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Protecting the Bill of Rights in Utah since 1958

Articles, Resources, and Position Papers

Following is a partial list of ACLU of Utah articles, resources and position papers. Additional materials can be found on our issue pages.

Week of Action: Working Together to Keep Kids in School!

19 October 2017 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
Take Action with the ACLU of Utah to dismantle the School-to-Prison Pipeline! 

Immigrant and Refugee Rights and Resources

19 September 2017 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
In light of recent executive orders regarding immigrants and refugees, the ACLU of Utah has renewed our dedication to the civil rights of immigrants and refugees in our state. We have updated Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Resources. 

Your Right to Protest and Engage in Other Free Speech Activities in Utah

29 August 2017 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
View a PDF of this pamphlet >>  Where can I protest? Public forums: You have a constitutionally protected right to engage in peaceful protest in public forums such as streets, sidewalks, or parks. You may also be able to protest in front of government buildings and the legislature. Salt Lake County has designated protest zones, areas that are specifically designated for public demonstrations and protests. There may be restrictions on the time, place, and manner of how your exercise your free speech rights, but these restrictions must serve a substantial government interest (like traffic safety), and they must be narrowly tailored to serve that interest. They may not unreasonably limit alternate avenues of expression. The government may not place greater restrictions on anyone because of their point of view. Non-public forums: In other venues, your rights are less clearly protected. At military bases, airport terminals, or the entrance to a post office, for example, reasonable restrictions may be upheld, as long as they do not favor one side of an issue over the other. Private Property: In general, private property owners may set rules limiting your free speech. If you disobey the property owner’s rules, they can order you off…

Report Reveals Stark Racial Disparities in Utah’s Juvenile Justice System

20 April 2017 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
This article was first published in the Liberty Reporter: 2017 Spring Newsletter >> We have known for some time now, thanks to data available from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, that Utah school kids are disciplined very differently, by teachers and administrators, depending on their skin color, race and ethnicity. Now we can say with certainty that once those youth are referred to the juvenile justice system, those racial disparities continue and increase.   There is no evidence that kids of different races engage in misconduct in different proportions, only that they are caught and punished disproportionately.  For example, Latino/Hispanic youth make up just 17% of the statewide youth population, but they represent 23% of all youth coming into initial contact with the system, and 32% of the incoming youth who are referred to court.  That means Latino/Hispanic youth in our state are overrepresented by nearly 100% among youth appearing before a juvenile court judge.   For Black/African-American youth, the disparities are even worse. These youth make up just 1% of the entire statewide youth population,  but they represent 3% of all youth coming into initial contact with system, and 5% of the incoming youth who are referred to…

Utah Cultural Celebration Center Driving Directions and Parking Map

10 April 2017 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
Back to 2017 Bill of Rights Breakfast Celebration >> Driving directions from Downtown SLC: Via I-15 South:  11 min Via Redwood Road: 12 min Driving directions from Sugarhouse/East SLC: Via I-80: 9 min Driving directions from Murray/South SLC: Via I-15 North: 9 min Parking: See the attached map or go to this link for info.

Make Your School District a Safer One For Immigrants

03 April 2017 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
Join other Utahns who are taking grassroots action to make their schools safer for immigrant students and families!

Racial Disparities in Utah’s Juvenile Justice System

13 February 2017 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
This report explores the racial disparities that result from flaws in Utah’s current juvenile justice system and outlines specific recommendations for reform.

Take A Stand For Justice!

18 January 2017 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
 Get involved with the ACLU of Utah to ensure constitutional rights and freedoms for all in 2017.

2016 Utah Voter Empowerment Guide

30 October 2016 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
 The ACLU doesn't endorse or oppose any candidate or party, but we believe voting is the cornerstone of our democracy and a fundamental right upon which all our civil liberties rest.

About the ACLU of Utah - Fall 2016

20 October 2016 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
he ACLU of Utah, chartered in 1958, operates through public education, legal advocacy, litigation, and lobbying at both the state and local levels to ensure the constitutional rights and freedoms of everyone living in or visiting Utah. Our work is based on those principles outlined in the Bill of Rights and our priorities include: Participatory Democracy; Racial Justice; Criminal Justice Reform; Immigration Reform; LGBTQ Equality; Women’s Rights;  Digital Security & Privacy; and Religious Liberty & Freedom of Belief. In addition, we continue our commitment to protect the First Amendment. For more about the ACLU of Utah and our priorities please visit www.acluutah.org Staff Brittney Nystrom, Executive Director Marina Baginsky Lowe, Legislative and Policy Counsel John Mejia, Legal Director  Leah Farrell, Staff Attorney Anna Brower Thomas, Strategic Communications Manager Jessica Andrews, Coordinator of Administration and Finance Reinard Knutsen, Office Manager Margie Nash, Paralegal Rose Maizner, Development Consultant Nubia Pena, Coordinator, Racially Just Utah   Board of Directors Michael Weinholtz, President Danielle Hawkes, Vice President Bill Orchow, Treasurer Barry Gomberg, Affirmative Action Officer Roderic Land, National ACLU Board Rep. Erin Castro,  Heidi Chamorro,  Chase Clyde, Gina Cornia,  Forrest Crawford, Russell Fericks,   Rachel Heller, Clemens Landau,  Cathleen Power   Legal Panel Jensie Anderson, Rusty Andrade, …

