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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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Victory! Utah Supreme Court Vacates Gang Injunction

19 February 2014 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
Liberty Reporter: The 2014 Winter Newsletter >>  Weber Co v. Ogden Trece The ACLU of Utah and cooperating attorneys from Parr Brown Gee & Loveless and Richards & Pace, were victorious in the Weber Co v. Ogden Trece case. On October 18, 2013, the Utah Supreme Court vacated the unconstitutional Ogden “gang injunction” because Weber County violated Utah’s rules regarding service of process. Service of process is crucial because it ensures that the party being sued has proper notice of the lawsuit and an opportunity to be heard. Weber County violated the rules because it sued Ogden Trece as an unincorporated association, thus seeking to bind hundreds of alleged members without having to name them, but did not follow Utah rules to serve such an organization. Rather, the trial court improperly allowed the County to follow California procedure, which differs from Utah’s. Because of this serious error, the Utah Supreme Court found that the trial court had no jurisdiction over the Ogden Trece and required that the injunction be vacated. We opposed this unjust injunction, which originated in 2010, because of its many unconstitutional provisions and its grant of overbroad powers to police. The injunction contained unlawful limits on the…

On The Hill

19 February 2014 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
Liberty Reporter: The 2014 Winter Newsletter >> During the legislative session, things move very rapidly. To find out the latest about our legislative agenda and see which bills we are supporting or opposing visit our website www.acluutah.org/legislation, or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. The 2014 General Session is shaping up to be an interesting one, with issues such as freedom of religion and LGBTQ rights taking center stage. Various proposals related to criminal justice will also be a key focus of our work up at the Capitol. Criminal Justice/Fourth Amendment Drones - The ACLU of Utah has been actively involved in the discussion around drone use in our state, including participating on the Governor’s Advisory Board on Unmanned Ariel Systems, to advocate for privacy protection. We are working with a legislator and other advocacy groups to advance legislation to regulate drone use in our state, particularly when used as a law enforcement tool. No-knock warrant reform - All too often, the military-style tactics used by law enforcement result in harm to officers and their targets and family and friends. The ACLU of Utah has been working with legislators and advocacy groups to draft legislation to place greater limits…

Fighting To End Marriage Limbo

19 February 2014 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
Liberty Reporter: The 2014 Winter Newsletter >> “After 13 years together, we just want the security and peace of mind to know we can be there for each other in the hard times, ” - Plaintiff Stacia Ireland ACLU demands Utah honor marriages of over 1,000 same-sex couples. On January 21, 2014, the ACLU of Utah, along with the law firm of Strindberg & Scholnick LLC and the ACLU LGBT Project, brought a lawsuit to ensure that Utah honors the marriages of Utah same-sex couples. We brought the case, called Evans v. Utah, on behalf of four couples who legally married in Utah in the hours and days after a federal court struck down Utah’s ban on allowing same-sex couples to marry.   On December 20, 2013, the federal district court in Kitchen v. Herbert enjoined Utah from enforcing its marriage bans. Immediately, a flood of same-sex couples converged on Utah’s county offices, finally able to express their love and commitment to each other through marriage. The flow of couples fortifying their families through the protection and responsibilities that come from being legally married continued at record pace- it is estimated that at least 1,000 married- up to the moment…

Unleashed and Unaccountable: The FBI's Unchecked Abuse of Authority

17 September 2013 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
The new national ACLU report "Unleashed and Unaccountable: The FBI's Unchecked Abuse of Authority" documents the extraordinary expansion of FBI power over the last 12 years.

Time to Rein in the Surveillance State

29 August 2013 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
The ACLU has been at the forefront of the struggle to rein in the surveillance superstructure, which strikes at the core of our rights to privacy, free speech, and association. Here's some of what the national ACLU is doing to roll back the surveillance state.

The ACLU of Utah Has a New Website

20 August 2013 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
Launched on August 21, the ACLU of Utah's new website will provide an upgraded platform that is easier to navigate and search. It features integrated web functions such as links to our Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ pages, as well as a national ACLU newsfeed. It will still take several weeks to complete the migration of over 15 years of online archived material and pages. If you find links that do not work, please take a moment to email aclu@acluutah so that we may fix those quickly. Feel free to email us and let us know what you think of our new site too!

