As you read through this annual report, we hope you are as heartened as we are to see the ACLU of Utah active in a broad range of issues associated with fairness, equality, and justice. We work hard on public education and rely tremendously upon ACLU members and volunteers—through phone calls to politicians, letters to the editor, and conversations with friends and colleagues throughout the community—to help everyone understand the importance of basic freedoms.
ACLU of Utah 2004 Annual Report
It takes courage to struggle for justice and equality, and for some reason in Utah, this struggle is often accompanied by the risk of being misinterpreted or villainized for principled positions. For example, some of the bravest among us are those who stand up for the separation of church and state while being misconstrued as anti-religious. Yet freedom to practice one’s chosen religion is not possible without freedom from government endorsement of religion.
Both of us (your ACLU of Utah board president and executive director) came to this organization out of our strong belief in the importance of civil liberties, including a fair process, equal application of the laws, and basic freedoms of speech, association, religion, and privacy. These beliefs have been part of our lives for as long as we can remember; they were important to our parents before us and have been particularly strengthened during these discouraging times when we must be especially vigilant about fundamental freedom and fairness.
Sixty years ago, during a popular war, the ACLU stood almost alone in its opposition to the Japanese-American internments. Most Americans, and even progressive thinkers, including FDR and Earl Warren, saw internment as a necessary compromise of liberty to advance security. When the crisis passed, however, people saw it differently. Four decades after the end of WWII, the United States government issued a formal apology for what it concluded had been an injustice “motivated largely by racial prejudice.”
Since the events of 9/11 our government has again moved toward discrimination, but for the most part, the people have not. A large number of us are rightly disturbed by the idea of our leaders indefinitely detaining, without charges, people of certain ethnicities, national origins, or religions. And we are outraged by the idea of condoning the use of torture on people in the custody of the United States government.
ACLU membership has doubled in Utah since 9/11, a growth that demonstrates the importance that core ACLU issues such as privacy, freedom, and equality have in the minds and hearts of Utahns today. Again, we thank you for your membership and support and know that it comes from a deep sense of justice and fairness, for everyone.
The ACLU of Utah has continued to respond to traditional civil liberties issues while rising to the new challenges constantly confronting us. As the founders of the ACLU came to realize, civil liberties have to be defended over and over again. It is our privilege to teach, defend, and preserve our fundamental structure of democracy and basic freedoms for each new generation. We are honored to be directly involved in so worthy a goal, at such a critical time.
Sue Marquardt, President, Board of Directors
Dani Eyer, Executive Director
Freedom of Speech
Throughout the year, the ACLU of Utah was alerted to issues that, while smaller in scale than the Main Street case, were just as important for the individuals whose free speech rights were threatened. Particularly troublesome were instances in which government officials responded to complaints by private citizens who did not like their neighbors’ or co-workers’ political messages. Last September, for example, Secret Service agents visited 19-year-old Derek Kjar at his workplace in Salt Lake City to question him about, among other things, his ties to terrorist groups and his interest in political assassinations. The cause of their visit? Neighbors had alerted them to a “threatening” bumper sticker on Kjar’s car. The sticker featured an image of President George Bush wearing a crown and the words, “King George—Off With His Head.” Kjar had ordered it online without thinking that it would be the cause of the most frightening experience of his life. Secret Service agents questioned Kjar for over an hour, required him to write a statement explaining why he obtained and posted the sticker, and confiscated the sticker. The situation did offer the ACLU of Utah multiple opportunities to explain the wide parameters of political speech and the fact that the bumper sticker clearly would be seen by the courts as “political hyperbole,” which is protected expression.
