With Government Poised to Investigate Thousands, ACLU of Illinois Issues Ten-Point List of Constitutional Rights

Affiliate: ACLU of Illinois
November 15, 2001 12:00 am

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ACLU of Illinois
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CHICAGO–In an effort to provide straightforward information to anyone who may be interviewed or investigated by law enforcement officials, the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois today issued a ten-point document setting forth basic, constitutional rights every person should know.

The ACLU of Illinois created the document — Know Your Rights If Law Enforcement Officials Approach You — after learning that the Department of Justice intends to locate and interview more than 5,000 foreign nationals in the United States – all men ages 18 to 33, primarily from Middle Eastern nations – who entered the country on non-immigrant visas since January 1, 2001.

“Many of the persons who are on the Justice Department’s list of individuals to interview are bound to be in Illinois, at one of our colleges and universities or in some other setting,” said Colleen K. Connell, Executive Director of the ACLU of Illinois. “The purpose of this document is not to discourage or impede any proper law enforcement activity. Indeed, the guide reminds persons who are being questioned by authorities to be truthful but careful in their answers.”

“We want to be certain that everyone fully understands their basic rights when they are approached by law enforcement – rights that are guaranteed to every person in this nation whether they are a citizen or a foreign visitor,” Connell explained. “These basic constitutional rights are among America’s most important and most enduring values. Our nation is well-served when everyone is better informed about their rights and how to exercise them.”

The ten-point Know Your Rights document covers basic constitutional information that most individuals may know, but are likely to overlook when approached by law enforcement officials. Information covered includes: the fact that exercising one’s rights is not a sign or admission of guilt; the right to remain silent; the right to consult with an attorney; the right to speak to a law enforcement official with an attorney or witness present; the right to arrange a convenient time to speak with law enforcement officials so as not to disrupt one’s home life or create a disturbance at one’s place of employment; and, the right to request the name and the agency of a law enforcement official who makes contact for an interview.

The document is online at http://www.aclu-il.org

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