Archive | Know Your Rights

Break free

Break Free Resources

May 4-15, 2016: A global wave of mass actions will target the world’s most dangerous fossil fuel projects, in order to keep coal, oil and gas in the ground and accelerate the just transition to 100% renewable energy. You can find out more about Break Free at: https://breakfree2016.org With more than a decade of experience representing frontline activists, we are […]

Know Your Rights (Arabic)

CLDC stands in solidarity with targeted people and communities by assisting them with protecting their Constitutional rights through any legal avenue feasible (federal or state recourse), providing KYR trainings to those communities as requested, and by sharing a KYR resource that has been translated into Arabic by the National Lawyers Guild (NLG).

We encourage Muslim communities (particularly in the Northwest) to contact us for legal support and education. Please join us in ensuring the rights of all people are respected, particularly in times of political hysteria, fear and ignorance by sharing this training.

Download the NLG Know Your Rights training in Arabic.

CLDC Blog copwatch 5.18

Filming the Police on your cell phone

In light of the recent Supreme Court case that came out a couple weeks ago that found that GPS tracking constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment, and therefore requires a warrant we wanted to go over your rights to protect your data if you end up in a situation where you record police misconduct […]

Copwatching

Copwatching

In a groundbreaking case, a federal court in Eugene, OR agreed with CLDC that police need probable cause or a warrant to search your camera.

Copwatching, sometimes called Police Watching, in its current incarnation is believed to have started in the early 1990’s in Berkeley, CA, but citizens have had their eye on cops throughout history. The group in Berkeley remains an authority in the area and they put together a handbook

Berkeley Copwatch has a list of resources to assist any potential Copwatcher. Other Copwatching groups exist in towns and cities across the United States and Canada, many of which have websites and databases of incidents. Copwatching groups are intended both to promote public safety and to ensure that police officers remain accountable for their actions. They are almost exclusively organized and operated by volunteers promoting citizen action.

Copwatching is somewhat less technical than Legal Observing and anyone can join a Copwatch group. Copwatchers are on the lookout for police brutality at all times, not just when a demonstration or protest is taking place. However, the goals of decreasing police brutality and keeping cops accountable for their actions against citizens are the same. They also practice careful documentation of any incidents.

Copwatchers also usually refrain from becoming physically involved in police-citizen altercations, but may use non-violent tactics to help assert the rights of a detained individual.

Resources and links for some of the more active Copwatch groups in the larger West Coast and Southwest cities can be found below.

Portland, OR Copwatch
Berkeley, CA Copwatch
Phoenix, AZ Copwatch

 

Useful Links

Crime Statistics

The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program, which collects and publishes crime statistics, has developed an online database tool to make it easier to search for crime data going back to 1960.

The online database contains crime offense statistics from 1985 to 2009 (the most recent reporting year) for city law enforcement agencies with populations of 10,000 and over, and for county agencies with populations of 25,000 and over. Estimated crime counts from 1960 to 2009 for national and state-level data are also included in the UCR Data Tool. (Because not all law enforcement agencies provide data, the FBI estimates some crime counts.) Figures for arson, which was added to the UCR program as a Part I offense in 1979, are not included in the database.

This service is provided to you at no charge by Federal Bureau of Investigation.
http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2010/november/ucrtool_112910/ucrtool_112910


Lawyers, Legal, Courts:

US Dist Court for Northern District of California local rules: /www.cand.uscourts.gov/

US Dist Court for Oregon local rules: http://www.ord.uscourts.gov/en/local-rules-of-civil-procedure-2012

Federal Code of Regulations: www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html

Pacer: Federal Court Document Website: http://pacer.psc.uscourts.gov

Lane Co., OR Attorney Jail Visiting: www.co.lane.or.us/Sheriff_Corrections/attyhrs.htm

Comprehensive listing of legal news groups by topic: home.earthlink.net/~parajuris/CounselQuest/usenet.htm

Links and searchable databases on MANY legal topics: http://e-zlegal.com/links.html

