This Week in Civil Rights and Civil Liberties: October 15

Welcome to This Week in Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.

Graham Sternberg co-authored this week’s round-up with David Shea.

This week the Supreme Court upheld a North Dakota voting law that disproportionately impacts Native Americans, a women’s prison in Arizona failed to provide the most basic of hygiene supplies for over half a week, and Virginia threatened to crack down on trick-or-treaters over the age of 12.

 

Supreme Court Enables Mass Disenfranchisement of North Dakota’s Native Americans. The Supreme Court upheld a North Dakota law requiring that all voters provide proof of a physical mailing address. This law disproportionately affects Native Americans, who typically use P.O. boxes as the mailing address listed on their ID. (ACLU)

Two Philly cops arrested, charged with illegally detaining man. Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner quietly charged two police officers in a stop-and-frisk case after video evidence revealed that the officers falsified the paperwork they submitted about the subsequent arrest. (The Philly Inquirer)

Letters from two female inmates of the Arizona State Prison Complex-Perryville reveal that the prison was unable to provide inmates with some of their most basic hygienic supplies for days. One letter reports how, after being told the prison was out of toilet paper, she was forced to resort to using pads and eventually a wash rag for a number of days in a row. Others wrote to family begging them to help in reporting the officers’ general indifference to their pleas. (NPR)

In speech to chiefs of police, Trump advocates stop-and-frisk for Chicago. Donald Trump announced that he has directed the attorney general’s office to take a more active role in curbing Chicago’s wave of gun violence, and said he has recommended the Justice Department work with local authorities to implement stop-and-frisk in the city. (ABC News)

Virginia city threatens trick-or-treaters over the age of 12 with jail time to thwart Halloween Mischief. Chesapeake, Virginia’s city ordinance punishes trick-or-treaters over 12 with a misdemeanor, fines, and up to six months in jail. (CBS News)

At largest ICE detention center in the country, guards called attempted suicides “failures.” The Intercept reports on abuses at the ICE processing center in Adelanto, California. “I’ve seen a few attempted suicides using the braided sheets by the vents and then the guards laugh at them and call them ‘suicide failures’ once they’re back from medical.” (The Intercept)

As feds focused on detaining kids, border drug prosecutions plummeted. The federal policy of prosecuting everyone caught entering the USA without documentation has led to a 30 percent drop in prosecutions for drug-trafficking at the border, in contravention of the Trump administration’s alleged rationale for increased border security. (USA Today)

Sotomayor pens stinging rebuke of solitary confinement. Despite concurring with the Supreme Court’s denial of certiorari to a case challenging the use of solitary confinement, Justice Sotomayor took the opportunity to lambast the practice for its cruelty and outline aspects of solitary confinement beyond the case at hand that she felt were more appropriate for consideration by the Court. (Courthouse News Service)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions plans to weigh in against Chicago police consent decree. Jeff Sessions plans to file a statement in federal court opposing the proposed court order against the Chicago PD, and alleged that an agreement between the ACLU and the City of Chicago mandating more thorough documentation of street stops led to a spike in homicides. (The Chicago Tribune)

The ACLU of Missouri is suing a Kansas City Policy officer after he kicked out the legs from underneath a black Missouri resident and smashed his face to the concrete despite showing no signs of resistance. In December 2013, while responding to a vague police call regarding a “[b]lack man, black clothing,” Officer Jordan Nelson approached Josh Bills as he was walking blocks from his own home at night. He then initiated the takedown despite the fact that Bills was standing motionless as he greeted officers with his hands down at forty-five degree angles. The entirety of the interaction was caught on tape. (ACLU)

A white woman publically apologized on Friday after setting off a fire-storm on social media by falsely accusing a black nine-year-old of sexually assaulting her in a corner store in New York City. The apology came only after security footage from inside the store revealed to Teresa Klein that she was incorrect in her claim. The incident follows increasingly-documented cases in which seemingly oversensitive white people call the police for highly questionable reasons.  (The New York Times)

A DC-suburb all-black high school football team made national news after agreeing to kneel during every game’s national anthem to protest police brutality. When the teen members of Capital Christian Academy’s football team came to their coach with the idea as a way to join the national debate over NFL players similarly kneeling during the anthem, he was fully supportive. (NBC News)

Deb Haaland, the former chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico, looks to become the first Native American woman ever elected to Congress. The path to victory for the Laguna Pueblo Tribe member looks strong in what is becoming a breakout year for Native American women running for local and national office. (The Washington Post)

A recent study of the movement of Bay Area residents leaving the city shows that poor and minority residents are settling far closer to their original home than those that are wealthier. While it comes as no surprise that this phenomenon is largely borne out of financial necessity (with more than 55 percent of movers making less than $50,000 a year), their willingness to move to less urban centers in the state is challenging the typical paradigm that minority and poor populations cluster in city centers. (SF Gate)

Written by

David is a 2L at HLS. He is interested in criminal justice with a particular bent on sentencing and prison reform. David is a member and active participant in the Harvard's Prison Legal Assistance Program (PLAP), and has interned at the Federal Public Defender's Office in Baltimore, Maryland. Before pursuing his J.D., David received an A.B. in History from Princeton University, Masters in Urban Planning (with coursework in Real Estate Finance) from The University of Southern California and worked for a number of years in private real estate investment.

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