Blog of Rights

Michigan’s Crumbling Public Defense System Continues to Lock Up Innocent People

By Arlene Gilbert, Racial Justice Program at 4:58pm
Frederick Mardlin is a 32-year old married father of three who spent three years in jail for a crime that he did not commit. He was wrongfully convicted of burning down his house to collect the insurance. His court-appointed public defense attorney was unable to obtain the funds to retain an electrical expert to testify at his trial. That expert could have testified that the fire was not set intentionally but caused by faulty wiring.

"Grim Sleeper" Case Doesn't Justify Expanding the Reach of DNA Databases

By Peter Bibring, ACLU of Southern California at 12:30pm

Last week, Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers arrested a suspect they believe is the elusive "Grim Sleeper" serial killer responsible for 11 murders across South Los Angeles, dating as far back as 1985. The arrest made national…

Data Suggests Boston Police Targeted Black & Working Class Areas For Surveillance

Data Suggests Boston Police Targeted Black & Working Class Areas For Surveillance

By Kade Crockford, Director, ACLU of Massachusetts Technology for Liberty Project at 5:38pm

Earlier this week the ACLU of Massachusetts called for a statewide moratorium on the use of license plate readers. We did so because a MuckRock/Boston Globe investigation revealed serious abuses by the Boston Police Department in its use of the controversial…

Hindu Man Describes Mistreatment After False-Positive Hand Swab

Hindu Man Describes Mistreatment After False-Positive Hand Swab

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 4:40pm

When the TSA in 2010 introduced the swabbing of some passengers’ hands to detect for explosive residue, we got a call from CNN asking if we’d tell them on camera what we thought of it from a privacy standpoint. It seemed to us that particle sniffers…

Getting Nothing for Something: (Over)spending at the Border

By Georgeanne M. Usova, Washington Legislative Office at 11:20am

If most employers learned that their employees had been falling asleep on the job out of sheer boredom, the last thing they would do is hire more people to do the same work. That, however, is just what U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has…

Comey's Hollow MLK Guidance to FBI Agents

Comey's Hollow MLK Guidance to FBI Agents

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Michael German, Senior Policy Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:21am

Newly sworn in FBI Director James Comey has ordered all new FBI agent trainees to visit the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, DC, so they can reflect on the FBI's infamous history of hounding the civil rights leader and recognize "the…

A Mother's Rules for Being Young, Black, and Male

A Mother's Rules for Being Young, Black, and Male

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:08pm

Like many mothers across the country, the Trayvon Martin tragedy still haunts me and makes me want to hold my son closer, knowing that his life as a young Black man in America is not getting any easier. As I wrote in a blog post last year, I've done…

The Racial Wealth Accumulation Gap and Why  ACLU is Suing Morgan Stanley for Racial Discrimination

The Racial Wealth Accumulation Gap and Why ACLU is Suing Morgan Stanley for Racial Discrimination

By Greger Calhan, Legal Fellow, ACLU, Racial Justice Program at 8:07am

This month, the Urban Institute joined an emerging consensus of researchers and social scientists...

Singling Us Out: NYPD's Spying on Muslim Americans Creates Fear and Distrust

Singling Us Out: NYPD's Spying on Muslim Americans Creates Fear and Distrust

My fellow students describe censoring themselves in classes to avoid saying anything that might be taken as controversial or out of the mainstream.

Making School a Safe Place for All Students

By Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:35am

In 19 states across the country, corporal punishment in schools is still legal. Sadly, in many states, children are better protected against physical discipline in detention facilities than they are in their own classrooms. That fact is a startling…