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ACLU Says Businesses Need to Also Start Hiring Ex-Criminals

A report issued last week by the American Civil Liberties Union implores the business community to help put people with criminal records–that’s one-third of adults in the U.S.– back to work, for the good of the economy.

According to a 2016 study by the Center for Economy and Policy Research, barriers to employment for people with a criminal history is costing the U.S. between $78 and $87 billion in annual GDP. And, as the ACLU points out, unemployment is the most significant factor in recidivism, leading to increased prison costs.

“By expanding the hiring pool to include people with criminal histories, companies can improve their bottom line, reduce recidivism and incarceration costs, avoid discriminatory practices, and increase public safety,” the report reads.

Several recent studies have found that people with a criminal record tend to keep their jobs longer, and can reduce a company’s rate of employee turnover. The latest literature includes a Northwestern University report on Criminal Background and Job Performance (2017), and an ongoing investigation by the Johns Hopkins Health Resource Center.

The ACLU cites Walmart and Koch Industries, both of whom have adopted ‘Ban-the-Box’ practices, as fair chance leaders in the business community. Companies that adhere to these policies do not ask job seekers to disclose criminal history until a conditional offer has been made. In the case of Walmart, a background check is only performed once someone has accepted an offer, and hiring teams and HR personnel are not made aware of any convictions disclosed– “only whether the candidate is eligible for hire or deferred for hire to a later date based on the final results of the report.” Candidates with a criminal history are allowed to participate in a review, providing additional information about education, and efforts at rehabilitation.

In addition to advocating for wider adoption of Ban-the-Box legislation, the ACLU advises companies to consider pair with local workforce development programs, whocan advise them on tax credits, offer case management for employees with criminal histories, and educate companies on state and local laws.

A major concern for employers is liability: in hiring someone with a criminal record, companies fear it will be difficult to get private malfeasance insurance for that individual, or that they will be found negligible if the employee harms someone else on the job. But according to the ACLU, liability risk is actually low for employers who follow the national Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines. On the policy side, the ACLU advocates for the expansion of state laws that restrict employee liability. Several states have already adopted such legislation, including Texas, Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, and Tennessee.

Ultimately, argues the ACLU report, education is the key to reducing unemployment, recidivism, and prison costs: for every $1 spent on education, $5 is saved on correctional costs. The business community can help by partnering with local workforce development programs; offering tuition assistance; lobbying legislators to expand prison education programs, as well as educational institutions to ‘Ban the Box’ themselves.

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Three More Federal Judges plus a Federal Magistrate Stop Trump’s Immigration Executive Order 

Three more federal district court judges, along with a federal district court magistrate, have issued rulings barring authorities from deporting people detained at US airports following President Donald Trump’s executive order restricting entry to travelers from seven countries with Muslim-majorities.

Judges in Massachusetts, Virginia and Washington state followed Judge Ann Donnelly from New York’s Eastern district in issuing their rulings on Saturday night and Sunday morning. The rulings limit the so-called ‘Muslim ban’ to varying degrees.

Trump has rejected suggestions that the executive order, called “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States”, is a Muslim ban.

The order indefinitely suspended the intake of refugees from Syria and blocked people from six other Muslim-majority countries – Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen – from entering the US for 90 days.

It also stops the admission of all refugees for at least 120 days while the government puts a new vetting system in place.
Judge Donnelly temporarily blocked authorities nationwide from deporting immigrants when she ruled on a lawsuit taken by two men from Iraq, Hameed Khalid Darweesh and Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi, who were being held at JFK Airport.

Next, Judge Leonie Brinkema, in the Eastern District of Virginia, issued a temporary restraining order giving all permanent legal residents detained at Dulles Airport access to lawyers, and blocking the petitioners from being removed.

In the very early hours of Sunday morning two judges in Boston, Judge Allison Burroughs and Magistrate Judge Judith Dein, also imposed a seven-day restraining order against Trump’s executive order.

The legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Massachusetts, Matthew Segal, described Burroughs’ order as “a huge victory for justice.”
“We told President Trump we would see him in court if he ordered this unconstitutional ban on Muslims. He tried, and federal courts in Boston and throughout the nation stopped it in its tracks,” Segal said in a statement.

District Judge Thomas Zilly, in the Western District of Washington, issued another order stopping any deportations on Sunday morning.
These overnight rulings immediately blocked enforcement of the ban to various degrees. The Department of Homeland Security issued a statement on Sunday saying it would comply with court rulings while at the same time implementing Trump’s order “to ensure that those entering the United States do not pose a threat to our country or the American people.

