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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.

What To Do If You Are A Victim of Police Misconduct

17 August 2015 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
What to do if you are a victim of police misconduct in Utah (PDF) Police misconduct is a serious problem- both in Utah and nationwide. Many officers recognize that misconduct gets in the way of effective law enforcement because the actions of only a few bad officers can undermine a community’s trust in an entire agency. Misconduct can range from minor violations of police policy to gross examples of excessive force and unfortunately, its victims are often unaware of the options they have after being subjected to abuse or wrongdoing. The intent of this guide is to offer individuals some strategies they can use if they have been victims of police misconduct. Not everyone will want to use every tactic and some strategies may be inappropriate for some people. If you have any doubts or are considering legal action, consult an attorney you trust before taking action. Please note that this guide is not a legal document and nothing in it should be construed as legal advice. Gather Information: As soon as possible after an incident, write down everything you can remember about what happened. Be as detailed as possible and include the date, time, and location of the incident, as…

Frequently Asked Questions about the Supreme Court’s Marriage Ruling

25 June 2015 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
You may have questions about the ramifications of the wonderful SCOTUS marriage decision - and this website may have the answers.

ACLU Report Finds Unsatisfactory Public Complaint Process In Utah’s Law Enforcement Agencies

21 June 2015 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
The ACLU of Utah recently issued a report analyzing how Utah law enforcement handles complaints from members of the public. Unfortunately, we found some troubling trends in the way Utah law enforcement agencies handle citizen complaints.

Regarding Police Use of Force Against Community Members

16 June 2015 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
The ACLU of Utah is an organization dedicated to restraining government intrusion into our lives, and ensuring that government wields its power responsibly. We strive for a state that affords dignity, autonomy and justice to all its residents. There are very few ways in which the state so overtly wields power over us, than in the form of its law enforcement agents. In the words of our colleagues in Maryland, in the aftermath of the death of Freddie Gray, “Over time, the daily injustices, the repeated instances of police brutality, the unconstitutional treatment of poor and minority people – these patterns crush people’s souls.” To assume that such problems cannot and do not happen in our own state, would reveal a dangerous blindness to the reality faced by many of our fellow Utahns. The ACLU of Utah pledges its commitment to finding a solution to the police militarization and law enforcement overreach that has come to characterize our nation in the following ways: We proactively support community oversight of our law enforcement agencies. This includes empowering community members to exercise their right to record police officers who are interacting with the community, and also developing legislation related to police body-mounted…

SB 297 Frequently Asked Questions

17 March 2015 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
The Utah Association of Counties has confirmed that under SB 297, county clerks will be required to provide all Utahns equal access to the solemnization of marriages.

SB 296 Frequently Asked Questions

17 March 2015 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
The new law adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the existing laws against discrimination in employment and housing in Utah.

Utah is Ready for Criminal Justice Reform!

22 February 2015 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
During this legislative session, one of the most pressing and exciting issues the ACLU of Utah is working on is pushing for a slate of criminal justice reform proposals.

Interview with Varesh Gorabi

22 February 2015 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
An excerpt from this interview was published in the Liberty Reporter: 2015 Winter Newsletter >> Can you tell me about the positions you hold in the community? I am a member of Peer Court, a restorative justice program for youth. I spend most of my Monday nights doing Peer Court. I am also a part of Youth City Government where we challenge our own bias and perspectives. Why did you start getting involved with Peer Court? I was nominated by a teacher, but the reason I joined Peer Court was to become involved in the community. My mother has always been inspiring, changing people’s lives, really caring about them. She always talks about injustices of the world and of people’s challenges in life. Anyway, I feel I have been more aware, critical and curious because of my mom. Like her, I wanted to actually do something. Knowing about issues is not the same as actually witnessing them or listening to real voices that have gone through these situations. I think I’ve become a better human being, a more understanding one, than I was last year. The youth that I see are like me, and I am changed by them as much…

Interview with Marcelina Kubica

22 February 2015 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
The following is an interview with Marcelina Kubica, one of the youth activists who helped plan the Youth Leadership and Activism Conference.  Can you tell me about the positions you hold in the community, how you are involved? The top thing would be Peer Court. I’m also an officer in National Honor Society, we do projects out in the valley. Why did you start getting involved with Peer Court?A friend told me about the program my first year of high school. It sounded really interesting, but it was too late to start that year. At the end of the year I did the interviews and I kept on volunteering throughout my high school life. The idea behind Salt Lake Peer Court is we volunteer and kids come from throughout the Salt Lake area and you have to go through an application and interview process and you have to go through training. There are hearings every Monday night at the Matheson Courthouse. And we have youth that are referred to us from Salt Lake City schools and it’s not just high school students, we take middle and elementary students. We see everything from truancy, to tobacco, to bullying. What will happen is that…

Learning to be a Citizen Lobbyist

22 February 2015 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
Over 90 Utah community members came to the Utah State Capitol on February 2, 2015, to learn how the Utah Legislature works and how to be involved.

