Logo RGB Utah copy

Protecting the Bill of Rights in Utah since 1958

Newsroom

In The Media 

Follow the links below to view ACLU of Utah press releases.

National Immigration Law Center, ACLU, and ACLU of Utah in Court Friday to Challenge Utah's “Papers Please” Law

15 February 2012 Published in Newsroom
National Immigration Law Center, ACLU, and ACLU of Utah in Court Friday to Challenge Utah's "Papers Please" Law   Read the Press Release (PDF) >>

Duchesne County Attorney Should Independently Investigate Use of Excessive Force Against Haka Dancers, Says ACLU

05 December 2011 Published in Newsroom
Duchesne County Attorney Should Independently Investigate Use of Excessive Force Against Haka Dancers, Says ACLU   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 5, 2011 Salt Lake City - The ACLU of Utah (“the ACLU”) called upon the Duchesne County Attorney to conduct an independent investigation into a recent claim of excessive force by the Roosevelt Police Department (RPD). This claim arose from an interaction between the RPD and a group of football fans, who were performing a Polynesian victory dance known as the “Haka,” in the stands during an October 20 game between Roosevelt and Uintah High Schools. On November 2, the Roosevelt Police Department completed an investigation into the incident, which completely absolved the officers involved in the October 20 situation of any wrongdoing. “The Roosevelt Police Department’s report is troubling in a number of respects,” said Joe Cohn, Interim Legal Director of the ACLU of Utah. “Most importantly, it completely ignores the many accounts and statements provided by witnesses and victims, as well as the video recording of the incident, as if these pieces of evidence were not provided at all. In fact, the report relies almost exclusively on the accounts of the two officers involved, which must be considered…

ACLU Of Utah Responds To Use Of Pepper Spray And Batons To Break Up Haka Dancers At Roosevelt High School Football Game

04 December 2011 Published in Newsroom
The ACLU of Utah (“the ACLU”) called upon the Duchesne County Attorney to conduct an independent investigation into a recent claim of excessive force by the Roosevelt Police Department (RPD). This claim arose from an interaction between the RPD and a group of football fans, who were performing a Polynesian victory dance known as the “Haka,” in the stands during an October 20 game between Roosevelt and Uintah High Schools. On November 2, the Roosevelt Police Department completed an investigation into the incident, which completely absolved the officers involved in the October 20 situation of any wrongdoing. “The Roosevelt Police Department’s report is troubling in a number of respects,” said Joe Cohn, Interim Legal Director of the ACLU of Utah. “Most importantly, it completely ignores the many accounts and statements provided by witnesses and victims, as well as the video recording of the incident, as if these pieces of evidence were not provided at all. In fact, the report relies almost exclusively on the accounts of the two officers involved, which must be considered necessarily self-serving, despite the existence of competing evidence.” According to the report, the officers claimed that they were compelled to use force because the fans who…

Utah’s “Show Me Your Papers” Law Hearing Postponed; U.S. Department of Justice May Intervene

13 September 2011 Published in Newsroom
Utah’s “Show Me Your Papers” Law Hearing Postponed; U.S. Department of Justice May Intervene   Court’s Temporary Restraining Order Blocking Utah’s Anti-Immigrant Law Will Remain In Effect FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 13, 2011 SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The federal district court today granted a request by the Utah Attorney General’s Office to delay a hearing regarding the state’s anti-immigrant law. Utah requested the delay because of possible future involvement by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in the lawsuit. DOJ has not filed a lawsuit against Utah’s law, but has done so with similar anti-immigrant laws in Arizona and Alabama. The hearing on Utah’s law, HB 497, was originally set for Friday but has been rescheduled for Nov. 18. Cecillia Wang, director of the American Civil Liberties Union Immigrants’ Rights Project, said: “It’s welcome news that the United States is taking a hard look at Utah’s ‘show me your papers’ law and we hope the federal government will bring suit here, as it has in Arizona and Alabama. Extremist measures that trample on our basic civil liberties have no place in America.” Karen McCreary, executive director of the ACLU of Utah, said: “We have received calls of support from…

ACLU of Utah Issues Report Detailing Chronic Underfunding, Other Systemic Failures in Public Defender Services