In February, we were contacted by a state employee whose employers were considering whether she could continue to display in her workspace a flag from the Disabled Rights Action Committee. The DRAC flag is much like the American flag; however, the stars are arranged to represent the international access symbol of a person in a wheelchair. The state’s review was in response to complaints from the woman’s co-worker, who saw the flag not as an expression of support for rights for people with disabilities, but as flag desecration. The force of that complaint overrode the fact that members of the public would not see the flag; that for the two previous years when the woman had worked in a different division of the same department, the flag had hung in her workspace without incident; or that flag desecration, including flag burning, is a constitutionally protected form of political speech. The situation demonstrated the problems with unconstitutional statutes that remain on the books—the woman’s co-worker cited Utah’s unconstitutional and unenforceable statute banning flag desecration—and the intimidation that necessarily occurs when government officials investigate violations of these statutes. (In 2003, the ACLU of Utah advocated on behalf of a Park City woman who had been told by police officers that she was in violation of the flag desecration statute because she had painted a large peace symbol on the United States flag, which she then hung up on her front porch to protest the war in Iraq). The ACLU of Utah provided the employee with the information she needed to favorably resolve the situation, and she continues to display the flag in her cubicle.
Rather than do away with Utah’s unconstitutional flag desecration statute, lawmakers instead passed another statute that unconstitutionally restricts free speech. HB 260, “Amendments Related to Pornographic and Harmful Materials,” seeks to put the government in charge of what should be the responsibility of parents—namely identifying and restricting Internet sites that are inappropriate for their children. In doing so, the law unconstitutionally limits the free speech rights of Internet content providers and may negatively impact Internet users who have no wish to restrict the sites to which they have access. The bill, which has a $250,000 fiscal note, requires the Attorney General’s Office to create an “adult content registry” containing the URLs of all Internet sites worldwide that are not “access restricted” and that contain “material harmful to minors,” speech that is unlawful to intentionally distribute to children yet is lawful for adults to access. Once contacted by the Attorney General’s Office, Utah-based content providers will have to restrict access to their sites through an as-yet-to-be-defined rating system to avoid being charged with a third-degree felony crime. Additionally, the bill requires Internet service providers, at customer request, to block access to sites listed on the adult content registry as well as to those sites they can identify as containing material harmful to minors. As we stated in our letters of opposition to both the House of Representatives and to Governor Huntsman, a number of U.S. Supreme Court cases have established that the First Amendment does not allow the government to compel speakers to say something they do not want to say, and that includes pejorative ratings like those mandated by HB 260. Further troubles with the bill include technical problems with blocking systems, a vague definition of what it means to be a Utah-based content provider, and the lack of an appeals process for content providers who wish to challenge the Attorney General’s designation that their sites contain harmful material. Right to Protest
Lawmakers also considered but did not pass another bill that posed free speech concerns. HB 131, “Access to Health Care Facilities and Places of Worship,” would have limited demonstration and leafleting activities near health care facilities and places of worship by creating an eight-foot floating buffer zone around patients or churchgoers who are within one hundred feet of an entrance to either type of building. In addition to providing criminal penalties for protesters who violate the law, the bill also would have allowed a patient or churchgoer to sue protesters for civil damages. Although the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a similar Colorado law aimed at anti-abortion protesters, it did so only after carefully examining that state’s unique history of violent protests on both sides of the abortion issue and evidence of intimidation of those who sought abortion services. With the exception of a few altercations between members of the Worldwide Fellowship of Street Preachers and LDS Church conference attendees—incidents that were appropriately addressed by Salt Lake City regulations regarding demonstrations near the LDS Church’s Main Street Plaza—there is no similar history of conflict to justify a statewide restriction on free speech. The ACLU of Utah testified in opposition to the bill, which the sponsor eventually withdrew after pledging to introduce it in a future session. Youth and Student Issues
As citizens-in-training, it is especially important for young people to understand their constitutional rights in public schools and in the world at large. Last year, the ACLU of Utah gave several presentations on the rights of young people, and often, these events were as much a learning experience for us as they were for the students. It was at one of these presentations, for example, that a Murray High School student asked us about a sign she had seen posted at the United States Army recruiting booth in her high school. It stated, “Missionary Program: Finance Your Mission and College through Army Reserves,” and the student was understandably concerned about possible military support for a specific religious practice. In December, we contacted the army and learned that it does not provide funding for missions. Their attorney agreed that the sign could be perceived as an endorsement of religion and he guaranteed that it would not be used in future recruitment activities. LGBT Students
