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ACLU Files Lawsuit Over Unlawful Sweep at Utah School Targeting Students of Color

13 December 2012 Published in Newsroom
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:December 13, 2012 Police Detained and Interrogated Students Based on Their Race And Ethnicity The American Civil Liberties Union filed a class-action lawsuit against school and police officials over a “gang sweep” in which students of color were detained, interrogated and falsely accused of participating in gang activity. The complaint stems from a December 2010 incident during which between 14 and 40 West High School students of color were detained, interrogated, searched and forced to be photographed holding signs identifying them as gang members.  Their personal information was entered into a “gang database,” making them subject to additional police scrutiny even though they did not commit a crime. All of the detained students were of Latino, African-American or Pacific Island descent, even though they make up only half of the student body. “Schools should be a place where everyone can learn and grow, not a location where students of color are targeted and harassed,” said Courtney Bowie, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Racial Justice Program, which filed the complaint along with the ACLU of Utah. “Instead of policing our classrooms and criminalizing students of color, school and government officials must focus on educating our youth, and do…

ACLU of Utah Settles Claim Of Man Stopped And Cited For "Flipping The Bird" At Orem Police Officer

15 November 2012 Published in Newsroom
ACLU of Utah Settles Claim Of Man Stopped And Cited For "Flipping The Bird" At Orem Police Officer - The ACLU of Utah has successfully settled a freedom of expression case in Orem City. On June 25, 2010, Seth Dame "flipped the bird" at an Orem City police officer who was driving by. The officer then stopped the car Seth was riding in and questioned Seth and the others in his car for about 20 minutes. The officer then issued a disorderly conduct citation against Seth for "flipping the bird" at him. Orem City later declined to prosecute the citation. After hearing from Seth, the ACLU of Utah contacted Orem City to inform them that the officer had violated Seth's rights under the First and Fourth Amendments. The ACLU of Utah also conducted an investigation into the Orem Police Department's practices in issuing disorderly conduct citations.

ACLU of Utah Files Complaint Challenging Brigham City's Unconstitutional "Free Speech Zone" Ordinance

09 November 2012 Published in Newsroom
PRESS RELEASE -- Today, the ACLU of Utah filed a complaint on behalf of the Main Street Church of Brigham City challenging Brigham City’s “Free Speech Zone” Ordinance. The suit alleges that on its face, the ordinance violates the Utah and United States Constitutions because it requires a permit for almost any conceivable form of public expression and imposes civil and criminal penalties for failing to comply. This ordinance could subject many unsuspecting people in Brigham City to liability for engaging in activities protected by the First Amendment.

Brigham City Suspends Enforcement of Free Speech Ordinance: Free Speech For All Returns to Brigham City

09 November 2012 Published in Newsroom
Posted 9/14/12 - As of yesterday evening, representatives of the Main Street Church have been peacefully handing out their literature on the public sidewalks surrounding the LDS Temple. The Main Street Church agreed to limit the number of its representatives to four on each side of the street. This agreement does not suspend the lawsuit filed against Brigham City. Main Street Church and the ACLU of Utah have not conceded that any past enforcement of the ordinance was constitutional. They also continue to contend that the ordinance is unconstitutional on its face and that it should be completely struck down by the court.            

ACLU Scholarship Offers Financial Aid For College To Utah Youth Activists

09 October 2012 Published in Newsroom
ACLU Scholarship Offers Financial Aid For College To Utah Youth Activists   For Immediate Release October 9, 2012 SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – The ACLU of Utah’s Youth Activist Scholarship Program, now in its sixth year, recognizes Utah high school seniors who are passionate about civil liberties, and have taken a stand to show it. Three winners, selected by a committee of educators and community leaders, are each awarded a $1000 scholarship to be used toward their first year of college. Past scholarship recipients have come from many parts of Utah including Logan, Ogden, Provo, St. George, Orem, Moab, and Salt Lake City. They have positively impacted their communities by advocating for: racial justice; immigrants' rights; equal treatment for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) students; increased reproductive health education; women's rights; and free speech and expression. “Every year we look forward to reviewing the scholarship applications from graduating senior high school students,” says Anna Brower, Development Director at the ACLU of Utah. “It is an inspiring experience to learn more about the outstanding Utah high school youth who advocate for civil liberties in their schools and communities.” The winners of the 2011-2012 ACLU of Utah Youth Activist Scholarship…

