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Moving Justice Forward For 60 Years!

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.

Students! Know Your Rights: A Guide For Utah High School Students

SKYRlrgIn school, young people not only learn about their constitutional rights, but they also see firsthand how those rights may be affected by the actions of others. The ACLU of Utah is dedicated to protecting the constitutional rights of students and to helping students understand their rights in school.

The material provided on this website is for basic informational purposes only. It is not meant to be and should not be taken as legal advice, nor should you rely on this information instead of seeking the advice of an attorney. The legal issues surrounding civil rights and civil liberties are among the most complex in the law, and a person’s rights may vary from case to case depending on small and subtle details. Only a lawyer who has taken the time to become fully aware of the facts in a given case can provide you with sound legal advice.

If you feel your rights have been violated, please let us know the details by filling out a complaint form on our website.

National ACLU links for youth & students

A Guide For Utah High School Students

Other Utah Material

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Jails Deserve Justice

11 October 2019 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
Sara Wolovick returns to the ACLU of Utah for a two-year fellowship focused on jail reforms.\ Who says you can’t go back? When Sara Wolovick left the ACLU of Utah in 2017 at the end of a summer legal internship, she returned to Georgetown Law School to finish her degree. And now, as a newly minted J.D., Sara is returning to the ACLU as an Equal Justice Works Fellow to address the injustices and abuses within Utah’s jail and prison system that she researched as an intern.

Unblocking the First Amendment

11 October 2019 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
Announcing a new toolkit to help Utahns regain access to government social media pages.  Clicking the “block” button on social media pages is now much more perilous for Utah politicians and government agencies. Not only have more courts ruled that silencing online critics violates the First Amendment, but the ACLU of Utah has released a new toolkit to help people regain access to official government social media pages. 

2020 Legislative Preview

11 October 2019 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
Prepare for next year’s legislative session with the ACLU of Utah’s chief lobbyist. With only 45 days to make laws, Utah’s lawmakers and lobbyists rely on months of prep time to focus priorities and hone talking points. To find out what to expect when the next legislative session begins on January 28, 2020, we sat down with Marina Lowe, the ACLU of Utah’s Legislative & Policy Counsel and long-time lobbyist.

A Day in the Life of a Community Outreach Coordinator

11 October 2019 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
Ever since Sydni Makemo talked her way into a job at the ACLU of Utah in 2018, we knew she was a go-getter. As the first ACLU staff member based in Southern Utah (she lives with her husband, Hilkiah, and two children in St. George), Sydni is responsible for introducing the ACLU to hundreds of new supporters and allies. How does she do it? Let’s examine a typical day for Sydni.

Rio Grande Endgame

11 October 2019 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
As the police sweeps wind down, addressing the long-term damage they caused is just beginning.  Last October, the ACLU of Utah published Calculating the Real Cost of Operation Rio Grande, a critical analysis of the first 14 months of the intensive law-enforcement sweep of homeless populations in Salt Lake City’s Rio Grande neighborhood. The report disrupted the self-congratulatory narrative of success pushed by backers of Operation Rio Grande (ORG) by questioning its methods and outcomes.

State of Surveillance

11 October 2019 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
To protect our right to privacy, we first need to realize what we might lose. Download this article as a PDF Imagine two streets in a Utah city.  On the first street, the neighbors know each other and talk often. They share tools, care for each other’s pets, and watch out for children playing in the street. No security cameras scan the sidewalks, and people speak freely without fear of being recorded. In the evening, families go for walks to visit on front porches and talk about ways to improve their neighborhood.  But on the second street, people don’t know their neighbors and never visit each other. Every house is ringed by a network of security cameras linked to a government database, and “No Trespassing” signs are planted in every yard. A police surveillance camera on a telephone pole scans passers-by with facial recognition software, while watchful eyes behind curtained windows report every strange car and person to the authorities.

Data-Driven Justice

11 October 2019 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
Criminal justice reform won’t happen unless we learn what’s going on inside the system. Even for insiders, the grinding gears of the criminal justice system can be as mysterious as a secret machine. That is why the Campaign for Smart Justice in Utah has been demanding more data collection, transparency, and accountability since we launched our effort in 2018. This is a summary of the progress we have made so far. 

“We Will See You In Court”

11 October 2019 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
Six months ago we filed a lawsuit to stop the state’s 18-week abortion ban. Here’s where it stands. On Wednesday, April 10, the ACLU of Utah Foundation joined with the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah to file a lawsuit in federal court to block H.B. 136—the state’s 18-week abortion ban passed during the 2019 legislative session. At the press conference at the Utah Capitol announcing the lawsuit, ACLU of Utah Senior Staff Attorney Leah Farrell reminded the audience that we successfully challenged a similar 22-week ban in the 1990s, adding “And once again we are standing up to hold the line and to say, ‘we will see you in court.’”