Last November, the ACLU of Utah presented on “LGBT Rights in the Public Schools” at the regional conference of the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network. The presentation was particularly relevant because Utah high school students continue to take a leadership role in pushing for the rights of lesbian, gay, and bisexual students. In May, the ACLU of Utah defended Hillcrest High School students who were suspended for wearing t-shirts to school with the anti-tobacco message, “Queers Kick Ash.” School administrators also threatened to ban the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance. The resulting controversy led to the Utah Department of Health’s unfortunate decision to pull a grant it had issued to the GLBT Community Center that funded the development of a much-needed anti-smoking campaign aimed at lesbian and gay youth. The campaign’s teen task force had created the t-shirts and distributed them to students at several high schools in the Salt Lake City area. Later in the year, the ACLU of Utah criticized a new Copper Hills High School policy requiring parental permission for those students who wished to bring same-sex partners to their school dances (there was no such requirement for co-ed couples). Shortly afterwards, the school changed its discriminatory policy.
Equal Access for Girls
Not all issues happened in school. In November, the ACLU of Utah advocated on behalf of Candace Workman, a 14-year-old middle school student and avid wrestler, who was not allowed to participate in a wrestling tournament sponsored by Spanish Fork City. In October, Candace and her family contacted us after being told that she could not register in the tournament’s boys’ division, despite the fact that there were no other registrants in the newly created girls’ division. Candace, who has wrestled competitively for more than seven years and had successfully participated in the Spanish Fork tournament in the past, could not understand why she was in effect being excluded from the event. After the ACLU of Utah intervened on Candace’s behalf, she was able to compete. Candace’s father had this to say about her experience at the tournament: “When she pinned a couple of her opponents, the crowd went wild. I definitely was surprised by the support she was shown by teams from all over the state. Candace held her head high and wrestled her heart out.” Not only did Candace finish third overall at Spanish Fork, but later that school year, she went on to become the first female wrestler to win the Utah State Wrestling Championship and receive the State Outstanding Wrestler Award.
Lesbian and Gay Equality
In the fight for lesbian and gay equality, one issue dominated this past year: Constitutional Amendment 3, which, on January 1, added to Utah’s constitution the definition of marriage as a legal union only between a man and a woman, and banned the state from giving any other union the same or substantially equivalent legal effect as marriage. Early in the fight against Amendment 3, the ACLU of Utah joined the Don’t Amend Alliance, a diverse and active coalition formed to educate Utahns about the damaging effects of Amendment 3 and the benefits of extending marriage rights to same-sex couples. As part of this campaign, the ACLU of Utah provided background legal information and granted interviews to the press; presented on the legal aspects of Amendment 3 at a variety of places, including Utah Valley State College and the BYU Law School; and helped mobilize voters in the days before the election. Unfortunately, last November Utah was one of eleven states that passed amendments banning same-sex marriage to their state constitutions. Since the election, we have continued to educate the public about what Amendment 3 can and cannot do. Most recently, we were invited to talk about the issue at the twenty-third annual State and Local Government Conference sponsored by the J. Reuben Clark Law School (BYU). We remain committed to examining how the state’s interpretation of what is “substantially equivalent” to marriage will determine the amendment’s application.
In the Legislature
During their annual legislative session, lawmakers were characteristically squeamish about extending basic rights to lesbians and gay men. SB 89, “Mutual Dependence Benefits Contract Act,” sought to ameliorate some of the harm done by the passage of Amendment 3. The bill would have allowed two adults not eligible for marriage to create “mutual dependence benefits contracts” to provide for shared rights and responsibilities regarding property ownership and health-related matters. SB 89 died early in the session. Also, lawmakers passed SB 14, “Uniform Parentage Act,” which provides legal recognition for some surrogacy contracts. In doing so, they made sure that only married couples have the right to contract with gestational surrogate mothers, thus eliminating surrogacy as an option for same-sex couples in Utah who wish to start a family. And, for the ninth year in a row, legislators failed to amend the state’s hate crimes law, and many believe that, as in past years, the failure of HB 50, “Criminal Penalty Amendment,” was due in large part to the inclusion of sexual orientation in the bill’s list of biases.
