Our legal team is currently investigating or litigating a half-dozen cases—from prisoner abuse to immigrants’ rights

Porter v. Daggett County and Asay v. Daggett County (2018)
Issue: Criminal justice
Constitutional claim: Cruel and unusual punishment / 8th Amendment

Background: This spring, we filed lawsuits on behalf of three individuals seeking damages and injunctive relief for the extreme brutality they experienced while incarcerated at the Daggett County Jail. Our clients allege that they were shocked with a Taser for guards’ entertainment, attacked by police dogs, physically assaulted, threatened with a gun, and denied medical and mental health care. The widespread abuse at the Daggett County Jail led to guilty pleas from four former employees and forced the state to remove its prisoners and close the facility. 

Update: We opposed the state defendants’ motions to dismiss them from the cases. Our clients sued to force more protective policies for state prisoners in county jails, which would benefit them and the one-in-five state prisoners presently in county jails.

Ramirez v. Reddish (2018)
Issue: Immigrants’ rights
Constitutional claim: Unlawful search and seizure / 4th Amendment

Background: In February, we sued agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the U.S Marshals, and state and local agencies over two SWAT-style home raids on our clients’ home in Heber City in April 2017. During these raids, more than a dozen agents dressed in military-style gear and carrying assault-style weapons terrorized the family by breaking down their front door, ransacking their house, and threatening to take their children away. Our lawsuit asserts the agents violated the family’s constitutionally-guaranteed rights to be free from unreasonable and unlawful searches and seizures, and use of excessive force.

Update: The defendants have all filed answers to our amended complaint and a trial is scheduled for October 2019 after a period for factual discovery and other proceedings.

Disability Law Center v. Utah (2017)
Issue: Disability rights
Constitutional claim: Right to counsel / 6th Amendment

Background: Last summer, the ACLU of Utah filed a lawsuit demanding the right to legal counsel for anyone who is a respondent to a legal guardianship petition. The lawsuit also challenges a 2016 Utah law that lowered legal counsel requirements for people with disabilities. We believe that every Utahn facing the loss of self-determination and control of their assets is entitled to independent legal counsel.

Update: Settlement talks continue this fall between the plaintiffs and the State of Utah.

ACLU of Utah v. Davis County (2018)
Issue: Criminal justice
Constitutional claim: Cruel and unusual punishment / 8th Amendment

Background: In May, the ACLU of Utah filed suit against Davis County over their refusal to provide complete records regarding the standards for prisoner health and safety used in the county’s jail, as well as the final audit reports reflecting the jail’s compliance. We requested those records from Davis County as part of our investigation into county jail practices and procedures after a surge of inmate deaths in Utah jails.

Update: The case is scheduled to be ready for trial in May 2019. 

This article was first published in the Liberty Reporter: 2018 Fall Newsletter >>