“Prohibited travel will remain prohibited, and the U.S. government retains its right to revoke visas at any time if required for national security or public safety,” the statement read.

“No foreign national in a foreign land, without ties to the United States, has any unfettered right to demand entry into the United States or to demand immigration benefits in the United States.”

Later Sunday, senior Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway claimed that Judge Donnelly’s decision “doesn’t really affect the executive order.”

“The judge in Brooklyn, the Obama appointee judge in Brooklyn’s stay of order really doesn’t affect the executive order at all, because the executive order is meant to be prospective… It’s preventing not detaining,” she told Fox News.

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Nebraska is Torturing its Juvenile Detainees For Having Too Many Books.

Carey Wedler
January 8, 2016

 (ANTIMEDIA) A report released by the Nebraska American Civil Liberties Union this week reveals the state’s extensive use of solitary confinement in children across multiple juvenile detention centers. Solitary confinement is considered a form of torture by the U.N., and in recent years, has been outlawed and scaled back in the United States. In Nebraska, however, children are being forced into isolation for offenses as minor as having too many books or passing notes.

According to the Center for Constitutional Rights, in the early 19th century, the United States pioneered solitary confinement as a form of punishment. After its damaging psychological effects became apparent, however, it was discontinued. Though the practice recently regained popularity, it has once again been skewered as excessive and dangerous.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Mendez, concluded in 2011 that “even 15 days in solitary confinement constitutes torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and 15 days is the limit after which irreversible harmful psychological effects can occur.

“Considering the severe mental pain or suffering solitary confinement may cause,” Mendez said, “it can amount to torture…when used as a punishment, during pre-trial detention, indefinitely or for a prolonged period, for persons with mental disabilities or juveniles.” Mendez, an Argentinian human rights activist and attorney who was personally tortured by the military in his native country in the 1970s, urged an “absolute prohibition” on solitary confinement for juveniles and those with mental illness.

Experts stress that because children are not developmentally mature, the effects of torture may be more pronounced. The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatrists opposes the practice altogether though Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative recommends it be used for no more than four hours — a guideline Nebraska facilities routinely violate.

Reports from recent years indicate many states are taking efforts to reduce the extent of the practice, including many of Nebraska’s neighboring states.

Even New York’s Rikers Island, notorious for its abuse of prisoners, moved last year to discontinue the use of solitary confinement for inmates under the age of 21. A successful class action suit filed in 2015 on behalf of California inmates at the Pelican Bay State Prison had sweeping effects on the state’s solitary confinement system.

Nebraska, however, has not followed this trend, in spite of the psychological consequences and multiple violations of constitutional rights that come along with it.

Concerned by previous findings on the state’s use of solitary confinement on children, the Nebraska branch of the ACLU examined written policies from different facilities on the practice. It also issued open records requests to obtain logs detailing the implementation of the punishment.

The ACLU found, “A young Nebraskan’s experience with solitary confinement is completely arbitrary and dependent upon the facility in which he or she is placed.”

For example, two facilities run by the Department of Health and Human Services, located in Geneva and Kearney, had individual stays in solitary that lasted at most 5 and 5.1 days, respectively. Both institutions have policies limiting confinement to five days though this duration is still longer than experts recommend. A county facility located in Sarpy had relatively low numbers; its longest stay was less than half a day. Interestingly, it does not have a policy dictating limits on the practice.

The longest stay at the state’s Nebraska Correctional Youth Facility, located in Douglas County, was 90 days — 75 days longer than the maximum recommended for adults. That facility’s shortest stay was a full day, also longer than the recommended duration for children. A county facility located in Madison County, the Northeast Nebraska Juvenile Services Center, had, at least, one solitary sentence lasting 52 days. Its shortest, like the Douglas facility, was one full day.

The length of the average stay often exceeded the recommended length of time at each facility (four hours), as well. Kearney and Geneva averaged confinement durations of 20.8 and 50.24 hours, respectively. Others were slightly lower, as in the case of a county facility in Lancaster, which averaged 14.15-hour stays. However, employees at Lancaster likely sentenced a higher volume of children to confinement, considering the total number of days spent in solitary at the facility was 455.85; though the stays were relatively short, they were distributed across a high number of students and were still longer than recommended. The ACLU noted Lancaster’s solitary logs “demonstrate the seemingly often arbitrary and subjective use of solitary confinement as a form of punishment.”

