Blog of Rights

Rachel
Myers

Rachel Myers is a senior communications strategist at the ACLU focusing on criminal justice issues. She worked previously at the ACLU of Maine and the Portland (ME) Education Partnership, where she trained teachers, students and community organizations to use service learning in the public schools. She is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.

Cold War-Era Policy Still Giving Free Speech the Chills

By Rachel Myers, ACLU at 3:01pm
What do Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez, Chilean poet Pablo Neruda and British novelist Doris Lessing have in common (besides being Nobel Prize-winning writers who have all given us so many literary treasures)? During the Cold War, the U.S. government used "ideological exclusion" laws to ban them from this country because they were suspected of being communist sympathizers. In other words, the U.S. government barred them from the country not because of their actions, but because of their ideas. Sounds like one of those misguided schemes we look back on now with scorn, right? Oh that that were true…in actuality, the Bush administration revived the practice of ideological exclusion to deny visas to dozens more scholars, artists and writers who have been vocal critics of U.S. foreign policy.
Spared From a Death Sentence Based On Falsehoods

Spared From a Death Sentence Based On Falsehoods

By Rachel Myers, ACLU at 5:52pm

An almost-certainly innocent man was spared from death at the hands of the state of Texas yesterday when the highest criminal court in Texas threw out the death sentence of ACLU client Manuel Velez, ruling it was based on the false testimony of a state…

Medical Marijuana Patient Fired by Wal-Mart Deserves His Day in Court

Medical Marijuana Patient Fired by Wal-Mart Deserves His Day in Court

By Rachel Myers, ACLU at 5:07pm

Some readers may recall the story of Joseph Casias, the model employee who was fired from his job at Wal-Mart for using medical marijuana in accordance with state law. The ACLU was in court today to argue that an appeals court should reinstate…

NYC Marijuana Arrests Still Too High

NYC Marijuana Arrests Still Too High

By Rachel Myers, ACLU at 3:43pm

The New York City Police Department made a near-record number of low-level marijuana arrests in 2011, surpassing 2010 and making 2011 the second-most prolific period for marijuana arrests in NYC history. The 50,684 arrest occurred despite the fact…

Arizona Medical Marijuana Law Survives Attack by Arizona Governor

Arizona Medical Marijuana Law Survives Attack by Arizona Governor

By Rachel Myers, ACLU at 12:37pm

A federal judge granted the ACLU's request to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer seeking to strike down her own state's voter-approved medical marijuana law.

The Criminal Justice Year in Review - 2011

By Rachel Myers, ACLU at 3:21pm

As 2011 comes to end, we’re taking a look back at the year in criminal justice. Over the next few days, we’ll run a series of blog posts on the developments, good and bad, that have shaped our justice system – from overincarceration…

Charging for Prison Visits is Bad Business

By Rachel Myers, ACLU at 6:53pm

We thought we’d heard it all when it came to the crazy ways corrections departments try to save money. That is, until we learned today that the Arizona Department of Corrections is charging people money to visit their loved ones in prison.

According…

Safety in Numbers?

Safety in Numbers?

By Rachel Myers, ACLU at 3:26pm

In the last decade, New York drastically reduced its prison population and at the same time experienced a huge drop in crime. Indiana, on the other hand, drastically increased its prison population — and consequently the burden to taxpayers…

Louisiana Passes Legislation Addressing Growing Number of Elderly in Prison

By Rachel Myers, ACLU at 5:27pm

The Louisiana Senate has just passed H.B. 138, which will enable some prisoners to go before a parole board upon turning 60. The board can then decide to grant parole to those individuals it determines would pose no danger to the community upon…

Megalawsuit Against BitTorrent Users Threatens Due Process

By Rachel Myers, ACLU at 4:56pm

Time Warner Cable recently asked a federal court to quash subpoenas it received seeking the identities of thousands of its customers. The subpoenas came as part of several lawsuits filed by members of the movie industry who allege the individuals…

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