News

Latest Court Filing Shows Race Still Plays a Role in Stops and Frisks by Police in Philadelphia

November 27, 2018
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PHILADELPHIA – In every neighborhood in Philadelphia, Black pedestrians were stopped by police officers out of proportion to their percentage of the local population, according to the latest report filed in federal court today in the ongoing challenge to the city police department’s aggressive use of stop-and-frisk. The latest filing shows that racial disparities in stops are widest in neighborhoods in which Black Philadelphians make up a lower percentage of the population and that the disparities cannot be explained by factors other than race.

After Seven Years, Report Shows Philadelphia Police Continue to Illegally Stop and Frisk Pedestrians

November 20, 2018
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PHILADELPHIA – The latest report filed today by counsel for the plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit challenging unconstitutional practices of the Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) shows that thousands of people were stopped and frisked without a legal reason in the first six months of 2018. 

Voting Rights Advocates Sue Pennsylvania to End Disenfranchisement of Absentee Voters

November 13, 2018
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HARRISBURG, PA. – Voting rights advocates filed a lawsuit today challenging a Pennsylvania law that makes it difficult for voters to vote by absentee ballot.  The plaintiffs include nine Pennsylvania residents, all of whom applied for absentee ballots on time but received the ballots either too close to or after Pennsylvania’s restrictive deadline for returning the ballots.  

Category: Voting Issues

Legal Advocates Challenge Pennsylvania Department of Corrections’ New Procedures for Legal Mail

October 30, 2018
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HARRISBURG— The ACLU of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project, the Abolitionist Law Center, Amistad Law Project, and Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP filed two federal civil rights lawsuits today challenging the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections’ (DOC) new policy of copying and retaining confidential mail from attorneys to their prisoner clients.  The lawsuits, one on behalf of the four organizations and a related one for a DOC prisoner, claim that the practice violates the First Amendment rights of the organizations’ attorneys and DOC prisoners to confidential legal communications.

Category: Prisoners' Rights
Tag: Case-PILP

ACLU-PA Applauds Pittsburgh School Board for Rejecting Proposal to Arm Police

October 24, 2018
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PITTSBURGH - At its monthly legislative session this evening, a majority of the members of the Pittsburgh Public Schools Board of Directors rejected a proposal to arm the district’s school police officers, effectively ending the idea after three years of debate.

Governor Wolf Signs Bill to End Unnecessary Suspensions of Drivers’ Licenses

October 24, 2018
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HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed legislation today to repeal a longstanding mandate to suspend drivers’ licenses of people convicted of crimes unrelated to operation of a vehicle, many of them drug offenses. According to the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, the legislation will positively impact more than 20,000 people per year.

Gay Man in ICE Detention Finally Gets His Day in Court

October 24, 2018
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YORK - A gay, married man who has been held in immigration detention since January will finally have an opportunity to argue for his release today before an immigration judge, according to a statement released by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and the law firm DLA Piper. Jose “Ivan” Noe Nuñez Martinez was taken into custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on January 31 and has been held in the York County Prison ever since.

ACLU Tells Federal Court That SEPTA’s Censorship of Journalists’ Ads Conflicts With Free Speech Rights

October 01, 2018
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PHILADELPHIA - At the opening of trial today, the American Civil Liberties Union argued to a federal court that the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority’s censorship of advertising by the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) is prohibited by the First Amendment’s protection of free speech. The dispute in the case centers around proposed ads that CIR planned to publish on SEPTA vehicles that promoted an investigative report on racial disparities in the home mortgage industry, including in Philadelphia.

ACLU of Pennsylvania Challenges Philadelphia’s Practice of Jailing People Who Can’t Afford Cash Bail

October 01, 2018
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PHILADELPHIA, PA — After observing more than 650 bail hearings in the Criminal Justice Center, the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania has sent a letter to judges who oversee those hearings to demand urgently needed reform. Philadelphia bail commissioners do not follow the law, resulting in poor Philadelphians being routinely incarcerated while they wait for trial because they cannot afford to pay cash bail, while wealthy Philadelphians are able to pay their way out of jail.

ACLU of Pennsylvania Releases Blueprint with Roadmap for Cutting Incarceration by 50 Percent

September 05, 2018
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PHILADELPHIA — The ACLU of Pennsylvania today released a new report that outlines how Pennsylvania can cut incarceration in half by pursuing reforms to the commonwealth’s drug sentencing laws. The report also includes recommendations to reform the laws that in recent years have led to Pennsylvania having the third-highest per capita rate in the nation of people on parole, probation, or other community supervision.

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