Voting Rights and Elections
Last November’s presidential elections were the first after the extremely close and problematic race of 2000, and as a result, the ACLU and other organizations monitored polls throughout the country to ensure that everyone who was eligible and wanted to vote was given the opportunity to do so, that votes cast were counted accurately, and that election laws were applied uniformly. The ACLU of Utah was part of this important campaign, and prior to the elections, we created and published the Utah Voter Empowerment Guide, which outlined voters’ rights and responsibilities; developed online poll monitoring forms for members and supporters to fill out when they went to the polls; worked with the Disability Law Center to monitor polls on Election Day; and acted as the Utah legal representative for Election Protection, a national poll-watching campaign sponsored by the People for the American Way Foundation. Because of problems with voting equipment during the previous presidential election (the New York Times reported that in 2000, as many as six million presidential votes were lost for technical reasons), there was increased interest in the type of voting equipment states use. The ACLU of Utah issued a policy on electronic voting systems, and based on this paper, the Utah Elections Committee formally invited us to present at a pre-election public hearing on the selection of voting equipment.
The ACLU of Utah was also called upon to engage in some pre-election advocacy. In September, a Provo City firefighter contacted us because he was concerned that a new city policy would prohibit him from having the time off work he needed to cast his ballot on Election Day. Utah law requires that employers allow their employees “to be absent from service or employment on election day for not more than two hours between the time the polls open and close.” In contradiction to state law, the Provo policy created an exception for employees working in “positions designated as emergency response,” and required that these employees vote by absentee ballot. The ACLU of Utah contacted Provo City on the firefighter’s behalf, as well as the representative in the Utah Attorney General’s Office in charge of election issues. Happily, the end result was that Provo City re-examined and rescinded its policy and the firefighter was allowed to go to the polls on Election Day to cast his ballot.
Campaign Sign Laws
Late last summer, we were surprised to learn that many Utah cities and counties have ordinances that unconstitutionally restrict the political speech rights of voters and candidates by limiting when voters can post campaign signs on their properties. We contacted several cities about this issue and received assurances from most that they would not enforce their campaign sign laws. Unfortunately, Draper City chose to enforce its unconstitutional ordinance, and last September, the ACLU of Utah and cooperating attorney Brian Barnard filed a lawsuit against Draper on behalf of Draper residents Robert Latham and Heather Rice, and political candidate Ken Larsen. Latham and Rice wished to display campaign signs in their yards more than thirty days prior to Election Day, an action expressly prohibited by the ordinance unless the signs were left over from a primary election. This distinction between signs for candidates who stood for primary elections and those who did not meant that Ken Larsen, who ran for governor under the People’s Choice Party, could not display his signs until October 3. In contrast, signs for the Republican candidate, Jon Huntsman, were allowed any time after May 22, thirty days prior to the Republican primary election. The lawsuit called for an immediate temporary restraining order to prohibit Draper from enforcing the ordinance because it unconstitutionally interfered with free expression and political speech. Less than forty-eight hours after the complaint and request for an injunction were filed, Draper agreed not to enforce the offending ordinance prior to Election Day. Five weeks later, the city agreed to repeal the ordinance. As part of the settlement, the Draper City attorney wrote to city attorneys in all other cities in Salt Lake County suggesting they review and repeal similar ordinances.