ACLU Scholarship Offers Financial Aid For College To Utah Youth Activists

09 October 2012 Published in Newsroom
MR_Scholarship_10-04-12.pdf For Immediate Release  October 9, 2012 SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – The ACLU of Utah’s Youth Activist Scholarship Program, now in its sixth year, recognizes Utah high school seniors who are passionate about civil liberties, and have taken a stand to show it. Three winners, selected by a committee of educators and community leaders, are each awarded a $1000 scholarship to be used toward their first year of college. Past scholarship recipients have come from many parts of Utah including Logan, Ogden, Provo, St. George, Orem, Moab, and Salt Lake City. They have positively impacted their communities by advocating for: racial justice; immigrants' rights; equal treatment for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) students; increased reproductive health education; women's rights; and free speech and expression. “Every year we look forward to reviewing the scholarship applications from graduating senior high school students,” says Anna Brower, Development Director at the ACLU of Utah. “It is an inspiring experience to learn more about the outstanding Utah high school youth who advocate for civil liberties in their schools and communities.” The winners of the 2011-2012 ACLU of Utah Youth Activist Scholarship awards certainly exemplify this commitment to and passion for civil liberties.…

Utah Supreme Court Grants Hearing on “Gang Injunction”

01 October 2012 Published in Newsroom
The ACLU of Utah, along with cooperating attorneys from the Salt Lake City law firm Parr, Brown, Gee & Loveless, will be appearing before the Utah Supreme Court on October 25th for a hearing on whether a controversial injunction issued in Weber County should be subject to immediate appeal in the state’s highest court. On August 20th, Weber County attorneys filed a complaint with the Second District Court in Ogden, asking the court to declare the “Ogden Trece” a public nuisance and impose a multi-faceted injunction regulating the activities of Ogden residents identified by the police as alleged members of the Ogden Trece The Ogden Trece has been described in various court filings and newspaper articles as a “criminal street gang” consisting of several hundred members and operating largely within the Ogden City limits. “Law enforcement certainly has an interest in stopping organized crime,” states ACLU of Utah Legal Director Darcy Goddard. “But there is no evidence here or elsewhere that so-called ‘gang injunctions’ are actually effective long-term. Nonetheless, in exchange for the County’s tenuous and unsupported promise of the possibility of ‘reduced crime,’ this injunction criminalizes a wide range of otherwise legal and constitutionally-protected activity, for literally hundreds of people,…

Brigham City Suspends Enforcement of Free Speech Ordinance: Free Speech For All Returns to Brigham City

14 September 2012 Published in Newsroom
As of yesterday evening, representatives of the Main Street Church have been peacefully handing out their literature on the public sidewalks surrounding the LDS Temple. The Main Street Church agreed to limit the number of its representatives to four on each side of the street. This agreement does not suspend the lawsuit filed against Brigham City. Main Street Church and the ACLU of Utah have not conceded that any past enforcement of the ordinance was constitutional. They also continue to contend that the ordinance is unconstitutional on its face and that it should be completely struck down by the court.

Free Speech for All Returns to Brigham City

13 September 2012 Published in Newsroom
Brigham City Suspends Enforcement of Free Speech Ordinance: Free Speech For All Returns to Brigham City       FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                    September 13, 2012                                                        SALT LAKE CITY— As of 6:30 p.m. today, Brigham City, Utah has agreed not to enforce its “Free Speech Zone Ordinance” that was challenged in federal court just two days ago by the ACLU of Utah, on behalf of Main Street Church of Brigham City. Since 6:30 p.m. today, representatives of the Main Street Church have been peacefully handing out their literature on the public sidewalks surrounding the LDS Temple. The Main Street Church agreed to limit the number of its representatives to four on each side of the street.   This agreement does not suspend the lawsuit filed against Brigham City.  Main Street Church and the ACLU of Utah have not conceded that any past enforcement of the ordinance was constitutional.  They also continue to contend that the ordinance is unconstitutional on its face and that it should be completely struck down by the court.   “We are thrilled that our clients are no longer being banned from public sidewalks merely because they would like to express their views,…

ACLU of Utah Appeals Ogden's "Gang Injunction" To Utah Supreme Court And Requests Immediate Stay

12 September 2012 Published in Newsroom
The ACLU of Utah, together with cooperating attorneys David Reymann of Parr Brown Gee & Loveless and Randy Richards of Allen, Richards & Pace, today filed a Notice of Appeal in the Second Judicial District Court for Weber County appealing the court’s so-called “gang injunction” to the Utah Supreme Court. The ACLU of Utah also requested that the district court suspend the enforcement of the injunction while the appeal is pending.