The Nebraska Correctional Youth Facility in Douglas County, which ranked highest for its longest individual stay — 90 days — ranked second highest in the average length of punishment: 187.66 hours or nearly eight days. Children spent 2,021.04 total days in solitary confinement. Further, Madison County’s state-run Northeast NE Juvenile Services Center had the longest average stay: 189.16 hours. The total days spent in solitary by all juvenile inmates was 1,064.

According to the ACLU, this problem disproportionately affects minorities. Though only 20% of youth in Nebraska are “of color,” the ACLU reports, they make up 55% of the juvenile detention population in the state.

Regardless of race, the ACLU suggested the overuse of the punishment occurs because “The lack of statewide standards leaves facilities with far too much discretion, often resulting in the use of solitary confinement for improper or unnecessary purposes.” While some facilities allow students to attend educational activities while in solitary, others enforce complete isolation. The inciting activities of students are equally arbitrary.

Citing official logs detailing children sentenced to the punishment, the Nebraska ACLU noted one student was sent for rummaging through garbage to look for cookies, failing to stop when asked. Another was doing pull ups on a window ledge. One passed a note in class, yet another was caught talking in the hallway, and one deviant had a thread from a sock in their mouth. Most egregiously, two instances of solitary confinement were prompted after children were determined to have an “excessive” number of books. Often, the punishment excludes the child from attending educational classes or so much as socializing with other children, further limiting their ability to learn.

Jacob Rusher was held at the Douglas Correctional Youth Facility from the age of 15 to 17. He told the ACLU he was placed in solitary confinement for three months on multiple occasions. First, it was for his own protection after he broke his ankle. Then, he says he was placed in solitary after being attacked by older detainees: “It was 23 hours a day alone, no TV or radio,” he said. “You were in there with one book, a blanket, a mat, and a toothbrush. No art materials, no hobby items — everything was considered contraband.

Solitary confinement can have staggering consequences. As the ACLU report detailed:

For adults, the effects can be persistent mental health problems, or worse, suicide. And for children, who are still developing and more vulnerable to irreparable harm, the risks of solitary are magnified – protracted isolation and solitary confinement can be permanently damaging, especially for those with mental illness.”

Yet in one case study, the ACLU found a female inmate who threatened self-harm was subsequently placed in solitary confinement. Lisa, now an adult, recalled her experience. “Ironically (because I was in solitary for self-harm), I survived my time alone by just falling back on hurting myself,” she said. “I’d bite my own cheeks and tongue, banging my head on the wall.

Though it seems the world is evolving past this form of cruel and unusual punishment, Nebraska’s practices demonstrate there is still work to be done. The ACLU offered several recommendations to scale back and standardize solitary confinement, including using it as a last resort, ensuring due process — such as letting the inmate know why they are subjected to it — and mandating staff members be educated in youth development, mental health, and de-escalation techniques.

As Lisa observed:

What are the facilities trying to accomplish? If it is to manage somebody’s behavior so they don’t harm themselves or someone else, it doesn’t work — it just creates more isolation, anger and separation and hopelessness. We need to be cognizant of how many traumatic and difficult, violating experiences these youths have already had. Solitary just re-traumatizes them. Much of what was done to me was out of ignorance, not evil, but I want people to recognize that we can change things for the better.”

This article (Nebraska Is Torturing Incarcerated Youth for Having Too Many Books, Passing Notes) is a free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Carey Wedler and Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11 pm Eastern/8 pm Pacific. If you spot a typo,

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Seeking Justice: Abuse, Neglect, Torture and 346 Deaths in Florida Prisons in 2014

MIAMI — A coalition of 14 human rights groups Thursday called for a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into Florida state prisons, contending that “immediate intervention” is necessary to stop the widespread abuse, neglect, torture and deaths of inmates in the Florida Department of Corrections.

In a letter to Assistant Attorney General Vanita Guputa, the group cited a list of suspected criminal and civil rights violations against prisoners, including torture and death by starvation, excessive use of force, medical neglect, misuse of solitary confinement, suicide, sexual assault and death and torture by scalding.

As examples, the letter cites 17 inmates who allegedly died under one or more of those conditions, as well as three others who continue to suffer as a result of violence and neglect suffered in the state prison system.

“Given the Florida Department of Corrections’ pattern and practice of consistently failing to remedy these pervasive and egregious problems, only the Department of Justice can properly address these violations,” the coalition wrote.

