utah filed the complaint in 1997 on behalf of Wendy Weaver, a long-term teacher at Spanish Fork High School in Utah County. The complaint argued that school officials had violated Weaver’s First Amendment rights when they made her sign a gag order prohibiting her from talking about her sexual orientation in or outside of the classroom.

Allred v. Solaray (1998)

10 July 1998 Published in Resolved Cases
Privacy & Technology, Equal Protection - In late 1994, Wallace Kim Allred was placed on leave of absence from his job at Solaray after he tested positive for cannabinoids in a random drug test. Allred immediately provided Solaray with documentation indicating that he was taking Marinol, a cannabinoid derivative, as prescribed by his physician, and that he was experiencing no side effects. Solaray demanded that Allred reveal why he was taking Marinol. When Allred admitted he was living with AIDS, the company told him he would not be allowed to have direct contact with their product and that he would have to turn over all his medical records to the company.

Laughter v. Kay (1998)

10 July 1998 Published in Resolved Cases
Police Practices, Prison/Jails - Stana Laughter and her 3-year-old son went to visit her husband at the Central Utah Correctional Facility. Her car was searched at the front gate and an officer searched Laughter’s purse and other belongings. Laughter then parked her car and walked to the building for her standard visitation. Then another officer told her he had a search warrant authorizing a full body search of her and her son. Her car and personal belongings were again searched with the aid of a dog, and Laughter was then accompanied to a hospital where an ER doctor conducted an intrusive body cavity search.

NLS v. Jones (1997)

10 September 1997 Published in Resolved Cases
Prison/Jails - In May 1997, the ACLU of Utah and the Disability Law Center filed a lawsuit on behalf of Utah State Prison inmate NLS. NLS had a long and well-documented history of mental illness, including numerous suicide attempts and incidents of self-mutilation. During his incarceration at the Utah State Prison, NLS was taken off all medications intended to treat his mental illness and shackled with metal restraints to a stainless steel board in a spread-eagle position for over twelve weeks.

Jane L. v. Bangerter (1991)

10 July 1997 Published in Resolved Cases
Reproductive Rights - The long battle over Utah’s 1991 anti-abortion law finally ended in 1997 when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case, thus upholding a 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that deemed the law unconstitutional.

Bennett v. Utah County (1997)

01 July 1997 Published in Resolved Cases
Jail Conditions - In 1996, inmates at the Utah County Jail were experiencing a variety of problems due to overcrowded conditions. After the ACLU of Utah filed a suit on their behalf, Judge J. Thomas Greene issued a 1997 consent decree in which Utah County agreed to ensure that the number of inmates does not exceed the legal limit.

State of Utah v. Simmons and State of Utah v. Gardner Death (1997)

30 June 1997 Published in Resolved Cases
Death Penalty - In late 1995, the ACLU of Utah filed Amicus Briefs regarding a 1974 Utah law which stated that a prison inmate could be charged with a capital offense if he or she committed an assault while incarcerated for a first degree felony. In a 1997 decision, the Utah Supreme Court ruled the law unconstitutional.  

Silvermans v. State of Utah (1997)

11 February 1997 Published in Resolved Cases
Racial Justice, Religion & Belief - In February 1997, the ACLU of Utah settled a case filed on behalf of William and Nancy Silverman, a Jewish couple who had worked as janitors at the Utah State Capitol for seven years. The case alleged that at the Capitol, the Silvermans had been subjected to racial and religious slurs from other employees, and to anti-Jewish graffiti.

Jolley v. Utah State Senate (1997)

10 February 1997 Published in Resolved Cases
Participatory Democracy - During the 1996 legislative session, twenty-five Utah State Senators met in an illegal, secret meeting. The ACLU of Utah immediately responded by filing a lawsuit against the Senate, and in February 1997, the case was settled when senators acknowledged they had violated the state Open and Public Meetings Act.