Even after the elections, voting rights and election laws continued to be important issues. During the 2005 session of the Utah State Legislature, lawmakers passed HB 211, “Integrity of Election Results,” which attempts to address some of the concerns people have regarding electronic voting by requiring that all voting equipment “be capable of producing an auditable, voter verified paper trail of votes cast.” Under this law, voters who have used an automated system must be able to inspect a paper record of their vote before they leave the polling place, and this paper record will be available for any recount or challenge of the election results. HB 211 also allows poll watchers to “observe the election process and ensure its integrity.” Lawmakers considered but did not pass HB 267, “Election Day Voter Registration,” which would have allowed individuals to register to vote at their polling places on the day of the election. SB 67, “Election Law – Voter Requirements,” which would have required proof of citizenship for voter registration, also failed.
In a move that actually may make the ballot initiative process a little easier, lawmakers passed SB 11, “Initiative Petition Amendments,” which provides county clerks with another method of verifying whether a signer of an initiative petition is a registered voter. In addition to an exact address and name match—a verification process that disqualifies a potentially large number of people who have moved and forgotten to update their voting records—county clerks can now compare the signer’s name and birth date with their official registries. More true to form, legislators also passed HB 142, “Issues Submitted to Voters,” which requires the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget to provide an “initial fiscal impact review” of all proposed statewide and local ballot initiatives; requires that that review is prominently displayed on the petition signature sheet and on the ballot; and authorizes the legislature to repeal or amend a successful ballot initiative if the final fiscal impact statement exceeds the initial fiscal impact review by 15 percent or more. One wonders what would happen if legislators enacted a similar law regarding their own bills.
Last April, the ACLU of Utah joined the law firm of Strindberg Scholnick & Chamness in an important case challenging police excessive force. Six years ago, David Walker was shot four times by law enforcement in the driveway of his American Fork family home where he lived with his parents. His parents witnessed the shooting, as did his two sisters and his brother-in-law who lived next door on the same lot. Police were looking for David because his parents had reported the car he was driving as stolen. They did this because they knew David was suicidal, and were told that if the vehicle were reported stolen, law enforcement could assist in locating their son. David’s location was identified and, after he evaded the officers, an eventual slow-speed chase ensued. Officers from Orem, Pleasant Grove, and Utah County responded to various reports on dispatch, one of which stated that David was suicidal and was returning to the family home. There, David exited the car and family members came outside to see what the commotion was about. Standing in front of the car, David held a small knife to his wrist. Within seconds, several shots were fired and hit David. After the shooting, police aggressively kept the family inside the house for questioning and did not permit them to follow David to the hospital, where he died an hour and a half later. In 1999, the Walker family filed a section 1983 civil action case in federal district court against the Orem City Police Department, the Pleasant Grove Police Department, and the Utah County Sheriff’s Department charging law enforcement with excessive force and unlawful detention. The case is ongoing.
In October, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling that effectively resolved the case, U.S. v. Esparza-Mendoza. The ACLU of Utah had filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case, which involved a Mexican national who was prosecuted in 2002 for illegally reentering the United States. At issue was a ruling by federal district Judge Paul Cassell stating that the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition of unreasonable searches or seizures by law enforcement officers does not apply to undocumented immigrants who have previously been deported because of a felony charge. In its ruling, the Tenth Circuit rejected Judge Cassell’s decision that the detention was an illegal seizure, and concluded instead that “Esparza-Mendoza’s encounter with the police was consensual and thus did not implicate the Fourth Amendment.” By stating that law enforcement did not violate Esparza-Mendoza’s Fourth Amendment rights, the court implied that he does indeed have those rights; and, while the result is the same for Esparza-Mendoza, it is significant that the Tenth Circuit did not affirm Judge Cassell’s unprecedented reasoning for achieving that outcome.