After DOMA: What it Means For You

26 June 2013 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
"After DOMA: What it Means For You" LGBT Organizations Fact Sheet Series details many of the ways federal agencies accord legal respect to married same-sex couples. The guide includes 14 factsheets on the following topics: Bankruptcy, Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), Federal Employee Benefits, Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Immigration, Medicaid, Medicare, Military Spousal Benefits, Private Employment Benefits, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, Taxes, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and Veteran Spousal Benefits. Read more  

Frequently Asked Questions about Utah’s HB 497, “Show Me Your Papers” Law

04 July 2012 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
Download a PDF of this information sheet >> During the 2011 General Session, the Utah State Legislature passed a “package” of laws addressing immigration. Included in the package are HB 497 “Utah Illegal Immigration Enforcement Act”, HB 116 “Utah Immigration Accountability and Enforcement Amendments”, HB 466 “Migrant Workers and Related Commission Amendments”, and HB 469 “Utah Pilot Sponsored Resident Immigrant Program”. Both HB 116 and HB 469 have an effective date of 2013 and are unlikely to ever take effect because they violate Article III of the U.S. Constitution. HB 466, (the guest worker bill) which establishes a partnership between the Mexican State of Nuevo Leon and the State of Utah is constrained by the federal limitation on visas. Therefore, of these four laws, only HB 497, with an effective date of July 2011 would be implemented and have an immediate negative impact on our community. The ACLU of Utah initiated a lawsuit in May, arising out of the unconstitutionality of HB 497, also known as the “show me your papers law”. A federal district court judge quickly granted a temporary restraining order, prohibiting enforcement of HB 497. There will be a hearing for a preliminary injunction in February 2012.…

Slamming the Courthouse Doors: Denial of Access to Justice and Remedy in America

09 December 2011 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
Actions of the executive, federal legislative, and judicial branches of the United States have seriously restricted access to justice for victims of civil liberties and human rights violations, and have limited the availability of effective (or, in some cases, any) remedies for these violations. Weakened judicial oversight and recent attempts to limit access to justice by attacking plaintiffs’ and defendants’ standing, discovery rights and the courts’ jurisdiction, are denying victims of human rights violations their day in court and protecting responsible officials and corporations from litigation. Over the last decade, there has been a serious erosion in the ability of, among others, immigrants, prisoners, and detainees in the “war on terror” to use the writ of habeas corpus in U.S. courts to challenge the constitutionality of their ongoing detention, significantly circumscribing the availability of a most potentially significant remedy. For example, federal legislation, most prominently the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA), and Supreme Court decisions, have greatly limited access to federal review of state court death penalty convictions. Read more on ACLU.org >>

Frequently Asked Questions about Utah’s HB 497, “Show Me Your Papers” Law

22 October 2011 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
Down load a PDF of this sheet >> During the 2011 General Session, the Utah State Legislature passed a “package” of laws addressing immigration. Included in the package are HB 497 “Utah Illegal Immigration Enforcement Act”, HB 116 “Utah Immigration Accountability and Enforcement Amendments”, HB 466 “Migrant Workers and Related Commission Amendments”, and HB 469 “Utah Pilot Sponsored Resident Immigrant Program”. Both HB 116 and HB 469 have an effective date of 2013 and are unlikely to ever take effect because they violate Article III of the U.S. Constitution. HB 466, (the guest worker bill) which establishes a partnership between the Mexican State of Nuevo Leon and the State of Utah is constrained by the federal limitation on visas. Therefore, of these four laws, only HB 497, with an effective date of July 2011 would be implemented and have an immediate negative impact on our community. The ACLU of Utah initiated a lawsuit in May, arising out of the unconstitutionality of HB 497, also known as the “show me your papers law”. A federal district court judge quickly granted a temporary restraining order, prohibiting enforcement of HB 497. There will be a hearing for a preliminary injunction in February 2012.…

Failing Gideon: Utah’s Flawed County-By-County Public Defender System

23 August 2011 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
ACLU of Utah Issues Report Detailing Chronic Underfunding, Other Systemic Failures in Public Defender Services 

TV Show Explores Utah's Constitutionally Inadequate Indigent Defense System

22 June 2011 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
If you're out of money and you're arrested. You know you have constitutional rights, but what do you do? To make sure that our constitutional obligations are met to the citizens of the country we provide public defenders public defenders are people who are appointed by the court to defend your innocence because our system of government assumes that someone is innocent until proven guilty. There are some problems with that system; however, like how do you fund it, what is fair and equitable, what are the standards of the people that provide that defense. It's a complicated issue but it's one that we are going to tackle today on the county seat. Watch the show here >>

Combating Mass Incarceration - The Facts

19 June 2011 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
 Read the infographic on ALCU.org >>

The Truth About HB 497 (Immigration Enforcement)

09 March 2011 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
Today the national office of the ACLU, in cooperation with the ACLU of Utah, issued the first in-depth, preliminary legal analysis of what H.B. 497, "Utah Illegal Immigration Enforcement Act," really means for anyone living in or traveling through Utah. Utah lawmakers have represented to the public and the media that HB 497 is a "kindler, gentler" version of Arizona's SB 1070--which the ACLU, the Department of Justice, and others sought successfully to block in two separate federal lawsuits. But the ACLU's section-by-section legal analysis of HB 497 shows exactly how alike these two bills really are. From their un-American, "show-me-your-papers" approach to law enforcement to their inevitable consequences--including racial profiling and significant burdening of local law enforcement--both HB 497 and Arizona's 1070 share the same flawed, and unconstitutional, view of "immigration reform." Read the ACLU's full analysis  here (PDF) >>

