News

State House Passes Bill to End Driver’s License Suspensions for Many Criminal Offenses

April 16, 2018
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HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed legislation today to restore access to a driver’s license for people who have been convicted of offenses that are unrelated to operation of a vehicle. Under current law, people who are convicted for a variety of offenses, including drug offenses and failure to pay child support, face a license suspension for periods of six months or longer.

Category: Criminal Justice

ACLU-PA Statement on Arrests at Philadelphia Starbucks

April 16, 2018
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PHILADELPHIA - In a statement released today, the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania condemned the actions of the Starbucks employee and the Philadelphia police officers that resulted in the arrest of two African-American men on Thursday who were waiting to meet a business acquaintance, then held for hours before being released without charge. The incident, which occurred at the Starbucks at 18th and Spruce Streets in Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square neighborhood, went viral, thanks to video of the arrest that was captured by a bystander.

Category: Racial Justice

ACLU-PA Statement on Pennsylvania House Passage of Clean Slate Act

April 11, 2018
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HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed legislation today to automatically seal from public view the criminal records of people convicted of select offenses. The legislation, known as the Clean Slate Act, would seal a person’s criminal record if he is not convicted of another crime within ten years.

Category: Criminal Justice

Court Strikes Down Protest Limits at Wilkes-Barre Arena in Response to ACLU-PA Lawsuit

April 11, 2018
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SCRANTON – On Tuesday, a federal judge struck down the protest policy at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes Barre, stating that the Luzerne County Convention Center Authority must allow protesters to leaflet and speak with patrons on the sidewalks outside the arena. 

Category: Free Speech

ACLU-PA Calls House Abortion Bill “Unconstitutional and Unenforceable”

April 09, 2018
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HARRISBURG - The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania blasted a state House committee today for endangering women by passing legislation that would make it a crime to perform an abortion based on a fetal diagnosis of Down syndrome. The ACLU noted that similar laws in other states have been prevented from taking effect by federal courts.

ACLU-PA's Guidance on Student Walkouts

March 16, 2018
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For decades, students have organized school walkouts to protest injustice and to demand policy change, including within their own schools.

Students in public schools do not lose their First Amendment free-speech rights when they go to school. But those rights are more limited than they would be outside of school. That’s largely to allow the school to operate in an orderly fashion.

 

ACLU of PA to Congressman: Stop Shutting Out Your Constituents

March 12, 2018
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PHILADELPHIA - The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania delivered a letter to Congressman Ryan Costello today urging him to stop blocking constituents who disagree with him from his official Facebook page and to cease denying them entry to his public town hall meetings. Writing on behalf of nine constituents from the 6th congressional district who have protested or criticized the congressman, the ACLU of Pennsylvania warned Costello that blocking residents from his social media pages and his community meetings based on their opposing views is prohibited by the First Amendment.

Category: Free Speech

ACLU-PA Statement on the Investigation of the Death of Mark Daniels in Pittsburgh

February 16, 2018
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PITTSBURGH – Today, the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania joined with the Community Empowerment Association in calling for a thorough and transparent investigation into the death of Mark Daniels. Early Sunday morning, Mr. Daniels was shot and killed by Pittsburgh police officers after a confrontation and a foot chase in Homewood.

Pittsburgh Settles Federal Lawsuit with the ACLU of PA on Police Abuse and the Right to Record Officers

February 06, 2018
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PITTSBURGH – This morning, Pittsburgh City Council approved a settlement in a federal lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania against the city of Pittsburgh and one of its police officers. The plaintiffs, three African-American Pittsburgh residents, including a constable, were subjected to police harassment and threatened with arrest after they prevented a fight from breaking out in their Oakland neighborhood. 

ACLU and Abolitionist Law Center Sue Pennsylvania to End Mandatory and Permanent Solitary Confinement for Prisoners Sentenced to Death

January 25, 2018
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HARRISBURG — The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Pennsylvania, the Abolitionist Law Center, Kairys, Rudovsky, Messing, Feiberg & Lin LLP, and Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP filed a class-action lawsuit against the commonwealth of Pennsylvania over its unconstitutional practice of holding prisoners sentenced to death in mandatory, permanent solitary confinement. These prisoners spend 22-24 hours a day in their cells alone, conditions proven to damage mental health and worsen existing mental illness. Today’s suit seeks an end to this practice, which violates the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. 

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