Statue of LibertyThe Civil Liberties Defense Center’s mission focuses on defending and upholding civil liberties through education, outreach, litigation, and legal support and assistance. The CLDC strives to preserve the strength and vitality of the Bill of Rights and the U.S. and state constitutions, as well as to protect freedom of expression.

CLDC’s projects educate people about their rights and why their rights are important, we defend front line activists, and expose and confront the persistent erosion of our civil liberties and the Bill of Rights. We believe knowledge is power, when, people have the tools and understanding to take action and demand that the government honor all their rights, then grassroots activism will be the best chance of exacting necessary change. CLDC educates, supports, and defends grassroots activists.

Ending the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act

On March 12, 2009, Joseph Buddenberg, Mary Khajavi, Nathan Pope and Adriana Stumpo were indicted in Northern California, San Jose Division for conspiracy (18U.S.C. 371) and force, violence, and threats involving animal enterprises (18U.S.C. 43). Download the indictment for the AETA4.

On May 21, 2009, the Civil Liberties Center, Center for Constitutional Rights and other civil rights attorneys moved to dismiss the indictments (read the motion to dismiss) against 4 individuals charged under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act which labels the activist as “terrorists” even though they are charged with protesting, chalking the sidewalk, chanting and leafleting, and using “the internet to find information on bio-medical researchers.” All of these are clearly and traditionally protected under the first amendment.

On June 13, 2010, Judge Ronald M. Whyte of the Northern District of California dismissed the inditment against the four animal rights activists. The Court ruled that the US Government could not proceed under the current indictment because the charges were so vague and general as to fail to provide defendants with notice as to what they were alleged to have done to violate the law.


The Civil Liberties Defense Center (CLDC) does not discriminate with respect to employment, membership or provision of services on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, gender, disability, socio-economic background, age, sexual orientation, marital status, political affiliation, national origin, ancestry, status with regards to public assistance or immigration status. The CLDC is committed to diversity in staff, leadership and membership. Outreach, recruitment, and hiring practices shall reflect our commitment to actively developing the skills of a diverse community.