Victory! 10th Circuit Protects Free Speech on Utah State Roads

22 February 2015 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
This article was first published in the Liberty Reporter: 2015 Winter Newsletter >> On December 22, 2014, in a big victory for First Amendment rights, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Utah Department of Transportation’s insurance and indemnification requirements for permits to march on state roads violate the constitution and cannot be enforced.  The case, called iMatter  v. UDOT, was brought by groups and individuals, many of them high schoolers, who planned several marches on State Street in Salt Lake City to raise awareness of and promote solutions to climate change.  Though the march organizers obtained event permits from Salt Lake City, they also needed permission from UDOT, since State Street is a state road.  UDOT, in turn, required that anyone seeking a permit to march on a state road obtain a general insurance policy for the event with $1 million per incident and $2 million aggregate coverage.  UDOT also required organizers to sign indemnification agreements to protect UDOT from any lawsuit related to the event.  These polices would have forced organizers to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for private insurance and exposed them to unknown amounts of costs to defend UDOT from potential lawsuits.  These…

Youth Leadership And Activism Conference A Stunning Success

19 February 2015 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
This article was first published in the Liberty Reporter: 2015 Winter Newsletter >> On January 24th, the eve of the legislative session, several dozen high school students spent their Saturday learning about the School-to-Prison Pipeline (STPP), which pushes students into the criminal justice system, and basic activist skills to fight it. They trained on how to be a citizen lobbyists and were able to speak to present and former legislators: Representative Rebecca Chavez-Houck, Representative Angela Romero, Senator Aaron Osmond, and former representative and current director of Criminal Justice Advisory Council, David Litvack. Students acted out real-life stories of students who had been harshly punished for minor misbehavior, such as writing a best friend’s name on a desk. They also learned about their rights when facing school discipline, messaging, and how to write an op-ed. In addition to learning about the STPP and how to be an activist, students were able to use their voices that day to speak up for themselves and their peers. They wrote letters to their representatives, they spoke to city council representatives during lunch, and they took part in the “whiteboard project,” where they explained why they wanted to end the STPP and why education is…

A Utah Youth Leader Speaks Out!

19 February 2015 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
This article was first published in the Liberty Reporter: 2015 Winter Newsletter >> The following is an interview with Varesh Gorabi, one of the youth activists who helped plan the Youth Leadership and Activism Conference  *This is not a full transcript of the interview. Some words have been changed for clarity and to avoid repetitions. Varesh Gorabi, Sophomore at Highland High School What is the School-to-Prison Pipeline and what most concerns you about this issue? The School-to-Prison-Pipeline is the one way tunnel from learning at school to going to prison. It’s shocking how fast one can tumble down this tunnel. Even though the school may not know this, one suspension can harm a child’s life. The funny thing is, I was introduced to this topic just this year, but throughout this learning experience, I have remembered events in my childhood that I have never analyzed further. I remember this one kid, who we all called “troublemaker” in our minds, being suspended from school. We didn’t know why, and we didn’t question it further. “Troublemakers” get in trouble and that’s that. I’m not saying this kid is now a “criminal”, I don’t know where he is now. But to think that one…

Reading Corner: School Resource Officers

28 January 2015 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
This is a collection of materials to help you understand the issue of the School-to-Prison Pipeline locally and nationally.

Reading Corner: Costs of the School-to-Prison pipeline

22 December 2014 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
This is a collection of materials to help you understand the issue of the School-to-Prison Pipeline locally and nationally.

Reading Corner: Mass Incarceration Month

24 November 2014 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
Articles, reports, videos and factsheets.

School-to-Prison Pipeline Vocabulary

09 November 2014 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
More on the School-to-Prison Pipeline >> To submit questions, monthly theme ideas, or sign-up for email alerts on national and local School-to-Prison pipeline news as well as alerts to new content on the Breaking Down the School to Prison Pipeline blog series, contact Racial Justice Associate, Kathy Abarca. I’ve created a vocabulary list because: 1. Language can be a powerful tool for understanding one’s own experiences 2. For clarity in how I use terms in blog posts that may differ from others. If you do nothing else, please watch this video from Race Forward: The Center for Racial Justice Innovation. This video is under 5 minutes and is a clear and to the point way of understanding the different “levels” of racism. This concept of levels of racism is key to understanding the School-to-Prison pipeline (STPP) and how interpersonal, institutional, and structural racism all work together to form STPP. Without understanding these concepts we cannot have a decent conversation on race, racism, and racial justice. The speaker talks about a new report for about a minute. Forward a minute to get right into the talk about the levels of racism. School Resource Officers: They are often sworn police officers employed by…