Practice Areas: Asylum Law, Death Penalty: www.healthlaw.org

Human Rights, Prisoners’ Rights: www.probono.net/index.cfm

Trial Lawyers for Public Justice:

National Lawyer’s Guild: www.nlg.org


Know Your Rights and Protest Information:

 

Downloadable Know Your Rights Info

Federal Investigators and Your Rights: www.cs.oberlin.edu/students/pjaques/etext/ifanagentknocks.html

General Protest Information: www.protest.net


First Amendment and Civil Rights

 

First Amendment library: www.firstamendmentcenter.org/

Free Speech Radio News: www.fsrn.org

Bill of Rights Defense Committee: www.bordc.org


Watch List/ Travel Problems?

Homeland Security Complaints and Redress Procedures: DHS Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (DHS TRIP)

 


Privacy and the Sixth Amendment

 

Electronic Frontier Foundation: www.eff.org

Grand Juries

Dealing with Grand Juries

In light of most recent events, Activists need to know how to protect themselves.  Here you will find a list of helpful materials surrounding Grand Juries.  Please contact us if there is something more that you would like to see on this page.

Grand Jury tools:

The public is entitled to limited information about any current grand jury.  To obtain that information, you need to send a public records request to the Clerk of the Court for the federal court where the grand jury is taking place.   Below please find a template for the information that is normally provided by the Courts.  This information will provide you with (1) the date the grand jury began (empaneled) so that you can determine when the grand jury period will expire (unless extended); (2) how often the grand jury is scheduled to meet; (3) whether it is a regular or special grand jury; (4) whether there are any special jury instructions the Court provided to the grand jury to use while determining whether an indictment should issue.

 

Dear Clerk of the Court:

I am requesting public information regarding the current empaneled federal grand jury in the [Western Washington District.]  Specifically, I would like the Court Order directing empanelment of the grand jury, the letter to prospective grand jurors, and any special jury instructions issued by the Judge.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.  Time is of the essence, and thus I would appreciate this information as soon as possible.

Thank you very much for your time,

(your name here)

Legal Observer

Legal Observing is an exciting way to play an important role in any demonstration or protest. However, this task also carries with it a great amount of responsibility. Legal Observers are most often law students, lawyers, or other members of the legal community because these individuals are usually familiar with the laws and can note any violations in legal terms. However, anyone can be an effective legal observer with proper training. If you’re interested in legal observing you most first attend a legal observer training. Most of our legal observer trainings are in Oregon, if you are interested in a training in another state you can contact your local National Lawyers Guild chapter.

Lauren Regan, CLDC Executive Director, observing a rally for Occupy.

Legal Observers are individuals who purposely position themselves close enough to demonstrations to be able to accurately watch and report the activities of participants and the law enforcement who interact with them. Just the presence of an explicitly identified Legal Observer can deter police from violating the rights of protesters. Legal Observers should not act as part of the demonstration, but should carefully record the actions of the police with the goal of later using that information as an objective account of the events. A Legal Observer will essentially be the official eyes and ears of protesters, documenting every detail in a thorough and professional manner. Typically, they fill out this official form (LO summary) for any incident so that all the information is uniform and organized.

The National Lawyers Guild is the leading resource for preparing legal observers. The NLG website has a wealth of information on the topic as well as a comprehensive legal observer training manual (PDF) which explains the roles and responsibilities of Legal Observers as well as recommendations for how to establish a Legal Observer team for your upcoming event.

The CLDC also provides resources for potential Legal Observers. We have organized Legal Observers for many demonstrations in the past. If you are interested in attending our next Legal Observer training or would like to schedule a Legal Observer training for your community, please contact us. In addition, if you need help recruiting Legal Observers for an upcoming event or have any other questions, you can call or email the CLDC.

If you are working as a Legal Observer with groups such as the NLG or CLDC in anticipation of litigation, you may be exposed to confidential and sensitive information. In such situations, you may be asked to sign a LO Confidentiality Agreement (PDF).