Because individual lawsuits are rarely the most effective means of addressing instances of police abuse and misconduct, last summer, the ACLU of Utah created a manual to help people research and respond to situations in which they feel police officers have acted improperly. “What to Do if You Are a Victim of Police Misconduct in Utah” describes the various offices that investigate complaints against law enforcement officers, such as the agency’s internal affairs department, citizens’ oversight committees, the District Attorney’s Office, and the Office of Civil Rights. The manual also outlines how members of the public can use Utah’s open records law to obtain relevant information from law enforcement agencies. Our hope is that the manual will help individuals become effective advocates for constitutional police practices. It is unfortunate, however, that even as individuals use the tools outlined in the manual, they may still need our assistance. Last July, for example, the Lehi Police Department violated Utah’s open records law when they refused to provide Ronnie Sorensen with the police contact report involving her son. Within a week of receiving a letter from our office, the department contacted Sorensen and provided her with a copy of the records she had requested.
Post 9/11 Issues
Like all ACLU affiliates, the ACLU of Utah continues to focus on the civil liberties implications of the government’s various responses to the 2001 terrorist attacks. Following is a summary of the ACLU of Utah’s work on post-9/11 civil liberties during our 2004-2005 year:
• By working with a diverse coalition that included the Utah Eagle Forum, the Utah Progressive Network, the Libertarian Party, the League of Women Voters, and the Conservative Caucus, the ACLU of Utah was able to convince Utah Senator Orrin Hatch of the need to hold field hearings in Salt Lake City for the United States Senate Judiciary Committee, of which Senator Hatch is chair. Entitled “Preventing and Responding to Acts of Terrorism: A Review of Current Law,” the hearings were specifically about the PATRIOT Act. On April 14, the committee convened at the moot court room of the University of Utah College of Law. We helped organize the hearing and worked with our national office to prepare testimony criticizing sections of the act. In May, we provided the committee with follow-up information they had requested from us after the hearing.
• In April 2004, we advocated on behalf of the Salt Lake Greater Islamic Society, which was not allowed to testify at the Senate Judiciary Committee field hearing. We then worked with the organization to draft an opinion piece on the PATRIOT Act that was published in the Salt Lake Tribune.
• Also in April, we co-sponsored a free screening of the documentary “Persons of Interest,” which features testimonials from several of the thousands of Muslim Americans detained after September 11, 2001. Over 350 people attended the screening and the subsequent panel discussion with the filmmaker and representatives from the ACLU of Utah, Senator Hatch’s office, and the Utah Islamic Society.
• Last spring, we advocated on behalf of a blind African American Muslim woman who had been harassed by employees and private security guards at the Social Security Office. Among other things, the employees reportedly refused to help her and made inappropriate comments in relation to her race, her Muslim name, and her head scarf. Private security officers also misidentified themselves as agents of the Department of Homeland Security, an action for which they were later reprimanded.
• In September, we were invited to participate in a sixteen hour course sponsored by the regional FBI office. In its second year, the FBI educational program was started by the Department of Justice as a way to teach reporters and others about the department. During the course, we were able to raise constitutional concerns of the FBI questioning of Muslim Americans. The contacts we made at the FBI may help us resolve issues that are brought to our attention in the future.
• In the fall, we participated in two screenings of “Unconstitutional,” a documentary about the PATRIOT Act. The screenings were sponsored by the Grassroots Theatre Network and the Salt Lake City Underground Video Resistance, and we presented on and answered questions about the PATRIOT Act before the film.
• In March, we featured Ambassador Joseph Wilson as our keynote speaker at our annual Bill of Rights Celebration. A member of the diplomatic service from 1976 until 1998, Ambassador Wilson was assigned to investigate assertions that Saddam Hussein attempted to procure materials for nuclear weapons. Finding nothing, he later publicly challenged remarks President Bush made in his 2003 State of the Union Address justifying the war in Iraq; the administration allegedly retaliated by outing Wilson’s wife as an undercover CIA agent. Ambassador Wilson spoke about his belief that government functions best when the public has access to accurate and complete information.
• Throughout the year, we sponsored or participated in numerous presentations on post-9/11 civil liberties to a variety of groups, including the American Constitutional Society of the BYU Law School, the University of Utah College of Law, the American Inns of Court, the National Council of Jewish Women, and visiting Imams from Afghanistan.
