The ACLU of Utah Activist
Last week, Senator Todd Weiler's legislation to address Utah's indigent defense crisis finally became public. SB155, "Indigent Defense Commission," is not a bad bill...but it's nowhere near robust enough to address the fact that every day, Utahns appearing in district and justice courts throughout the state, are being deprived of their Sixth Amendment right to legal counsel.
First, the bad news.
So far, medical cannabis and workplace breastfeeding have stolen the spotlight at the Capitol this year, but that's certainly not all that's happening during the 2016 Session.
Utah's criminal justice system is fraught with subterfuge and injustice, from arrest and the judicial process to corrections and the actual sentencing/parole authority.
TAKE ACTION: The death penalty is expensive, ineffective and unconstitutional. Why would we do MORE of it?
Medical cannabis...increasingly long prison stays for Utah inmates...your right to an attorney...oh my!
The 2016 legislative session kicked off yesterday with much ceremony and anticipation, with several controversial issues – medical cannabis, defunding Planned Parenthood and equality in the workplace for Utah’s working moms – receiving attention well in advance of the opening day ceremonies.
The Sixth Amendment guarantees legal counsel to all people who are facing possible jail time on criminal charges, regardless of whether they can afford an attorney. But there’s no question that for many people in Utah there might as well not be a Sixth Amendment at all.
Surprise: People Care About Police Militarization...Popularity of "Peace Officer" Documentary Proves it.
If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s time for you to check out “Peace Officer.”
The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board makes a compelling case for the abolition of capitol punishment in Utah.
"Utah needs aggressive reform at both the state and county levels, undertaken immediately and supported by significant state funding. Any legislative proposal must include concrete directives for counties, as well as funding to accomplish those directives."
“Ferguson, Missouri” has become short-hand for racial profiling and police militarization. But U.S. Department of Justice investigations into how things got so bad in Ferguson have revealed something seemingly more banal at the root of the problem: tickets.
An Op-Ed published in the Salt Lake Tribune on October 10, 2015, advocates for indigent defense reform at both the state and county levels supported by significant state funding.
With the School-to-Prison Pipeline going strong in the United States, it is important to focus on alternate methods of discipline for struggling youth.
You’ll probably walk through the doors of your local justice court at least once in your life.
Over the past sixty years, many laws have been put in place to ensure the equal treatment of historically disadvantaged racial minorities in the U.S. That doesn’t mean, however, that we’ve solved the many insidious problems associated with racial discrimination.
Join us in a week of action to challenge the “school-to-prison pipeline” in Utah.
“I witnessed my son-in-law killed by the SWAT team I founded.”- former Davis County Sherriff William “Dub” Lawrence.
In a state with such a constitutionally-deficient public defender system, it is tempting to believe that the broken system in Utah, detailed in ACLU’s report “Failing Gideon,” is experiencing something different than other states.