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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Due Process

CHARLOTTE – A constitutionally suspect proposal that would create “exclusion zones” to ban people who have been arrested from entering certain Charlotte neighborhoods will be discussed by the city’s Community Safety Committee tomorrow, Wednesday, November 18.

“While we have not yet seen a written proposal, the details that have been put forward are extremely  problematic and would almost certainly violate the constitutional rights of a huge number of Charlotteans,” said Susanna Birdsong, Policy Counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of North Carolina. “People should not have to obtain permission from the government to go to work or visit their relatives. We are watching this conversation very closely, and we urge Charlotte officials to abandon their pursuit of such a constitutionally suspect proposal.”      

Read the ACLU of North Carolina's letter expresssing concerns about the proposal to Charlotte's Community Safety Committee here.

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By Mike Meno, ACLU-NC Communications Director

The U.S. Department of Justice announced Friday that it would appeal a judge’s decision to dismiss charges of discriminatory profiling and other civil rights abuses filed against Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson (pictured).

A 2012 lawsuit brought by the federal government charged that under Johnson’s command, the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office systematically and unlawfully targeted Latino residents for investigation, traffic stops, arrests, seizures, and other enforcement actions. During the trial held earlier this year, experts testified that Johnson’s deputies were approximately 4, 9, and 10 times more likely, respectively, to stop Latino drivers than similarly situated non-Latino drivers along three major Alamance County highways.

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North Carolina Appeals Court Strikes Blow to Privacy Rights

Posted on in Privacy

Earlier this year, the ACLU of North Carolina submitted a brief in the case of Paul Perry, who was arrested and charged with drug trafficking after police tracked his location in real time through cell phone data provided by AT&T. The location data allowed police to track him to a hotel in Raleigh, and even to figure out which part of the hotel he was in. Police did not apply for or receive a search warrant in Perry’s case. 

In our brief, we argued that the Fourth Amendment’s ban on unreasonable searches and seizures means that any time police seek to use cell phone location data to locate a person, law enforcement should first obtain a warrant showing probable cause of criminal activity. That position is supported by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which has jurisdiction over North Carolina and ruled in April in United States v. Graham that the government should obtain a search warrant “when it obtains and inspects a cell phone user’s historical [cell-site location information] for an extended period of time.”

But earlier this week the North Carolina Court of Appeals rejected the Fourth Circuit’s logic when, in a blow to privacy rights for all North Carolinians, the court ruled that police did not violate the Fourth Amendment when they searched Perry’s cell phone location records without a warrant.

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RALEIGH – A coalition of human rights groups today sent a letter asking the United States Department of Justice to open an investigation into the use of solitary confinement in North Carolina prisons. The letter comes weeks after President Obama ordered the Justice Department to review the use of solitary confinement across the country and criticized the practice in a major speech on criminal justice reform.  

The 15-page letter – signed by North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services, the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Prison Project, the ACLU of North Carolina, the University of North Carolina School of Law Human Rights Policy Seminar, the UNC Center for Civil Rights, and North Carolina Stop Torture Now – chronicles the recent deaths of several inmates held in solitary confinement in North Carolina, as well as the mistreatment and horrific conditions suffered by countless more. One of those prisoners, Michael Anthony Kerr, a 53-year-old former Army sergeant diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, died of dehydration in March 2014 after spending 35 days in solitary confinement. In the letter, the groups document North Carolina’s failure to provide adequate resources for prison mental health services and explain how inmates with mental illness are disciplined for manifestations of their illness and often released directly to the community after months or years in isolation.  

“Understaffed, underfunded, and plagued by arbitrary standards, insufficient oversight, and inadequate resources for inmates with mental illness, North Carolina’s solitary confinement regime must change,” the letter reads. “However, governmental efforts and calls from the media and the public have resulted in little meaningful reform.  Every day that the status quo endures without intervention, North Carolina’s system for housing inmates in solitary confinement claims more victims to needless suffering and death.”

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