24 August 2011 Published in Newsroom
For Immediate Release August 24, 2011 SALT LAKE CITY—The State of Utah fails to protect the constitutional rights of people accused of crimes who cannot afford their own lawyers, according to a report issued today by the ACLU of Utah. The comprehensive 95-page report, “Failing Gideon: Utah’s Flawed County-By-County Public Defender System,” documents the state’s and counties’ chronic failures to fund or oversee trial-level public defender services in Utah. “In what is essentially an unfunded mandate, the State of Utah has delegated to its various counties and cities the full financial and administrative cost of providing constitutionally adequate public defender services to impoverished Utahns who are accused of crime,” said ACLU of Utah Executive Director Karen McCreary. “The result is a patchwork of underfunded, under-resourced, and under-managed county systems that systematically deprive accused defendants of their right to an attorney.” The United States Supreme Count recognized the constitutional right to counsel in Gideon v. Wainright (1963). In Gideon, the Court held that whenever a person is accused of a state crime for which jail time might be imposed and that person cannot afford an attorney, the state is obligated to appoint and pay for an attorney who can provide an…

ACLU of Utah Sues Salt Lake County and Sheriff Winder Over Unlawful Detention of College Student

05 August 2011 Published in Newsroom
Earlier today, the ACLU of Utah and cooperating attorney B. Kent Morgan of The Dyer Law Group filed a complaint in federal district court alleging that Salt Lake County Sheriff James Winder and his officers unjustifiably and illegally imprisoned 22-year-old Enrique Uroza at the Salt Lake County Metro Jail (Metro) for 39 days after Mr. Uroza had posted court-ordered bail.

ACLU Seeks Details on Government Mobile Phone Tracking in Massive Nationwide Information Request

03 August 2011 Published in Newsroom
In a massive coordinated information-seeking campaign, 34 American Civil Liberties Union affiliates across the nation today are sending 379 requests to local law enforcement agencies large and small demanding to know when, why and how they are using cellphone location data to track Americans. The requests, being filed under the states' freedom of information laws, are an effort to strip away the secrecy that has surrounded law enforcement use of cellphone tracking capabilities.

ACLU of Utah Seeks Details on Government Cell Phone Tracking

03 August 2011 Published in Newsroom
ACLU of Utah Seeks Details on Government Cell Phone Tracking Today the ACLU of Utah sent GRAMA requests to six Utah law enforcement agencies seeking information showing when, why, and how law enforcement is using cell phone location data to track Americans. The ACLU of Utah’s requests are part of a massive effort by 34 ACLU affiliates nationwide to collect information from more than 379 state and local law enforcement agencies in an effort to strip away the secrecy that has surrounded law enforcement’s use of cell phone tracking capabilities. “The ability to access cell phone location data is an incredibly powerful tool and its use is shrouded in secrecy. The public has a right to know how and under what circumstances their location information is being accessed by the government,” said Catherine Crump, staff attorney for the ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project. “A detailed history of someone's movements is extremely personal and is the kind of information the Constitution protects.” ACLU of Utah Executive Director Karen McCreary added, “The Fourth Amendment requires that law enforcement demonstrate probable cause and obtain a warrant before accessing private information about an individual. Utahns have a right to know if, how, and…

ACLU of Utah Looks For Local Youth Activists

11 July 2011 Published in Newsroom
ACLU of Utah Looks For Local Youth Activists   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 7, 2011   SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH - In its fifth year, the ACLU of Utah’s Youth Activist Scholarship seeks to recognize Utah high school seniors passionate about civil liberties – and who have taken a stand in their communities to show it! ”We are getting more and more applications each year, from amazing young people who really care about protecting and promoting individual freedom,” says Anna Brower, Development Director at the ACLU of Utah. “No matter how challenging our work at the ACLU gets, we always get a boost of inspiration from students who are fighting along with us in their schools and neighborhoods!” Each year since 2008, the program has awarded $1000 scholarships to three truly passionate young people who care about preserving civil liberties, and who have taken action to do just that. Past scholarship recipients have positively impacted their communities by advocating for women at the United Nations, standing up for LGBT peers by starting Gay-Straight Alliances, lobbying their elected officials for the protection of immigrants’ rights, and championing free speech and a free press. Cara Cerise (Highland High School, Salt Lake City)…