The group, headed by Florida’s ACLU, expressed particular concern about the abuse and deaths of inmates who suffer from mental illnesses, citing several who have died in recent years under suspicious circumstances. One of those inmates, Darren Rainey, died in 2012 after he was left for more than two hours in a shower with temperatures in excess of 180 degrees. Rainey’s death is already the subject of a federal civil rights inquiry, as well as a state criminal investigation. Rainey, who suffered from schizophrenia, was allegedly forced into the shower by corrections officers at Dade Correctional Institution near Homestead and left there, as punishment, for bad behavior.

The Miami-Dade medical examiner has yet to release his cause of death, and the criminal investigation into his death is still pending.

Several other deaths at Dade Correctional Institution were cited, including Richard Mair, another inmate who suffered from mental illness who hanged himself at the prison in 2014. He had previously complained that he and other mentally ill inmates were being sexually violated, beaten and mentally abused at the prison. After his death, a suicide note was found sewn into his boxers that listed a number of abuses, and it contained the names of officers whom he claimed were regularly beating inmates or forcing them to fight each other for sport.

His death and the allegations he made has never been investigated by police or by the corrections department.

Other examples included Ricky Martin, a 24-year-old convicted burglar, who was killed at Santa Rosa Correctional Institution. He was beaten, stabbed and stomped on by a fellow inmate despite numerous pleas by him and other inmates to stop the killer, who had vowed earlier in the day to kill Martin because he was white. Corrections officers were warned, but ignored the pleas, according to more than a dozen inmates interviewed by the agency after the death. No corrections officers were disciplined.

Nearly all the cases cited in the letter were part of an ongoing series about corruption and violence in Florida prisons by the Miami Herald. For more than a year, the newspaper has reviewed thousands of documents, conducted hundreds of interviews and visited prisons where prisoners have alleged they’ve seen or they themselves have been mentally, physically and sexually abused. In most cases, few, if any, corrections officers or wardens were held accountable. And the circumstances surrounding the deaths were often covered up, according to witnesses.

In recent months, the Florida Department of Corrections has made several reforms to try to improve prison conditions. More than a dozen corrections officers have been fired and arrested, wardens have been forced out and regional directors have been ordered to reapply for their jobs. Gov. Rick Scott and new prisons Secretary Julie Jones have ordered an overhaul of the agency, and some changes have already been implemented.

McKinley Lewis, FDC’s communications director, said the agency is committed to ensuring the safety of Florida’s 100,000 inmates.

“Many of the issues raised by the ACLU are the subject of past or present criminal and administrative investigations which involve multiple local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. FDC is confident that our ongoing reforms, and current leadership, will continue to move our agency in a positive direction that focuses on our vision of inspiring success by transforming one life at a time,” Lewis said in a statement.

Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida, said those reforms are not enough to change the culture of the Florida’s prison system, which is the third largest in the nation. Cover-ups are so ingrained in the prisons that far too many corrections officers are still able to harm inmates without impunity, he said.

“An appalling 346 people died in Florida prisons last year … it is the responsibility of the governor’s office to ensure the safety of the state’s prisons. But under the leadership of Gov. Scott, conditions have deteriorated,” Simon said in a statement.

He also pointed out that the agency has failed to investigate potential wrongdoing, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which is handling some of the death cases, is taking far too long to give closure — and justice — to families of inmates who have died.

“Many of the FDC and FDLE investigations into instances of death and/or abuse of prisoners are languishing. The investigations have been ongoing for more than three years without any conclusion in sight,” he said.

Gupta is in charge of the Justice Department’s civil rights division and is the nation’s top civil rights prosecutor.

The coalition’s letter was also signed by Robin Cole, president, National Alliance on Mental Illness; Steve Wetstein, Stop Prison Abuse Now; Randall Berg Jr., executive director, Florida Justice Institute; Christopher Jones, director, Florida Legal Services Inc.; Rev. Dr. Russell Meyer, executive director, Florida Council of Churches; Adora Obi Nweze, president, Florida Conference of NAACP Branches; Jeanette Smith, executive director, South Florida Interfaith Worker Justice; the board of trustees of Temple Israel of Greater Miami; Amy McClellan, president, the Key Clubhouse of South Florida; Marc Dubin, director, ADA Expertise Consulting; Tania Galloni, managing attorney, Southern Poverty Law Center, Florida; and Paul Wright, director, the Human Rights Defense Center.