Making Voting Easier

11 October 2019 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
Helping more Utahns vote is the goal of our  new full-time colleague, Niki Venugopal. Voting is a fundamental right, no matter where you live. To realize that goal, the ACLU of Utah’s new Voting Rights Coordinator, Niki Venugopal, is launching an 18-month campaign to ensure equal and adequate access to the ballot box across the state. 

Dixie State Aids Immigrants (Fall 2019 Liberty Reporter)

11 October 2019 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
A new fingerprinting service helps Washington County immigrants secure driving privilege cards. In June, Dixie State University’s (DSU)campus police began offering fingerprinting services to immigrants seeking a Utah driving privilege card after the ACLU of Utah noticed the service was not offered anywhere in Washington County. Driving privilege cards (DPC) allow immigrants to maintain and operate a vehicle regardless of their legal status, including recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Perspectives (Fall 2019 Liberty Reporter)

11 October 2019 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
How do you balance the benefits of new technology with the loss of privacy it can bring?

The Deadliest Year: Map of Officer-involved Fatal Shootings

14 May 2019 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
Read the article, "The Deadliest Year" (link) (PDF) Review infographics and maps of the 2018 incidents (PDF)

COVER STORY: The Deadliest Year (Spring 2019 Liberty Reporter)

14 May 2019 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
Review infographics about the 2018 incidents (PDF) View an interactive map of the 2018 incidents ...from the Spring 2019 Liberty Reporter Officer-involved shootings increased three-fold in Utah in 2018, but why? A cell phone.A silver pellet gun.A screwdriver.A .45-caliber handgun. These were the objects found with the bodies of four of the 19 people killed by law enforcement officers in Utah last year. In each case, officers fearing for their lives or the lives of others, shot and killed the person holding the item. After the shootings, the objects were recovered, cataloged, and more details about them emerged. A screwdriver was “modified.” A knife was 10 inches long. Sometimes, the investigations revealed how police misidentified non-lethal objects as dangerous weapons. A perceived gun was actually a cell phone. What looked like a rifle became a realistic-looking BB gun. When violence occurs and someone dies, every detail is important to try to understand what happened.  These objects, both lethal and harmless, joined the complex narrative that grows around each shooting, which police departments call Officer-Involved Critical Incidents (OICI). Add in body camera footage, witness interviews, and social media commentary, and the events become tragic, self-contained stories unfolding on lawns, sidewalks, and parking…

Voting is Fundamental (Spring 2019 Liberty Reporter)

14 May 2019 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
A new staff position and statewide campaign underscore our commitment to voting rights in Utah. Last summer, the ACLU of Utah staff gathered for an all-day retreat to select our top goal for the coming two years. After considering the many civil rights and individual freedoms currently under threat, a clear leader emerged: the protection and promotion of voting rights.  By adopting this goal, we aim to build on our recent victories in voting rights, including the passage of legislation in 2018—after a decade of trying—that made Election Day Registration (EDR) permanent and statewide. During the November 2018 midterms, the first major election where all Utahns could register to vote and cast a ballot on Election Day, more than 34,000 people were added to the voter rolls using this common sense approach to expand access to the ballot box. The best part: These new voters are already registered for the next election.  Our advocacy also includes collaborating with Lt. Governor Spencer Cox and the State Elections Office to reduce obstacles to voting and overcome barriers that arise. After we fielded a dozen voting complaints during the most recent election, we were fortunate to have the effective cooperation of the Elections…

Meet Angelica Guzman (Spring 2019 Liberty Reporter)

14 May 2019 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
With degrees in political science and human rights law, Angelica is committed to social justice work. The ACLU of Utah’s newest staff member, Angelica Guzman, is a force to be reckoned with. Driven by a “Don’t tell me I can’t do it, because I can and I will,” attitude, Angelica has already put her considerable knowledge of immigrant and refugee-specific issues and her fluency in Spanish to good use. “A big part of my wanting to join this incredible team was my desire to do more for underrepresented communities,” she said. “And to use my knowledge of immigrant and refugee justice, as well as my training in human rights law, to help the ACLU in any way possible.” A native of Mexico, Angelica earned an undergraduate degree in political science and international studies from the University of Utah and later completed a Master of Laws in Saarland, Germany, in the field of International and Human Rights Law. Prior to the ACLU, she worked as a data manager and administrative assistant at the English Skills Learning Center in Salt Lake City. Angelica also interned at Catholic Community Services in the refugee resettlement and housing departments.  While the ACLU of Utah has…

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