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The ACLU of Utah Activist

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Back to School Primer: Civil Asset Forfeiture

07 September 2016 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
“Civil asset forfeiture." Trust me, the name makes the practice sound more boring - and less controversial - than it actually is!

A Constitution In Every Pocket

19 August 2016 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
ACLU's free pocket Constitutions are back - get yours now and make sure you know your rights!

Guiding Principles for Juvenile Justice Reform

14 July 2016 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
The ACLU of Utah and several community-based partner organizations have presented this document to Utah's Juvenile Justice Working Group, to help frame a recently-launched effort to improve Utah's juvenile justice system.

Protect Our Virtual Medicine Cabinets!

13 July 2016 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
At the July 13 Legislative Interim Session, legislators reviewed an audit of Utah's Controlled Susbtance Database (CSD), and the impact of legislation passed in 2015 (with significant support from the ACLU of Utah) on use of that database by law enforcement. 

In Which a Utah Native Discovers the Irony of Calling Herself a "Utah Native"

30 June 2016 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
I have to admit, my primary observation during much of my recent work trip to San Juan County was this: San Juan County, the sprawling and sparsely-populated rural county that takes up most of the Southeastern corner of our state, is stunningly beautiful.

Welcome (Home) to Brittney Nystrom, our new Executive Director

28 June 2016 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
We are very excited to announce that the ACLU of Utah has selected Brittney Nystrom of Washington, D.C., as the organization's new executive director.

Supreme Court Issues a Victory For Women in Texas Abortion Case

27 June 2016 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
BREAKING NEWS: Supreme Court strikes down both provisions of HB2, the Texas law aimed at shutting down women's access to safe and legal abortion services. Great news for reproductive rights and health care access for women!

UPDATE: ACLU's GRAMA request for body camera footage related to Abdi Mohamed shooting

16 June 2016 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
The ACLU of Utah received an answer this week from the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s office in response to our Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA) request for the body camera footage of, and other information related to, the shooting of 18-year-old Abdi Mohamed on February 28, 2016.

YES ON SIX Update: New Commission is Prosecutor Free!

15 June 2016 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
We'll call it a victory: we've got a commission that approaches independence. 

ACLU Statement on Mass Shooting at Gay Nightclub in Orlando

13 June 2016 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
We stand in solidarity with the LGBT community, which appears to have been the target of this attack.

You Can't Criminalize Poverty to "Solve Homelessness."

08 June 2016 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
In our collective desperation to "solve homelessness," we sometimes forget that everyone - regardless of whether they have a home - has constitutional rights. Those rights must be taken into account when considering how to address issues related to poverty.

YES ON SIX: David's Story

06 June 2016 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
After spending just one year as the sole public defender in a rural Utah county, David Van Dyke did not renew his contract.

Mentally ill prisoners need treatment. Not tear gas.

18 May 2016 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
It is becoming more and more common to hear the sentiment, “People with mental illness need treatment, not jail time,” from policy makers, correctional administrators, legislators and even members of the general public.

Voter Access in San Juan County: Why It Matters So Much

03 May 2016 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
In rural areas of Utah, serious voter disenfranchisement is happening - decades after the original Voting Rights Act meant to end such discrimination.

YES ON SIX: Harry's Story

02 May 2016 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
“That looks like the guy who robbed me.” Those are the eight words that sent Harry Miller to prison for a crime he didn’t commit.

Why Race Matters: An Interview with Nubia Peña

19 April 2016 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
This article was first published in the Liberty Reporter: 2016 Spring Newsletter >> Nubia Peña is Program Coordinator for Racially Just Utah. Nubia will graduate from S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah in May 2016. She is also the founder and president of the Social Justice Student Initiative at the College of Law.  Formed from a series of discussions on racial issues, Racially Just Utah (RJU) has developed into a racially and ethnically diverse coalition with a mission to positively and proactively ensure racial equity in Utah. RJU is composed of organizations, service providers, students, parents, educators, attorneys, advocates, activists, and concerned community members. ACLU of Utah is proud to be a founding and supporting member.  Can you highlight what RJU accomplished in the past year? RJU partnered with the ACLU and Salt Lake Peer Court during the National Week of Action Against School Push-Out where we hosted a school-to-prison pipeline (STPP) awareness event for youth, educators, and parents. We also partnered to coordinate the 2nd Annual Youth Activism Leadership Conference where teens ages 12-18 attended workshops facilitated by longstanding and new upcoming leaders in our community.  RJU hosted our first annual “Breaking The Pipeline” Symposium at…

The Director’s Chair: We have begun a time of transition at the ACLU of Utah

19 April 2016 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
This article was first published in the Liberty Reporter: 2016 Spring Newsletter >> As we move into spring, we have begun a time of transition at the ACLU of Utah. I will be retiring this summer in order to have more time with my family. The board has begun the search process for a new Executive Director. This transition occurs at a time when we are a vibrant and effective organization with a strong board and a talented staff.  We have a terrific group of members, supporters and community partners across our state. The ACLU of Utah is on solid footing for the future. It’s a reminder that the good work we are able to do is a result of the efforts of many  I’ve felt deeply privileged to work with the ACLU both here in Utah and across the country. I have been encouraged and inspired by the depth of thoughtfulness, knowledge and strategic thinking that characterizes the ACLU.  The ACLU builds upon nearly 60 years of courageous and ambitious work in Utah and nearly 100  years nationally as it continues to serve as the ”Guardian of Liberty”. Each of you is an essential component in keeping us a…

Fighting for You: the 2016 Board of Directors

19 April 2016 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
This article was first published in the Liberty Reporter: 2016 Spring Newsletter >> Rear L - R: Cathleen Power, Barry Gomberg, Rachel Heller, Michael Weinholtz, Danielle Hawkes. Front L - R: Bill Orchow, Heidi Chamorro, Erin Castro, Forrest Crawford, Marian Edmonds-Allen, Russell Fericks, Clemens Landau, and Karen McCreary. Not pictured: Chase Clyde, Gina Cornia, Roderic Land.

YES ON SIX: Sue's Story

18 April 2016 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
While the state puts together an Indigent Defense Commission that will take at least a few years to take action, real people like Sue McAley are suffering NOW because of Utah's failing public defender system.

The President’s Corner: Michael Weinholtz

15 April 2016 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
This article was first published in the Liberty Reporter: 2016 Spring Newsletter >> Dear ACLU of Utah supporters: Greetings! My name is Michael Weinholtz and I am honored to serve as the board president of the ACLU of Utah. I assumed this role in January, after serving on the board of directors for two years. I am the former CEO and current Chairman of CHG Healthcare Services. CHG is the largest physician-staffing company in the United States, but is equally known as a business that focuses on making a positive difference in the world through community service, medical missions, and philanthropy. My family and I moved to Salt Lake City for this business opportunity with CHG nearly 20 years ago; and we have fondly called Utah home ever since. My wife, Donna, and I are long-time members of the ACLU and committed advocates for civil rights and liberties.  As someone who has led teams and organizations for over 30 years, I have been extremely impressed and inspired by the job that Karen McCreary, our executive director, has done in building an outstanding staff and affiliate. Over the last ten years, Karen has raised the profile of the ACLU of Utah…