Last week, federal courts issued two decisions affirming the right of citizens to record police under the First Amendment.
Last week was a busy week for privacy and free speech advocates. In New York, a federal appeals court issued a decision finding that the National Security Agency’s (NSA) telephone metadata collection program is illegal. In California, a federal court issued a preliminary injunction against a San Diego jail policy allowing “postcards only” for inmates. In Washington D.C., a federal court held that conducting invasive, forensic searches of laptops seized at airports is illegal.
Last week, a federal court in Pennsylvania struck down a state law aimed at restricting the free speech rights of prisoners. In Mumia Abu Jamal v. Kane, the court addressed a new state law in Pennsylvania called the “Revictimization Relief Act,” which attempted to stop accused or convicted criminals from publicly expressing viewpoints that might offend the alleged victims of their crimes. The court found the law unconstitutional because it had an unlawful purpose, was vaguely executed, and was patently overbroad in its scope.
Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a rare glimmer of hope in a case called Rodriguez v. United States. In the case, the court held that police cannot extend a routine traffic stop to use a drug dog to sniff a stopped vehicle for drugs.
In light of the shortcomings of the legal system and growing police violence against people, there are many ways that communities can help each other to defend their rights to be free from unlawful searches, seizures, and cruel and inhumane treatment by law enforcement officers.
Amid the seemingly never-ending news of police shootings and killings of unarmed civilians, there is a rising public demand for more police accountability. To placate this growing demand, a few months ago, Congress passed a new version of the Death in Custody Reporting Act, 42 U.S.C. 13727. This law, which is a revised version of a law that has been on the books for over a decade, requires state and federal law enforcement agencies to report how many people are killed by their police officers.
On March 10, 2015, the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision in a case called CPR for Skid Row v. City of Los Angeles.… The federal appeals court found that the arrest of the organizer was unconstitutional. Even though the California law states that anyone who “willfully disturbs or breaks up” a meeting is guilty of a misdemeanor, there are important exceptions that apply to political protests.
Save the date! CLDC’s 2nd annual Next Generation Climate Justice Action Camp is August 3rd-8th. The Location will be at the Emmigrant Lake campground near Ashland, Oregon. This is a action camp for training teens age 14-18 how to organize for climate justice causes.