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Seeking Justice: Department of Justice Challenges Local Public Defense Programs

August 25, 2015
Lauren Kirchner
Displayed with permission from ProPublica

Shortly before Attorney General Eric Holder announced his resignation last September, he told an interviewer: “Any attorney general who is not an activist is not doing his or her job.” One of Holder’s more activist initiatives received attention last week when The New York Times highlighted how Holder’s Justice Department began the novel practice of filing arguments in state and county courts.

“[N]either career Justice Department officials nor longtime advocates can recall such a concerted effort to insert the federal government into local civil rights cases,” Matt Apuzzo wrote for the Times.

The agency has used so-called “statements of interest” to file arguments in existing court cases—sometimes cases brought by the ACLU, Equal Justice Under Law or other advocacy groups. One issue that’s garnered particular attention from Justice Department lawyers is fair access to legal defense, a right guaranteed by the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments. The DOJ’s Civil Rights Division has filed four such statements in the past two years, a time in which bipartisan support has emerged for a renewed examination of how local and state governments are providing legal representation to the poor. The department maintains that it does not take a position on the facts of the case, but it argues larger points about civil rights issues with national implications.

“It’s very much like having an amicus brief, but it’s an amicus brief by the United States Department of Justice,” said Norman Reimer, executive director of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. “That carries a lot of weight. No municipality or state wants to be found to be violating Constitutional rights in the eyes of the Justice Department.”

As the Times story shows, local prosecutors and defense attorneys for the cities and states that suddenly come under this national microscope may not appreciate the attention, however. Nor do they necessarily agree with the Justice Department’s premise that it is not taking sides in the cases at hand. Scott G. Thomas, the attorney who defended Burlington, Washington in a suit challenging the city’s indigent defense program, objected to the way the case turned Burlington into a political symbol, telling Apuzzo, “it’s the Department of Justice putting their finger on the scale.”

Joshua Marquis, the elected district attorney in Clatsop County, Oregon, who also serves on the executive committee of the board of directors of the National District Attorneys Association, considers problematic indigent defense systems more episodic than epidemic. “The idea that this is somehow symptomatic of some sort of major civil rights emergency in America is just plain crazy,” he said. Where smaller jurisdictions lack funding for indigent defense, it follows that the prosecutors in those same jurisdictions lack funding, too. “To me, that’s just as dire a problem,” said Marquis, “and since, frankly, most victims are poor people and people of color, I would be really impressed to see the United States Justice Department pick that up.”

The Supreme Court ruled in the 1963 case Gideon v. Wainwright that each state had to establish means of representation for defendants who couldn’t afford it themselves. But the federal government only provides best practices, grants and training; it’s left to the states to decide how to interpret Gideon’s mandate and how much money to allocate to it. Some states leave the decisions about indigent defense and funding for it entirely to counties. As a result, the quality of one’s counsel heavily depends on the location of the alleged crime.

“It’s very difficult to explain the patchwork quilt that is the right to counsel in America,” said David Carroll, executive director of the Sixth Amendment Center, an advocacy group for indigent defense. “People watch TV cop dramas, where everyone asks for a lawyer in police lockup, and they come back from commercial break, and there’s the lawyer … The difference between what they believe and what’s actually happening is very broad.”

The gap between what many Americans consider to be adequate defense, and the reality on the ground in local courts, is what advocates say these lawsuits seek to close. The potential remains for many more investigations and filings, as well. “The DOJ could almost take a dart, and throw it at a map, and there would be a problem with indigent defense in that particular place,” said Ernie Lewis, executive director of the National Association for Public Defense. “And I don’t think I’m exaggerating.”

Here are the jurisdictions where DOJ lawyers have filed statements of interest in cases addressing indigent defense:

Washington (Cities of Mount Vernon and Burlington)
In an August 2013 statement of interest in Wilbur v. City of Mount Vernon, the Justice Department asked a federal court in Washington to appoint an “independent monitor” to oversee new reforms to the indigent defense system there. This was the first statement of interest of this kind, and advocates say it had a huge impact — in signaling that the Justice Department was going to enforce this issue in a new way, and in tangible changes to the Washington system, as well. The judge in the case “took it and really ran with it, and there’s big changes now happening all across Washington,” said the Sixth Amendment Center’s Carroll.