Prison and Jails
Last year, a 23-year-old search case involving the Salt Lake County Jail resurfaced. In 1982, law enforcement officers pulled over Judith Regan, an out-of-state reporter, for a traffic violation. Regan refused to sign the ticket because it required a statement that she would appear in court within a specific time frame and she knew she would no longer be in Salt Lake City at that time. She was then handcuffed and eventually strip searched by county law enforcement, in violation of her Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. ACLU of Utah cooperating attorneys Robert Anderson, Rocky Anderson, and Wayne McCormick filed an action on Regan’s behalf against the Salt Lake County Jail, and as a result, a consent decree was entered into restricting the circumstances under which the Salt Lake County Jail could constitutionally conduct strip searches. Last November, the county asked the federal court to terminate the consent decree, claiming that there are no current constitutional violations and that the current search procedures at the jail meet constitutional standards. Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act, passed by Congress in 1996, consent decrees that exceed constitutional standards may be terminated in appropriate cases. The ACLU of Utah and cooperating attorney Bob Anderson opposed Salt Lake County’s motion and requested that the court appoint an expert to review jail procedures and complaints to determine whether or not there are current and ongoing violations of federal rights at the Salt Lake County Jail. If current policy passes constitutional muster, then termination of the consent decree may be reasonable. The matter is currently being considered by federal district Judge Bruce Jenkins.
The ACLU of Utah also challenged a Cache County Jail policy that prohibited inmates from owning books sent to them during their incarceration. In January, John Morris Kinter, then a federal pre-trial detainee at the Cache County Jail, ordered and paid for a legal dictionary to be mailed to him. When the book arrived that month, officials informed him that according to jail policy, the dictionary now belonged to the Cache County Jail and would remain at that facility after his release or transfer. In February, the ACLU of Utah and cooperating attorney Brian Barnard filed a federal lawsuit on Kinter’s behalf asking that the policy be declared unconstitutional because it violated inmates’ First Amendment rights and because the confiscation of books is an unconstitutional taking without due process. Shortly after the lawsuit was filed, Cache County Jail informally changed its policy and Kinter was allowed to take his book when he was transferred to another facility.
Each year, the ACLU of Utah receives hundreds of complaints from Utah State Prison inmates, and we review each one to identify individual complaints that we may be able to resolve, as well as systemic problems within Utah’s correctional facilities. Our relationships with representatives from the Department of Corrections and with other prison advocates are essential to effectively address the problems we’ve identified. Every month, we attend the Department of Corrections’ Focus Meeting, and every quarter, its mini-Focus Meeting, where key representatives from the Department of Corrections explain prison policies and programs and where inmate advocates seek resolution to the problems they’ve identified. Particularly important are our collaborations with the Disability Law Center on issues affecting people with disabilities, and with the Prisoner Information Network, which provides much-needed support to inmates and their families. Still, the DOC is at times limited by the Utah State Legislature, which sets its budget and priorities. It is therefore important that those who set prison policy have as complete a picture as possible about Utah’s correctional facilities, and last December, we were heartened when Governor Huntsman’s transition team requested a presentation from us about the complaints we’ve received from prisoners.
On April 24, more than a million people convened in Washington, DC to demand an end to government attacks on women’s health. The March for Women’s Lives was the largest march for reproductive freedom in history, and the ACLU was a leading voice in the event. Like ACLU affiliates around the country, the ACLU of Utah sent its own delegation to the march. ACLU of Utah board member Jill Sheinberg was there, as well as ACLU of Utah intern Shannon Harper, who had this to say about her experience: “Smiling, I trudged two miles through a sea of thousands of people, screaming pro-choice chants at the top of my lungs, waving three signs high in the air for four incredible hours. Despite the physical effort, when I finished the March for Women’s Lives I was euphorically transported to feminist heaven! I am proud to tell anyone who will listen that I participated in the largest march in American history along with 1.15 million likeminded people.”