ACLU of Utah Stands with Standing Rock Sioux

20 October 2016 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
This article was first published in the Liberty Reporter: 2016 Fall Newsletter >> The ACLU of Utah has long been committed to supporting and defending the rights of indigenous people and communities.  Of particular importance to the ACLU of Utah is that all communities, especially those that have been long marginalized by the government, can freely and actively engage in the democratic process without government interference.  That is why we are working with Native American voters in San Juan County to protect Navajo access to the ballot box.   That is why we stood up for the right of indigenous people to advocate for, or against, a Bears Ears National Monument, free from government investigation and scrutiny. And that is why we stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe of North Dakota.

ACLU of Utah Stands with Standing Rock Sioux

20 October 2016 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
This article was first published in the Liberty Reporter: 2016 Fall Newsletter >> The ACLU of Utah has long been committed to supporting and defending the rights of indigenous people and communities.  Of particular importance to the ACLU of Utah is that all communities, especially those that have been long marginalized by the government, can freely and actively engage in the democratic process without government interference.  That is why we are working with Native American voters in San Juan County to protect Navajo access to the ballot box.   That is why we stood up for the right of indigenous people to advocate for, or against, a Bears Ears National Monument, free from government investigation and scrutiny. And that is why we stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe of North Dakota.

Remember That Prison Utah is Building?

19 October 2016 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
This article was first published in the Liberty Reporter: 2016 Fall Newsletter >> Yes, there IS going to be a new prison in Utah. That’s (surprisingly) not necessarily bad news. But ONLY because we are talking about a new REPLACEMENT prison - and not a new ADDITIONAL prison. State leaders must never forget that hundreds of people work and volunteer at the Utah State Prison, and thousands more actually LIVE there. These people – as well as their families, loved ones, and advocates – have concerns about their future quality of life. Even mundane conversations about mosquito abatement and soil quality are of pressing importance to those who will spend many – or all – of the hours in each day at the new facility.  While a new state information website falls short of providing needed information, the September 19  public meeting of the Prison Development Commission (PDC) was, by comparison, very informative. In less than 90 minutes, several of local advocates’ pressing fears were assuaged (for the moment). Here are five of those fears, and a bit of the new information that assuaged them. FEAR #1: The new prison isn’t really going to happen. There is a persistent concern among…

Navajo Voters Sue San Juan County Over Voting Policy

19 October 2016 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
This article was first published in the Liberty Reporter: 2016 Fall Newsletter >> The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, DLA Piper, LLP, the national American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the ACLU of Utah, filed suit against San Juan County, Utah on behalf of the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission, and seven members of the Navajo Nation in February.  The lawsuit, Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission v. San Juan County et al., was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Utah and alleges that San Juan County violates provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The case arises from the county’s decision in 2014 to close all polling places on the Navajo Nation portion of San Juan County and switch to a mail-only voting system. The county is required to provide voting materials – including voting instructions and ballots – in both English and Navajo, a primarily unwritten language. Also, the postal system in rural parts of San Juan County, where many Navajo voters reside, is unreliable and not accessible, making it difficult for many Navajo voters to receive and return their ballots on time…

ACLU of Utah Brings Class Action Lawsuit To Alleviate Utah’s Indigent Defense Crisis

19 October 2016 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
This article was first published in the Liberty Reporter: 2016 Fall Newsletter >> On June 21, 2016, the ACLU of Utah and co-counsel Holland & Hart, LLP, filed a class action lawsuit against the state of Utah for failing to meet its Sixth Amendment obligations under the U.S. Constitution.  The lawsuit, Remick v. Utah, filed in Utah’s Third Judicial District Court, is brought by six individual plaintiffs, who seek to represent a class of individuals seeking declaratory relief. The named plaintiffs – who are facing charges in Tooele County, Carbon County and Cache County – were discovered through jail visits and courtroom observations throughout the state. Their experience with difficulties accessing counsel is representative of problems faced by indigent defendants statewide.  The ACLU of Utah has been engaged in advocacy related to Utah’s failing indigent defense system since before 2011, when the organization released “Failing Gideon,” a report that illustrated the many ways in which Utah is failing to fulfill the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee of access to legal counsel. A report released in 2015 by the Sixth Amendment Center, a non-partisan research organization, confirmed the dismal findings in “Failing Gideon.” By some estimates, 80% of those facing criminal charges in Utah…

