Blog of Rights

 A Living Nightmare in America's Paradise

A Living Nightmare in America's Paradise

By Eric Balaban, ACLU National Prison Project at 3:12pm
Imagine being charged with a crime, going to trial, being found not guilty by reason of insanity, but remaining behind bars for years. You are denied access to a psychiatrist to treat your serious mental illness; you grow more acutely ill; and you daily face the threat of violence at the hands of other prisoners.
image of state privacy map

Interactive Map: Privacy in the States on Four Key Issues

By Allie Bohm, Advocacy & Policy Strategist, ACLU at 10:50am

In the last few years, we’ve seen an unprecedented number of privacy battles being waged in state legislatures. Today we’re launching an interactive web map that shows the privacy laws in place across the country on four of those issues:

law…

Strip Search of 13-Year-Old for Ibuprofen Ruled Unconstitutional

By Jag Davies, Drug Law Reform Project at 10:02am

If you have a problem with school officials strip searching 13-year-olds for Advil — or if you care about the government’s standards for informant use and invasive searches — you can take relief in yesterday's ruling by a full panel…

Former FBI Agent Mike German Talks About the NSA

Former FBI Agent Mike German Talks About the NSA

The interview below, in which Faith Braverman speaks to ACLU Senior Policy Counsel Michael German, was first published by The Daily Caller.

Mike German is a 16-year veteran of the FBI, where he served as a special agent in domestic terrorism.…

Photo of police officer speaking to civilian

Should Officers Be Permitted to View Body Camera Footage Before Writing Their Reports?

By Peter Bibring, Director of Police Practices for the ACLU of Southern California & Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 12:14pm

Update below

A police officer wearing a body camera shoots a civilian. Afterwards, the officer has to write up a report about the incident. Should the officer be able to view the footage captured by his body camera (or other cameras) before…

U.N. Flag

U.N. Holds U.S. Accountable for Human Rights Violations at Home and Abroad

By Astrid Reyes, ACLU Human Rights Program at 6:32pm

"The United States is abandoning its role as the global champion of human rights," warned Jimmy Carter in a 2012 New York Times op-ed. Less than two years later, Carter's warning has been vindicated. Yesterday, the U.N. Human Rights Committee issued…

Charlie Hebdo, The Interview, and Censoring Torture Photos

Charlie Hebdo, The Interview, and Censoring Torture Photos

By Jameel Jaffer, ACLU Deputy Legal Director and Director of ACLU Center for Democracy at 11:55am

This post was first published by Just Security.

Update (1/21/15): The federal court hearing on the release of the torture photos, originally scheduled for yesterday, has been rescheduled for February 3.

In France and the United States,…

Edward Snowden is a Whistleblower

Edward Snowden is a Whistleblower

By Michael German, Senior Policy Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:00am

My American Civil Liberties Union colleagues and I have been extremely busy since the Guardian and the Washington Post published leaked classified documents exposing the scope of the...

The Importance of the Sixth Amendment Right to Counsel in Capital Cases

By Brian Stull, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 5:09pm

A person does not need to go any farther than a Law & Order episode to understand the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. We hear the officers on TV tell suspects that if they cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for them. The Framers of the Constitution made the statement more artfully when they wrote that the accused in every criminal prosecution “shall enjoy the right to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.”

In Gideon v. Wainright, the Supreme Court explained the importance of this right, stating, “[I]n our adversary system of criminal justice, any person haled into court, who is too poor to hire a lawyer, cannot be assured a fair trial unless counsel is provided for him.” The right to counsel protects all of us from being subjected to criminal prosecution in an unfair trial. But nowhere is this right more important than when the accused faces the death penalty.

The DEA’s "Cold Consent" Encounters: Definitely Cold, Not So Consensual

The DEA’s "Cold Consent" Encounters: Definitely Cold, Not So Consensual

By Hugh Handeyside, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 5:25pm

When law enforcement officers stop and question people for no particular reason, or in the case of the Drug Enforcement Administration, based on a vague perception that a person exhibits "characteristics indicative of drug trafficking," is it any wonder…