Not surprisingly, the Utah State Legislature was unaffected by this strong show of support for reproductive rights. Lawmakers passed SB 14, “Uniform Parentage Act,” despite the fact that it negatively impacts reproductive and parental rights. SB 14 allows some married couples to contract with gestational surrogate mothers to carry and deliver their babies. Unfortunately, the bill only allows a gestational mother to terminate a surrogacy contract before she is implanted with an embryo rather than after she is pregnant or has given birth. The bill also requires medical evidence that “the intended mother is unable to bear a child or is unable to do so without unreasonable risk to her physical or mental health or to the unborn child,” and it limits gestational agreements to married couples. Finally, SB 14 may limit the gestational mother’s control over her medical care by only allowing her to make treatment decisions that will safeguard her health or that of the fetus.
Legislators did not pass a bill that would have improved women’s access to basic health care. SB 111, “Amendments Prohibiting Health Insurance Discrimination,” sought to address an alarming gender inequity in the coverage of prescription drugs by requiring health insurance policies and health maintenance organization contracts to provide coverage for the cost of prescriptive contraceptives. The bill was in accordance with decisions from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and a federal district court in Washington State, which, in 2001, both concluded that an employer’s failure to cover contraceptives in employee health plans that cover other prescription drugs and devices constitutes unlawful gender discrimination. Twenty-two states have adopted laws similar to SB 111, which never made it out of senate committee.
As a private organization, the ACLU of Utah receives no government funding and never charges its clients for legal representation. Our existence depends entirely upon private donations, foundation grants, court-awarded legal fees from successful cases, and membership fees from Utahns who are dedicated to preserving fundamental civil liberties.
The following is the combined ACLU of Utah Union and ACLU of Utah Foundation unaudited financial report for April 1, 2004 through March 31, 2005:*Revenue
Contributions and membership $181,770
Legal awards $21,405
Interest and miscellaneous $4,377
TOTAL REVENUE $367,302Expense
Management and development $61,345
Legislative work $13,632
TOTAL EXPENSES $340,806
*The American Civil Liberties Union of Utah is comprised of two separate corporate entities: the ACLU of Utah Union (or the Union) and the ACLU of Utah Foundation (or the Foundation). This annual report refers to the two organizations collectively as the “ACLU of Utah.” Although both the Union and the Foundation are part of the same overall organization, it is necessary that the ACLU of Utah have two separate organizations in order to do the broad range of work necessary to protect civil liberties. Because the ACLU of Utah Foundation is a nonprofit organization and is eligible to receive contributions that are tax-deductible to the contributor, federal law limits the extent to which it may engage in lobbying activities. Therefore, most of the lobbying done by the ACLU of Utah and described in this report is accomplished by the ACLU of Utah Union. By contrast, most of the ACLU of Utah’s litigation and public education efforts are done by the ACLU of Utah Foundation. More information about the differences between the Union and the Foundation is available on our website at www.acluutah.org.
For a complete audited financial report, please contact Dani Eyer at (801) 521-9862 ext 102.
About the ACLU of Utah
The ACLU of Utah was chartered in 1953 to work on constitutional issues that are pertinent to those living in this state. Our priorities include freedom of speech, expression, and association; freedom of religion, including the separation of church and state; the right to privacy; safe prison and jail conditions; and equal protection and due process of the laws.Staff
Dani Eyer, Executive Director
Carol Gnade, Development Director
Reinard Knutsen, Office Manager/Intake Coordinator
Stephanie Peterson, Project Coordinator/Field Organizer
Margaret Plane, Staff Attorney
Cori Sutherland, Communications DirectorBoard of Directors
Lincoln Hobbs, Legal Panel Director
Sue Marquardt, President
Robert WoodLegal Panel
Mary WoodheadCooperating Attorneys
ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
National Association of Federal DefendersLegal Clerks & Researchers
Special thanks also to Xmission for hosting
our Web site and Internet services.Contact Information
Salt Lake City, UT 84103
Phone: (801) 521-9862
Fax: (801) 532-2850