Blog of Rights


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.

Protection Gone Terribly Wrong: Baseless Child-Pornography Charges Against Teenage Girls In Pennsylvania

By Rachel Myers, ACLU at 11:20am

(Originally posted on Feministing.)

On Wednesday, the ACLU of Pennsylvania filed a lawsuit against Wyoming County (PA) district attorney George Skumanick, Jr., for threatening three high school girls with child pornography charges over digital photos of themselves in which they appear topless or in their underwear. Skumanick asserted that the girls were accomplices to the production of child pornography because they allowed themselves to be photographed. The threatened charges of sexual abuse of a minor could come with jail time and registration as sex offenders

Which seems even more extreme when you consider that Skumanick has not threatened to charge the individuals who distributed the photos in the first place. It also seems a little counter-intuitive, since child pornography laws are meant to protect children from being exploited, where as charging them with a felony and potentially subjecting them to being on a sex offender registry hardly seems protective.

Neither of the two photos in question depicts sexual activity or reveals anything below the waist.

One is a picture taken two years ago at a slumber party showing Marissa Miller (now 15) and her friend Grace Kelly from the waist up, both wearing white bras. The other depicts Nancy Doe (a pseudonym used to protect the girl’s real identity) standing outside a shower with a bath towel wrapped around her body beneath her breasts.

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…

EVENT: How Terrorism Impacts Women

By Rachel Myers, ACLU at 2:41pm

ACLU President Susan Herman will give the keynote address at a symposium on the impact of terrorism on the lives of women on March 6 at the Rutgers Center for Law and Criminal Justice.

One such issue Herman will address is the backlash against…

A Victim of Extraordinary Rendition, In His Own Words

By Rachel Myers, ACLU at 5:47pm

Mohamed et al. v. Jeppesen was brought on behalf of five men who were kidnapped, flown to CIA black sites and other overseas locations, and tortured. The Bush administration intervened in the case, inappropriately asserting the "state secrets"…

The Unfriendly Skies: JetBlue/TSA Officials Pay $240,000 for Grounding Arabic T-Shirt

By Rachel Myers, ACLU at 4:34pm

When it rains, it pours… stories about discrimination at the airport. As AirTran Airways scrambled to make good after excluding a Muslim family from one of their flights last week, a discrimination case from 2006 was settled when two Transportation…

9/11 Family Members Challenge Legitimacy Of Guantánamo Military Commissions

By Rachel Myers, ACLU at 9:57pm

Several press reports this week quoted people who lost loved ones on 9/11 and who were selected by the Pentagon to travel to Gitmo and attend legal proceedings for detainees accused of planning the terrorist attacks. The articles included statements…

With Technology Like This, Who Needs the Law?

By Rachel Myers, ACLU at 12:55pm

(Originally posted on Daily Kos.)

The ACLU and Electronic Frontier Foundation have received several batches of Justice Department documents in response to our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request (and subsequent lawsuit) for records…

Talking Rule of Law, Actions And Consequences, And Gitmo With Hina Shamsi

By Rachel Myers, ACLU at 4:52pm

Hina Shamsi, an attorney with the ACLU National Security Project and a frequent observer at the Guantánamo military commissions proceedings, was featured in a live chat on Firedoglake today in which she fielded questions about Guantánamo and the…

The Hotly-Anticipated and Exceedingly Handy ACLU Supreme Court Overview is Here!

By Rachel Myers, ACLU at 1:19pm

Today, the Supreme Court returns for business and John Roberts begins his fourth term as Chief Justice.

According to the latest edition of ACLU Legal Director Steven R. Shapiro’s annual overview, there is no doubt that Roberts presides…

ACLU of Minnesota Representing DemocracyNow! Team

By Rachel Myers, ACLU at 7:07pm

We *heart* the ACLU of Minnesota. Our affiliate office in St. Paul has been fighting tirelessly for free speech in the midst of what appears to be a huge government crackdown on civil liberties at the RNC, including coordinating legal defense for tons…

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