ACLU of Utah Joins Lawsuit Challenging Raids of Concerts and Violation of Free Speech

06 October 2010 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
ACLU of Utah Reporter: Fall 2005 The American Civil Liberties Union of Utah and the ACLU Drug Law Reform Project have joined a lawsuit challenging law enforcement raids of electronic music concerts. The suit charges Utah County law enforcement with widespread violations of the constitutional rights of concert promoters and venue owners during concerts on July 16 and August 20. “Utah County’s actions strike at the heart of First Amendment freedoms,” said ACLU of Utah attorney Margaret Plane. “The ACLU is joining this fight to help protect our fundamental rights from this kind of unjust law enforcement action.” During the August 20 concert, dozens of battle-ready Utah County law enforcement officers, accompanied by police dogs and a helicopter, stormed concertgoers and threatened some with arrest. Both concerts took place in Spanish Fork Canyon. The owners of the 350-acre ranch, which has hosted several concerts over the last three summers, were also ordered off the land. Police did not have warrants to enter the land or to search concertgoers at either event. “It was like a war zone. I’ve never seen anything like it,” said one of the concert promoters, Brandon Fullmer. “Although I plan to organize more concerts, I know…

Frequently Asked Questions on Student Privacy, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, and the No Child Left Behind Act

06 October 2010 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
ACLU of Utah Reporter: Fall 2005 What is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and what does it have to do with student privacy?The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) makes student records confidential. However, FERPA permits schools to release “directory information” to the public. “Directory information” may include the following: the student’s name, address, telephone listing, date and place of birth, major field of study, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, and the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended by the student. FERPA requires schools to honor a parent’s request that any or all of that information not be released without the parent’s prior consent. A parent must affirmatively notify the school not to release any or all directory information in order to protect that information from disclosure. If a parent does not opt-out under FERPA, directory information is available generally to the public. What is the No Child Left Behind Act, and what does it have to do with student privacy? Enacted by the U.S. Congress in 2002, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) primarily deals with…

ACLU Seeks to File Brief in Death Penalty Case

01 July 2010 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
As part of its on-going indigent defense project, the ACLU of Utah filed a motion in Weber County District Court seeking permission to submit an amicus curiae—or “friend of the court”—brief in the death penalty case State v. Ethridge. Jacob Ethridge, who is indigent, faces capital murder charges stemming from the 2008 deaths of two women. Weber County, which opted out of the statewide Indigent Capital Defense Trust Fund (which provides funds to all participating counties for the defense of capital cases), recently sought to replace Mr. Ethridge’s court-appointed attorneys with two new lawyers who have general service public defender contracts with Weber County. Mr. Ethridge’s current attorneys were appointed approximately 18 months ago, while they were with the Weber County Public Defender’s Association (“Weber PDA”). In an effort to save approximately $100,000 per year, the Weber County Commission voted to eliminate the Weber PDA beginning on January 1, 2010. Weber County now contracts with individual attorneys for indigent defense services. The proposed new lead attorney, who is currently under contract with Weber County to provide juvenile criminal defense and also maintains a small private practice, has never tried a capital case. Presumably, he would have been asked to add…

ACLU of Utah: Working for LGBTQ Equality in Utah

19 May 2007 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
The ACLU of Utah maintains that the U.S. Constitution requires that our laws apply equally, regardless of one’s sexual orientation or gender identity; that we have a right to privacy in our personal relationships; and that we have the First Amendment right to communicate gay-positive viewpoints, to choose how we express our gender identity, and to associate with whomever we wish. Unfortunately, courts have not yet fully acknowledged these rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people.

Main Street Plaza: The ACLU of Utah History

05 December 2005 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
Because of the interest in the Main Street Plaza cases, we have created this page to collect all of our information in an easy to view format. Updated December 2005. SynopsisACLU Returns to Court Over Salt Lake City’s “Main Street Plaza” How We Got Here: The Main Street Plaza TimelinePress Releases Letters written to Salt Lake CityDocuments Filed in CourtReports and Articles written by the ACLU ACLU of Utah Protects Freedom of Religion for Everyone In April 1999, the Salt Lake City Council voted 5-2 to sell the downtown block of Main Street between North and South Temple to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Unbeknownst to city residents, it also sold the public’s First Amendment rights, immediately transforming the block into a space in which the LDS Church was granted the absolute and exclusive right to broadcast its own messages and, at the same time, ban all other viewpoints. The Salt Lake City Planning Commission approved the transaction with the condition that the space be regulated like a public park. However, the final documents included a public easement in which the city gave the LDS Church unbridled discretion to prohibit, among other things, “loitering, assembling, … demonstrating,…

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