ACLU of Utah Files Complaint Challenging Brigham City's Unconstitutional "Free Speech Zone" Ordinance

11 September 2012 Published in Newsroom
ACLU of Utah Files Complaint Challenging Brigham City's Unconstitutional "Free Speech Zone" Ordinance   For Immediate Release September 11, 2012 SALT LAKE CITY— Today, the ACLU of Utah filed a complaint on behalf of the Main Street Church of Brigham City challenging Brigham City’s “Free Speech Zone” Ordinance. The suit alleges that on its face, the ordinance violates the Utah and United States Constitutions because it requires a permit for almost any conceivable form of public expression and imposes civil and criminal penalties for failing to comply. This ordinance could subject many unsuspecting people in Brigham City to liability for engaging in activities protected by the First Amendment. Because Brigham City is actively barring Main Street Church from two public sidewalks in the city, Main Street Church has also moved for a temporary restraining order to immediately prohibit Brigham City from continuing to restrict Main Street Church’s First Amendment rights to assembly, free speech, and free exercise of religion in a traditional public forum. The ACLU of Utah believes that Brigham City’s “Free Speech Zone” Ordinance turns the entire city into a place where free speech, free assembly and free exercise of religion are prohibited until people are granted a…

The ACLU of Utah Commemorates the Life of Brian Barnard

04 September 2012 Published in Newsroom
The ACLU of Utah Commemorates the Life of Brian Barnard   For Immediate Release: September 4, 2012 Brian’s death is a huge loss to the community. Whenever anyone thinks of a civil rights lawyer in Utah, they think of Brian Barnard. He has stood up for the rights of the marginalized and vulnerable for decades and has been instrumental in moving civil rights forward. Brian worked with the ACLU since the mid-1970s. He has partnered with the ACLU of Utah for nearly 40 years as a cooperating attorney on all manner of civil liberties cases. Brian had a wicked sense of humor, a passion for individual rights, and an unwavering commitment to the protection of the people on the fringes of society whose rights were most frequently under attack. One of his very first Free Speech cases with the ACLU of Utah came in 1975, when he defended a theater owner who showed the film "Deep Throat," and in so doing attacked a vague and overly broad obscenity ordinance that stifled free expression. Brian also worked on ACLU cases related to law enforcement excessive force, jail overcrowding and lack of mental health facilities, school-sanctioned prayer, the rights of protestors and…

ACLU of Utah Helps Launch Free Deferred Action Workshops for Childhood Arrivals

05 August 2012 Published in Newsroom
The Utah Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), in collaboration with other public interest groups, is sponsoring a series of free workshops throughout Utah to help those eligible for relief from deportation under the recently announced deferred action program. Supporting partners include the ACLU of Utah, Catholic Community Services, Holy Cross Ministries, the Mexican Consulate, SLC Dream Team and Mestizo Arts and Activism.

ACLU Seeks Details On Automatic License Plate Readers In Massive Nationwide Request

30 July 2012 Published in Newsroom
ACLU Seeks Details On Automatic License Plate Readers In Massive Nationwide Request   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 30, 2012 INFORMATION SOUGHT ON HOW CAMERAS ARE USED BY POLICE AGENCIES AND HOW DATA IS STORED SALT LAKE CITY –American Civil Liberties Union affiliates in 35 states, including Utah, sent requests today to local police departments and state agencies that demand information on how they use automatic license plate readers (ALPR) to track and record Americans’ movements. In addition, the ACLU’s national office filed federal Freedom of Information Act requests with the departments of Justice, Homeland Security and Transportation to learn how the federal government funds ALPR expansion nationwide and uses the technology itself. ALPRs are cameras mounted on patrol cars or on stationary objects along roads – such as telephone poles or the underside of bridges –that snap a photograph of every license plate that enters their fields of view. Typically, each photo is time, date, and GPS-stamped, stored, and sent to a database, which provides an alert to a patrol officer whenever a match or “hit” appears. ALPRs are spreading rapidly around the country, but the public has little information about how they are used to track motorists’ movements, including…

ACLU of Utah Files Amicus Brief In Utah Supreme Court Arguing That Ban On Electronic Signatures In the Initiative Process Is Unconstitutional

20 July 2012 Published in Newsroom
Today, the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah, along with cooperating attorneys David C. Reymann and Chad R. Derum, filed an amicus curiae brief to the Utah Supreme Court in the case of Utahns for Ethical Government v. Clerks for All Counties in the State of Utah. In its brief, the ACLU of Utah argued that a ban on counting electronic signatures in the initiative process violates the Utah Constitution.