Booksellers, Artists, ACLU Seek to Bar Utah Law Restricting Speech on Internet

08 June 2011 Published in Newsroom
Florence v. Shurtleff (2011) On June 8, 2011, the ACLU of Utah along with a coalition of booksellers, media companies, and artists asked the federal district court in Salt Lake City to issue a permanent injunction, barring enforcement of a Utah statute that restricts constitutionally-protected speech on the Internet. Utah’s law seeks to regulate all Internet speech that may be considered “harmful to minors.” This law, however, is too sweeping in its scope, as it would result in restrictions on visual art, photography, graphic novels, and information about sexual health and the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth. In August 2006, the district court entered a stipulated preliminary injunction, which blocked the enforcement of the challenged sections of the statute.

Court Blocks Implementation Of Utah “Show Me Your Papers” Law

10 May 2011 Published in Newsroom
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. SALT LAKE CITY - Ensuring that Utah law enforcement will not be required to demand "papers" from all people residing in or traveling through Utah, a federal district court in Salt Lake City today blocked implementation of the state’s “show me your papers” law, scheduled to go into effect today. The law, passed earlier this year, authorizes police to demand “papers” demonstrating citizenship or immigration status during traffic stops, invites racial profiling of Latinos and others who appear “foreign” to an officer and interferes with federal law. Today’s ruling came in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Utah and National Immigration Law Center challenging the Utah law. The following can be attributed to Darcy Goddard, Legal Director, ACLU of Utah: “We are pleased the court has ordered that the law cannot take effect until the court has ample time to review the case in full. We anticipate proving to the court that this discriminatory law threatens the rights of all people in Utah. Like Arizona's SB 1070, the Utah law violates the Constitution and is even worse in requiring all Utahns to carry their 'papers' at all times…

ACLU And NILC File Lawsuit Challenging Utah “Show Me Your Papers” Law

03 May 2011 Published in Newsroom
Law Would Turn Utah Into Police State And Invite Racial Profiling, Groups Say – The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Utah, the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) and the law firm of Munger, Tolles & Olsen filed a class action lawsuit today charging that Utah’s recently passed law, HB 497, like Arizona’s notorious SB 1070, authorizes police to demand “papers” demonstrating citizenship or immigration status during traffic stops, invites racial profiling of Latinos and others who appear “foreign” to an officer and interferes with federal law. "America is not a 'show me your papers' country. No one should be subject to investigation, detention and arrest without any suspicion of criminal activity,” said Cecillia Wang, managing attorney with the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project. “Utah’s law violates the Constitution and we are confident that we will prevent it from taking effect.” The lawsuit charges that the Utah law is unconstitutional in that it unlawfully interferes with federal power and authority over immigration matters in violation of the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution; authorizes and requires unreasonable seizures and arrests in violation of the Fourth Amendment; restricts the constitutional right to travel freely throughout the United States; violates the Equal…

ACLU OF UTAH FILES PETITION SEEKING IMMEDIATE REVIEW OF WEBER COUNTY “GANG INJUNCTION”; REQUESTS COURT ORDER BLOCKING ENFORCEMENT OF INJUNCTION SALT LAKE CITY

04 October 2010 Published in Newsroom
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE        October 4, 2010                                    ACLU OF UTAH FILES PETITION SEEKING IMMEDIATE REVIEW OF WEBER COUNTY “GANG INJUNCTION”; REQUESTS COURT ORDER BLOCKING ENFORCEMENT OF INJUNCTION SALT LAKE CITY The ACLU of Utah and cooperating attorneys David Reymann and Clemens Landau of the law firm Parr Brown Gee & Loveless, along with co-counsel Michael J. Boyle, today filed petitions with the Supreme Court of the State of Utah seeking immediate appellate review of the “gang injunction” entered last week by Second District Court Judge Ernie W. Jones. The ACLU of Utah also requested that the Supreme Court block Weber County from enforcing the injunction until after the appeal is decided. The injunction, which was officially entered on September 28, prohibits the Ogden Trece (Trece), and all of its over 475 alleged members, from, among other things, associating with other alleged members of Trece (including family, friends, and co-workers), possessing legal firearms, drinking alcohol (on both public and private property), and engaging in numerous other kinds of constitutionally protected expressive speech and activities.  These prohibitions apply to anyone identified by law enforcement, in its own discretion and with no judicial oversight, to…

