Feature stories from aclunc.org, the foremost defender of freedom and justice in Northern California.
Updated: 10 hours 9 min ago
The ACLU-NC and EFF filed a federal class-action lawsuit to block implementation of unconstitutional provisions of Proposition 35 – a ballot measure passed by California voters that restricts the legal and constitutionally protected speech of all registered sex offenders in California. Proposition 35's online speech regulations are overly broad and violate the First Amendment, both because they prohibit anonymous speech and because the reporting requirements burden all sorts of online speech.
Over the years, the north steps of the State Capitol have seen some fierce advocacy by queer youth from across the state of California. The ACLU of California is keeping that legacy alive in the 2013 legislative cycle. Today is Queer Youth Advocacy Day, a day where youth speak their minds and voice their concerns directly to their representatives.
I grew up outside Boston and used to watch the Marathon as it ran by, near where we lived. My heart goes out to the City of Boston and everyone impacted by recent events. Following the bombing there, San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr has proposed installing surveillance cameras along Market Street. While we all want to make sure that our cities our safe, the ACLU of Northern California has serious concerns about the potential for warrantless mass surveillance a plan like this holds.
The ACLU of California welcomed the federal comprehensive immigration reform bill released by a bipartisan group of key senators - 'the Gang of 8.' This historic bill has the potential to advance the civil rights and liberties of all Californians and could clear a pathway to citizenship for the nearly 2.6 million undocumented immigrants who now live in our state.
The Redding City Council tonight will be deciding whether to put the city on the path toward becoming a drone testing site. But the proposal under consideration is nothing more than a blank check and should be rejected. It offers the community no assurances whatsoever that their privacy will not be invaded, and it provides the city council with no role in overseeing the process of transforming Redding into a drone test site.
Blog - Justice Department Emails Show Feds Were Less Than "Explicit" with Judges on Cell Phone Tracking Tool
A Justice Department document obtained by the ACLU of Northern California shows that federal investigators were routinely using a sophisticated cell phone tracking tool known as a "stingray," but hiding that fact from federal magistrate judges when asking for permission to do so. By withholding information about this technology from courts in applications for electronic surveillance orders, the federal government is essentially seeking to write its own search warrants.
The California Right to Know Act (AB 1291- Lowenthal) will modernize current privacy law and give Californians an effective tool to monitor how personal information, including about health, finances, your location, politics, religious, sexual orientation, buying habits, and more, is being collected and disclosed in unexpected and potentially harmful ways.
Read the ACLU's analysis of the Prop 8 oral argument today. Today the LGBT rights world was a flurry of activity, with Facebook feeds full of red for marriage equality and people the country over intently focused on what was happening inside the U.S. Supreme Court. Sometimes the oral arguments in a case are like tea leaves that make it relatively easy to predict an outcome. But today's Supreme Court argument in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the constitutional challenge to California's Proposition 8, provided few such clues. What's clear is that the Justices are all deeply engaged in both the questions on the jurisdiction and the merits that the case presents – and that's a good thing.
This week a federal judge ordered a bond hearing for a woman who has been detained without due process by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for nearly a year and a half. Bertha Mejia, a grandmother with deep family ties in California and with no violent criminal history, was classified by ICE as a "mandatory detainee" because of misdemeanor convictions for stealing groceries. That classification made her ineligible for a hearing before an immigration judge where she could present evidence that she posed no danger to the community or risk of flight—even as her immigration case dragged on for months with no end in sight.
For the past seventeen months, Bertha Mejia has been held in a county jail by the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of the Department of Homeland Security without basic due process. The ACLU is asking for Ms. Mejia to be granted a bond hearing in front of an Immigration Judge to determine whether she poses a risk of flight or danger to the community. We are arguing that ICE has exceeded the scope of its limited authority by detaining Ms. Mejia for an excessive period of time without custody review.
When it comes to drugs, we should focus on the goals we agree on: protecting our kids, protecting public safety and preventing and treating drug abuse and addiction. That’s why the ACLU of California is supporting legislation authored by Sen. Mark Leno to reform California’s harsh drug possession penalties, so that we can help set people up for success rather than failure in overcoming a drug problem and returning to the community.
In the months since Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern made known his desire to acquire and deploy a surveillance drone, the ACLU has consistently warned that such a plan carries serious privacy implications, that it is imperative the advertised benefits of a drone be weighed against the costs and that strict privacy safeguards be put into place to ensure that drones are not used for warrantless mass surveillance.
Bertha Mejia is a 53-year-old grandmother who fled political violence and sexual abuse in her native El Salvador as a girl. She has four U.S. citizen children and is the primary caretaker for her 9-year-old grandson, Pablo. The victim of rape at the hands of her employer, Ms. Mejia has a strong case for a "U-visa," a type of visa for victims of crime who cooperate with law enforcement. The police have already certified that Ms. Mejia is a victim who has assisted the police in apprehending the perpetrator.
The ACLU filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court this afternoon to stop the government from invading the genetic privacy of hundreds of thousands of Americans every year.