A Few Tips

Materials: A Legal Observer should always carry a pen and paper or the required forms for writing their observations, a camera or recording device for documenting situations, and an article that clearly identifies you as a Legal Observer (hat, t-shirt). An especially effective Legal Observer will also become familiar with the area in order to reference street names and directions. Noting the locations of restrooms or where medical care and other essential provisions can be obtained is also important. Know how to estimate distances and be able to recognize key players of the demonstration for communications purposes.

The Legality of Recording Cops: Videotaping police is one of the most powerful tools for protecting protesters. While police may assert that you must have consent to videotape them, the Oregon District Court suggests that videotaping police at a protest is protected under the First Amendment because protests are matters of public interest.

If your video camera is lost or damaged, you may want to bring a backup disposable camera or audio recorder.

Downloads:

Copwatching

In a groundbreaking case, a federal court in Eugene, OR agreed with CLDC that police need probable cause or a warrant to search your camera.

Copwatching, sometimes called Police Watching, in its current incarnation is believed to have started in the early 1990’s in Berkeley, CA, but citizens have had their eye on cops throughout history. The group in Berkeley remains an authority in the area and they put together a handbook (http://www.berkeleycopwatch.org/resources.shtml) to assist any potential Copwatcher. Other Copwatching groups exist in towns and cities across the United States and Canada, many of which have websites and databases of incidents. Copwatching groups are intended both to promote public safety and to ensure that police officers remain accountable for their actions. They are almost exclusively organized and operated by volunteers promoting citizen action.

Copwatching is somewhat less technical than Legal Observing and anyone can join a Copwatch group. Copwatchers are on the lookout for police brutality at all times, not just when a demonstration or protest is taking place. However, the goals of decreasing police brutality and keeping cops accountable for their actions against citizens are the same. They also practice careful documentation of any incidents.

Copwatchers also usually refrain from becoming physically involved in police-citizen altercations, but may use non-violent tactics to help assert the rights of a detained individual.

Resources and links for some of the more active Copwatch groups in the larger West Coast and Southwest cities can be found below. Copwatching groups in the American Southwest are gaining momentum in response to the racial profiling mandated by SB 1070.
Berkeley, CA – http://www.berkeleycopwatch.org/
Portland, OR – http://www.portlandcopwatch.org/
Los Angeles, CA – http://www.copwatchla.org/
Phoenix, AZ – http://www.phoenixcopwatch.org/

Know Your Rights

Our Know Your Rights (KYR) training is our most regular and widely held educational event. Each workshop is tailored to the needs of the particular group of participants. When working with forest activists, we include updated information regarding recent laws and prosecutions related to that movement. With immigration reform groups, we focus on the rights of non-documented people and their families. When working with LGBTQ groups, we focus on issues specific to their needs. Due to an increase in the criminalization of youth, CLDC has developed trainings specifically geared toward juveniles in an attempt to curb the abuses taking place between police and youth.

The purpose of KYR workshops is to instill activists with the confidence to make decisions about how they will engage their activism—where is the line drawn between legal and potentially illegal protesting? What “magic words” should you say to police to invoke your rights? Armed with knowledge, activists and others can make informed choices regarding their interactions with government agents and can best protect their rights should they end up in handcuffs and in the legal system.

All of our KYR trainings have an accompanying PowerPoint presentation we provide to participants who want it to share the information with their community. We allow our organizational hosts to also record the trainings so they can share the information with community members unable to attend.

CLDC workshops include trainers’ trainings, specifically geared toward enabling participants to bring complex legal information back to their communities effectively and accurately with the knowledge that they have our support and resources readied at their side. In addition, we prioritize mentoring future lawyers and legal workers, and by offering trainers trainings, we are ensuring that we duplicate our efforts and spread this knowledge faster and wider than we could ever do on our own.

Resources:

Here is a recording of one of our Know Your Rights videos:

Know Your Rights Slideshow

Know Your Rights Brochure (English)

Know Your Rights Brochure (Spanish)

Know Your Rights Brochure (Arabic)

Know Your Rights for Teens (English)