ACLU of Utah Seeks to Intervene in "Gang Injunction" Case

09 September 2010 Published in Newsroom
ACLU OF UTAH SEEKS TO INTERVENE IN “GANG INJUNCTION” CASE, RAISES SERIOUS CONSTITUTIONAL CONCERNS WITHWEBER COUNTY’S PROPOSED INJUNCTION The ACLU of Utah and cooperating attorneys David Reymann and Rita Cornish of the law firm Parr Brown Gee & Loveless filed motions today seeking to submit an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief or for limited intervention in the lawsuit recently filed by Weber County seeking an unprecedented “gang injunction.” The proposed injunction would prohibit the Ogden Trece organization, an alleged “street gang,” and any of its alleged members from associating or otherwise engaging in numerous lawful activities anywhere within the City of Ogden. In its lawsuit, Weber County asks the Court to label Ogden Trece, and all of its alleged members, a “public nuisance,” and to issue a permanent injunction that would prohibit those alleged members from, among other things, associating with other alleged members of the group (including, presumably, family, friends, and co-workers), possessing legal firearms, drinking alcohol (on both public and private property), and engaging in numerous other kinds of constitutionally protected expressive speech and activities. These prohibitions would apply to anyone identified by law enforcement, in its own discretion and with no judicial oversight, to be…

UACDL Files Amicus Brief in Support of ACLU's Motion for Expedited Appeal of Ogden "Gang Injunction"

17 August 2010 Published in Newsroom
For Immediate Release October 18, 2010 The Utah Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers today filed with the Utah Supreme Court an amicus curiae (or "friend of the Court") brief (http://www.acluutah.org/UACDL_amicus_brief_Weber_v_Ogden_Trece.pdf) in support of the ACLU of Utah's Petition for Permission to Appeal Interlocutory Order and Motion for Stay Pending Appeal in the Ogden Trece "gang injunction" case. (See ACLU of Utah papers here:http://www.acluutah.org/OgdenTrece.html). A summary of the UACDL's request to be permitted leave to file an amicus brief is reproduced below: *** UACDL’s involvement in this case would ensure that the constitutional issues are fully briefed. Contrary to Weber County’s claims that its request for an injunction is not out of the ordinary, the County’s motion appears to be suspect on its face. One of the principal cases that the county relies on, People v. Acuna, 929 P.2d 596, 609 (Cal. 1997), is readily distinguishable from this matter given the vast geographical area that the County’s motion seeks to address. As opposed to the small area at issue in Acuna, the County seeks to ban a large area of Ogden City. Indeed, on August 28, 2010, the Ogden City police chief described the goal of the injunction in the Salt…

ACLU Of Utah Joins Nationwide Letter To DHS Secretary Napolitano Criticizing DHS’s Response to and Potential Use Of “The List"

29 July 2010 Published in Newsroom
The American Civil Liberties Union of Utah (ACLU of Utah) this week joined with 120 other civil rights organizations and individuals nationwide to urge Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano categorically to reject use by DHS of the now-infamous “list” of 1,300 Utah residents who are allegedly in the country unlawfully. Noting the almost universal condemnation of the list across the political spectrum, the letter asks that Secretary Napolitano: • Issue a public statement unequivocally rejecting the Utah blacklist and this kind of vigilante approach to immigration enforcement;• Commit not to rely on information furnished in the blacklist to pursue any immigration investigations or enforcement actions;• Notify all ICE officers and trial attorneys that they may not rely on the blacklist for purposes of immigration investigations, arrests, detention, prosecutions, or removals; and• Inform all 121 organizations that signed the letter of what actions, if any, ICE undertook when it first received the blacklist in early April. “This type of list, created illegally by state employees utilizing confidential government databases, serves only to inspire fear and distrust in our communities,” said ACLU of Utah Executive Director Karen McCreary. “For the government to utilize information that was compiled and released…

Utah Supreme Court Validates Use of E-Signatures in Electoral Process

22 June 2010 Published in Newsroom
SALT LAKE CITY, UT – The Utah Supreme Court today issued an opinion validating the use of e-signatures in the electoral process. The Court’s opinion, the first of its kind nationwide, has the potential to increase significantly the ability of independent candidates to access the general election ballot, and thus to increase the opportunity for minority viewpoints to be heard and considered in election years.