2016 Utah Voter Empowerment

19 October 2016 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
This article was first published in the Liberty Reporter: 2016 Fall Newsletter >> Election Day is Tuesday, November 8, 2016 2016 Utah Voter Empowerment Guide Voting is the cornerstone of democracy. It is the fundamental right upon which all of our civil liberties rest. The ACLU doesn’t endorse or oppose any candidate or party, but we believe that no civil right is more important in our democracy than the right to vote. To support and encourage Participatory Democracy we have created our 2016 Utah Voter Empowerment Guide. This is available online (www.acluutah.org) and is designed to help you protect your own right to vote. You may print it out and take it with you to the polls on Election Day. Election Day Registration Program  We have supported and encouraged legislators to pass Election Day Registration (EDR) since 2006. In 2014 the Utah legislature passed HB156 - Election Day Voter Registration Pilot Program allowing counties to opt in to the EDR program. Originally five counties participated and that has now grown to 8 counties representing well over 75% of all Utahns.  If you live in Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Kane, Cache, Millard, San Juan, or Sanpete County, YOU CAN STILL VOTE on…

ACLU Of Utah Supporter Survey

19 October 2016 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
Please share your thoughts with us through a quick survey on our projects, strategic work areas and methods of engagement. Dear Supporter, I am thrilled to be celebrating my first two months as the new Executive Director of the ACLU of Utah. It’s an honor to join you in the work of protecting and advancing civil liberties in Utah. Friends like you are the heart of the ACLU of Utah. Without your support — taking action, making financial contributions, spreading the word — we would not be able to do the hard work of protecting and expanding civil liberties in our state! The ACLU of Utah has so many incredible community partners, committed cooperating attorneys, generous donors and passionate members. I’ve been lucky to meet many of these great people since returning to Utah this summer. I’m grateful for the fresh ideas and valuable feedback I have already received about the direction of our work. I’d like to hear from you, too! Please take the short  ACLU OF UTAH SUPPORTER SURVEY online (www.acluutah.org) or call our office (801-871-0329) and we’ll mail it to you.  With your help, the ACLU can continue to have a real impact in Utah.  All my…

Protect Utahns’ Private Property

19 October 2016 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
This article was first published in the Liberty Reporter: 2016 Fall Newsletter >> You can take action to reform civil asset forfeiture laws in Utah Utah’s current civil asset forfeiture laws allow police to seize — and then keep or sell — any property they allege is involved in a crime. Owners need not ever be arrested or convicted of a crime for their cash, cars, or even real estate to be taken away permanently by the government. The practice of civil assest forfeiture was originally conceived as a way to cripple large-scale criminal enterprises by diverting their resources. But data from law enforcement agencies reveal that in Utah, the vast majority of individuals who have their property seized by police are never even charged — much less convicted — of a crime. For people whose property has been seized through civil asset forfeiture, legally regaining such property is notoriously difficult and expensive, with costs often exceeding the value of the property.  The practice of asset forfeiture disproportionately affects low-income people, people of color, and immigrant and refugee communities - all populations more likely to keep and use cash in lieu of mainstream banking. When government prosecutors are allowed to keep seized…

ACLU of Utah Continues To Press For Release Of Video Footage Showing Police Shooting

19 October 2016 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
This article was first published in the Liberty Reporter: 2016 Fall Newsletter >> The ACLU of Utah is disappointed that Salt Lake City Police Department (SLCPD) and Salt Lake County continue to refuse to release body camera and surveillance video footage of the February 2016 shooting of then-17-year-old community member Abdi Mohamed.  In a press conference on August 8, District Attorney Sim Gill announced that his office had concluded that the shooting of Mr. Mohamed by two Salt Lake City police officers was “justified” under state law. Mr. Gill also said the county would continue to withhold from the public all body camera and surveillance video footage of the incident. In addition, Mr. Gill announced that the County is charging Mr.  Mohamed with several serious crimes, including aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony that carries a potential life sentence in prison, and will attempt to prosecute him as an adult.  In July, the SLCPD and Salt Lake County District Attorney’s office refused a request for the video footage the ACLU of Utah made under the Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA).  In doing so, the agencies argued that the footage was related to an ongoing investigation into the shooting of…

Utah Board of Pardons and Parole: Information for Inmates and their Families

26 August 2016 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
The ACLU of Utah created this informational document to explain how the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole (BOP) functions, and the role the Board plays in determining how long each state inmate remains in state custody.