Blog of Rights

Still Locking People Up for Being Poor? Really?! It's 2014.

Still Locking People Up for Being Poor? Really?! It's 2014.

By Mike Brickner, ACLU of Ohio at 2:43pm
Debtors' prisons sound like ancient history, right? Unfortunately, they're all too common across the United States. In spite of the Constitution, case law, and common sense, low-income people are routinely jailed in places as far-flung as Georgia and Washington State simply because they cannot afford to pay their court fines.
Police Abuse of Power, Plain and Simple, in Etowah County, Alabama

Police Abuse of Power, Plain and Simple, in Etowah County, Alabama

By Brandon Buskey, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project & Ezekiel Edwards, Director, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 1:27pm

The Etowah County Sheriff's Office has a Fourth Amendment problem.

About once a month, a marked sheriff's car shows up, unannounced and after dark, outside a family's home in Alabama. Uniformed officers walk to the family's door, in plain sight…

Towns Don't Need Tanks, But They Have Them

Towns Don't Need Tanks, But They Have Them

By Allie Bohm, Advocacy & Policy Strategist, ACLU & Emma Andersson, Criminal Law Reform Project at 2:59pm

Keene, New Hampshire has a population of 23,409, except during the months of July and August when campers flock in for the summer. Keene's violent crime index? 134.4, compared to a national average of 213.6. Most common crime? Theft. Good thing the…

I Will Die Here, Unless President Obama Helps

I Will Die Here, Unless President Obama Helps

By Reynolds Wintersmith, Federal Life-Without-Parole Prisoner at 1:22pm

I joined a drug ring when I was 17 years old and, for just over a year, sold crack and powder cocaine in Rockford, Ill. I was arrested when I was 19 years old.

I am now 39 years old. I have spent over half of my life in federal prison. I have…

My Life Under NYPD Surveillance: A Brooklyn Student and Charity Leader on Fear and Mistrust

My Life Under NYPD Surveillance: A Brooklyn Student and Charity Leader on Fear and Mistrust

By Asad Dandia, Activist at 10:18am

My name is Asad Dandia although friends know me as Ace. I am an American citizen, born in Brooklyn, where I have lived my whole life...

We Know That Stop-and-Frisk is All Kinds of Horrible: So Why Is it Expanding Nationwide?

We Know That Stop-and-Frisk is All Kinds of Horrible: So Why Is it Expanding Nationwide?

By Robert Hunter, Legal Assistant, ACLU, Racial Justice Program at 3:51pm

I was going to the store for my mother. And then when I came out the building I see my uncle and he's coming from the way I'm going and we walk back to the store...

Tasers No Longer a Non-Lethal Alternative for Law Enforcement

Tasers No Longer a Non-Lethal Alternative for Law Enforcement

By Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project & Emma Andersson, Criminal Law Reform Project at 3:39pm

Tasers subject their victims to a 50,000 volt shock followed by 100 microsecond pulses of 1,200 volts.   Since 2001, more than 500 people in the United States have died after law enforcement officers used this weapon against them. A…

Too Many Cops Are Told They’re Soldiers Fighting a War. How Did We Get Here?

Too Many Cops Are Told They’re Soldiers Fighting a War. How Did We Get Here?

By Radley Balko, Senior Writer, Investigative Reporter, Huffington Post at 11:30am

I want to thank the ACLU for asking me to guest blog this week to coincide the release of my new book, Rise of the Warrior Cop...

10-Hour SWAT Raid of Organic Farm? Just Another Day in the War on Drugs.

10-Hour SWAT Raid of Organic Farm? Just Another Day in the War on Drugs.

By Kara Dansky, Senior Counsel, ACLU Center for Justice & Iman Boukadoum, ACLU at 2:07pm

A SWAT team spent ten hours raiding a small organic farm called The Garden of Eden in Arlington, Texas last month...

When Did "To Serve & Protect" Become "To Seize & Profit?"

When Did "To Serve & Protect" Become "To Seize & Profit?"

By Jesse Lava, Campaign Director, Beyond Bars & Sarah Solon, Communications Strategist, ACLU at 12:28pm

Leon and Mary Adams had been living in their Philadelphia home for nearly five decades. They were eating breakfast one morning last year when armed...