In the conclusion of his decision, which refers to the 1963 ruling in Gideon, U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik wrote: “The notes of freedom and liberty that emerged from Gideon’s trumpet a half a century ago cannot survive if that trumpet is muted and dented by harsh fiscal measures that reduce the promise to a hollow shell of a hallowed right.”

New York
Back in 2007, the New York Civil Liberties Union filed a suit on behalf of 20 defendants against the state of New York, arguing that five counties were denying effective counsel to indigent defendants. Ontario, Onondaga, Schuyler, Suffolk and Washington counties did not have a public defense system or standards in place at the time; they had just contracted with private attorneys on an ad-hoc (and apparently inadequate) basis. The Justice Department joined the suit with a statement of interest in September 2014. A settlement followed within weeks, mandating the creation of a new public defense office, standards for defendant eligibility, and more state funding for the attorneys.

Alabama (City of Clanton)
With its statement of interest in February of this year, the Justice Department joined a lawsuit against the city of Clanton for its practice of setting bail without regard for a defendant’s flight risk or ability to pay. Christy Dawn Varden, a plaintiff in the case, was arrested for shoplifting at Walmart, and a judge assigned her a $2,000 bond—$500 for each of Varden’s four misdemeanor charges. Living on $200 a month in food stamps, Varden could not pay the bond, and so stayed in jail. “By taking action in this case, the Justice Department is sending a clear message: that we will not accept criminal justice procedures that have discriminatory effects,” said Holder in a statement. “We will not hesitate to fight institutionalized injustice wherever it is found.” As a result of the case, city officials agreed to reform the way it assigned bail.

In March, the Justice Department filed a statement of interest addressing the rights of juveniles accused of delinquency in Georgia. The complaint alleged that officials were denying the juvenile defendants’ right to counsel, by encouraging the children to waive a right that they didn’t really understood they had. It argued that these young defendants were subject to “assembly line justice”; acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Vanita Gupta said “The systemic deprivation of counsel for children cannot be tolerated.”

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Lawsuit: Kentucky Deputy Sheriff Shackled Two Elementary Students Who Had Disabilities

A federal lawsuit filed Monday in Northern alleges that a Kenton County deputy sheriff shackled two elementary schoolchildren with disabilities, causing them pain and trauma. The lawsuit says Deputy Kevin Sumner, a school resource officer in Covington, locked handcuffs around the children’s biceps and forced their hands behind their backs. The lawsuit was filed in… Continue reading Lawsuit: Kentucky Deputy Sheriff Shackled Two Elementary Students Who Had Disabilities

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Alabama’s Meth Lab Law, Abortion Rights and the Strange Case of Jane Doe

In 2006, lawmakers passed a bill aimed at punishing parents who turned their kitchens and garages into do-it-yourself meth labs, exposing their children to toxic chemicals and noxious fumes. Support was bipartisan, the vote was unanimous, and the bill was quickly signed into law. Nine years later, authorities in Lauderdale County in northern Alabama have… Continue reading Alabama’s Meth Lab Law, Abortion Rights and the Strange Case of Jane Doe

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Gov. Mistakenly Passed Pro-Immigrant Bill He Planned To Veto

The state of doesn’t have a lot of , but that hasn’t stopped Gov. from going after them, in particular seekers — a small group of legal migrants who have a credible fear of returning to their home countries. Those immigrants are not automatically eligible for federal assistance, but supporters of the… Continue reading Gov. Mistakenly Passed Pro-Immigrant Bill He Planned To Veto

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Same-Sex Kentucky Couples Sue Clerk for Refusing to Issue Marriage License

The American Civil Liberties Union said Thursday that four couples are suing Kim Davis, a Kentucky county clerk, for refusing to issue them marriage licenses, The Associated Press reports. Two of the couples are of the same sex. The ACLU filed the lawsuit on behalf of all four couples. The Supreme Court struck down state-level gay… Continue reading Same-Sex Kentucky Couples Sue Clerk for Refusing to Issue Marriage License

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Judge Blocks New Florida Law That Requires Women to Wait 24 Hours Before Getting an Abortion

Judge blocks new Florida law that requires women to wait 24 hours before getting an abortion Option Trading Partners Breaking News – A Florida judge is blocking a new state law that requires women to wait 24 hours before getting an abortion. Chief Circuit Judge Charles Francis blocked the law Tuesday, one day before it was… Continue reading Judge Blocks New Florida Law That Requires Women to Wait 24 Hours Before Getting an Abortion