ACLU of Utah Reaches Out To Davis School District To Discuss Constitutional Requirements

12 June 2012 Published in Newsroom
ACLU of Utah Reaches Out To Davis School District To Discuss Constitutional Requirements   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 12, 2012 SALT LAKE CITY— Today the ACLU of Utah sent a letter to Superintendent Bryan Bowles of the Davis School District to request a meeting to discuss the constitutional implications of the district’s recent removal of the book “Our Mothers’ House,” by Patricia Polacco, from the shelves of a school in the district. “Federal courts have consistently concluded that the First Amendment protects student access to books in their school libraries, free from limits based on the administration’s disagreement with the viewpoints expressed in the books,” said John Mejia, Legal Director of the ACLU of Utah. “From what we know of the district’s removal of the book, we have serious concerns that the district may have fallen short of these protections.” In the letter, the ACLU of Utah pointed to several cases in which courts have ruled that the First Amendment prevents schools from limiting student access to library materials containing portrayals of LGBTQ people and noted that this situation is factually similar to those cases. The letter further casts doubt on whether the removal of the book is justified by…

ACLU Of Utah Seeks Information On Utah Police Agencies' License Plate Data Collection

25 May 2012 Published in Newsroom
ACLU Of Utah Seeks Information On Utah Police Agencies' License Plate Data Collection   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 25, 2012 SALT LAKE CITY— Today, on the eve of one of the busiest driving weekends of the year, the ACLU of Utah sent GRAMA requests to the Utah Highway Patrol, the Ogden City Police Department, and the Iron County Sheriff's Office seeking information about their use of automated license plate recognition ("ALPR") technology. During this year's interim session of the Utah Legislature, the Beaver County Sheriff sought authorization for the federal Drug Enforcement Agency to use ALPR technology on certain parts of I-15. According to the sheriff, the DEA intends to capture and record the license plate of every vehicle passing along those stretches of I-15 and to store that information for two years. At the hearing on this request, it was revealed that the UHP, Ogden, and Iron County appear to already be using ALPR technology. Using such technology raises concerns about how captured license plate information is being used, protected and stored. Past experience shows that the purposes for which police use data tend to expand over time, and many such uses raise significant threats to our privacy. “We…

Utah Federal Court Protects Free Speech By Restricting Internet Law

18 May 2012 Published in Newsroom
Utah Federal Court Protects Free Speech By Restricting Internet Law FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 18, 2012 SALT LAKE CITY — People cannot be prosecuted for posting content constitutionally protected for adults on generally-accessible websites, and are not required by law to label such content that they do post, U.S. District Judge Dee Benson held yesterday. Judge Benson’s order was issued in a lawsuit challenging a Utah law that threatened the free speech rights of online content providers and Internet users. Plaintiffs included a Utah artist; trade associations representing booksellers, publishers, graphic and comic books, and librarians; and the ACLU of Utah.

ACLU “Mobile Rights Team” Cross-Country Tour Stops at the Latino Mall in West Valley City

07 May 2012 Published in Newsroom
ACLU “Mobile Rights Team” cross-country tour stops at the Latino Mall in West Valley City   PRESS ADVISORY May 7, 2012 When: May 12, 2012, 3:00 – 5:00 PM Where: Latino Mall, 2470 South Redwood Road, West Valley City, UT 84119 What: “Estamos Unidos” (We Are United) is a national campaign headed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) against anti-immigrant laws and federal programs that involve local police and sheriffs in immigration law enforcement. We come together to protest discrimination and defend our rights even as the U.S. Supreme Court is weighing arguments on Arizona’s discriminatory, anti-immigrant law, SB 1070. The Court heard arguments on April 25, and its decision, expected by June 2012, will have an impact on laws in states like Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Utah and Indiana. The ACLU Mobile Rights Team tour launched “Estamos Unidos” on Saturday April 21 in San Francisco and will be returning to California May 14 and stay through the end of May, with workshops and rallies along the way led by ACLU and immigrant rights partners. The team will cover over 5,000 miles as it travels through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Indiana,…

ACLU Attorneys React to Argument at Supreme Court on Arizona's Anti-Immigrant Law

25 April 2012 Published in Newsroom
ACLU Attorneys React to Argument at Supreme Court on Arizona's Anti-Immigrant Law   Arizona’s SB 1070 and Other Anti-Immigrant Laws Encourage Racial Profiling FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. WASHINGTON – Attorneys with the American Civil Liberties Union Immigrants’ Rights Project who attended this morning’s arguments at the Supreme Court stressed the need to stop SB 1070-type laws because they encourage racial profiling, harm public safety and lead to civil rights abuses. “The justices heard compelling arguments for why they should strike down a law that lays waste to some of our most cherished American values – freedom from unnecessary police intrusion and equality for all people, regardless of how they look or sound,” said Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the ACLU. “Misguided laws like this one that encourage racial profiling, compromise the safety of our communities and put everyone’s fundamental civil rights at great risk should not be allowed to remain on the books.” Cecillia Wang, director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, said: “The Supreme Court heard strong arguments today for rejecting Arizona's radical attempt to turn local police into immigration agents. SB 1070 flies in the face of Congress's decision to put immigration enforcement in…