News

ACLU-PA Statement on the Officer-Involved Shooting Death of Osaze Osagie

March 27, 2019
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HARRISBURG - On Wednesday, an officer employed by the State College Police Department in Centre County shot and killed Osaze Osagie, a 29-year-old African-American man who appeared to be having a mental health crisis. Officers were serving a mental health warrant, which is issued when a person may be subject to involuntary commitment under Pennsylvania law, on Osagie at his apartment.

Civil Rights Advocates Settle Lawsuit With PA Department of Corrections Over Legal Mail Policy

March 25, 2019
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HARRISBURG – The team of public interest lawyers who brought two federal civil rights challenges against the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections for its policy of copying and storing legal mail announced today that they had reached the final terms of a settlement with the department. The settlement was finalized in a filing with the federal district court overseeing the cases.

Category: Prisoners' Rights

ACLU-PA Statement on the Verdict in the Antwon Rose Murder Trial

March 22, 2019
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PITTSBURGH – After a jury in Allegheny County this evening found former police officer Michael Rosfeld not guilty for killing teenager Antwon Rose II in East Pittsburgh borough last summer, the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania responded with a statement calling for reforms in policing that promote transparency and accountability. 

Federal Court Rules in Favor of Schuykill County Student's Free Speech Rights in Off-Campus Incident

March 22, 2019
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SCRANTON - A federal court on Thursday ruled that the Mahanoy Area School District in Schuylkill County violated the free speech rights of a student when the school removed her from the cheerleading squad in 2017 for off-campus expression. The student, who was in tenth grade at the time, had posted a “Snap” to the popular social media platform Snapchat that, using expletives, expressed her frustration with school and with cheerleading. She was punished under cheerleading team rules that prohibit “disrespect” and prohibit posting any “negative information” about cheerleading online.

Community Advocates Call for Reforms to New State Police Policy on Immigration Enforcement

March 20, 2019
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HARRISBURG - A coalition of community advocates issued a statement today that offered critical feedback on the new immigration enforcement policy of the Pennsylvania State Police. While acknowledging some positive aspects of the policy, the groups expressed their strong concerns that the policy undermines public safety by muddying the lines between the state police and federal immigration authorities.

Category: Immigrants' Rights

ACLU-PA Goes Back to Court on Behalf of People Who Are Too Ill to Stand Trial

March 19, 2019
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HARRISBURG - The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania returned to federal court today in a new filing against the state Department of Human Services (DHS), more than three years after first bringing a lawsuit on behalf of people who have been found too mentally ill to stand trial but who are housed in jails instead of healthcare facilities. The new complaint argues that DHS’s implementation of previous settlements in the case has failed to produce constitutionally acceptable results, with some patients remaining in jails for months at a time.

Category: Criminal Justice
Tag: Case-J.H.

ACLU of Pennsylvania and the Law Firm of Arnold & Porter Announce Lawsuit Over Bail Practices in Philadelphia

March 12, 2019
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PHILADELPHIA — On Tuesday, the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and the law firm of Arnold & Porter announced that they have filed a new lawsuit to bring bail practices in Philadelphia courts in line with the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure. The lawsuit states that bail decisions in Philadelphia County rely too heavily on cash bail without considering alternatives that have been proven more effective than cash bail and don’t effectively punish people for being poor.

Category: Criminal Justice

ACLU Urges Pa. Supreme Court to Find Death Penalty Unconstitutional

February 22, 2019
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PHILADELPHIA — The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Pennsylvania filed a friend-of-the-court brief today asking the state Supreme Court to hold Pennsylvania’s capital punishment system in violation of the state constitution, given the vast disparities across the commonwealth in the quality of representation for capital case defendants who are unable to pay.

Civil Rights Groups and PA Department of Corrections Near Settlement of Lawsuit Over Legal Mail

February 22, 2019
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HARRISBURG – Lawyers for four civil rights organizations and one person who is currently incarcerated announced today that they are finalizing the details of a settlement of their lawsuits challenging the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections’ policy of copying and storing legal mail. The four organizations challenging the policy issued the following statement in response to the developments in the case:

Category: Prisoners' Rights

Trial Begins in Challenge to State Prisons’ Legal Mail Policy

February 19, 2019
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HARRISBURG - The trial in two lawsuits challenging the Pennsylvania state prison system’s policy of copying and storing mail between lawyers and their clients who are incarcerated began today in a federal courtroom in Harrisburg. The two lawsuits - one brought by four prisoners’ rights organizations and the other by a person who is incarcerated - ask the court to overturn the practice by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) as a violation of the confidentiality guaranteed between lawyers and their clients, as protected by the First Amendment.

Category: Prisoners' Rights
Tag: Case-PILP
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