ACLU Demands Government Provide Chelsea Manning Necessary Medical Care

September 23, 2014

Today Chelsea Manning filed a lawsuit in federal court in the District of Columbia against Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and other Department of Defense (DOD) and Department of the Army officials for their failure to provide her with medically necessary treatment for her gender dysphoria, a condition with which she was originally diagnosed by Army doctors more than four years ago.

The complaint is accompanied by a motion for a preliminary injunction demanding that Ms. Manning be provided hormone therapy, permission to follow female grooming standards, and access to treatment by a medical provider qualified to treat her condition. Ms. Manning is currently serving a thirty-five year prison sentence at the United States Disciplinary Barracks at Ft. Leavenworth Kansas, and though the military recognizes that she has gender dysphoria requiring treatment, critical care has been withheld without any medical basis.

Groups Sue U.S. Government over Life-Threatening Deportation Process against Mothers and Children Escaping Extreme Violence in Central America

August 22, 2014

 

House Committee Votes to Block D.C. Council's Efforts to Decriminalize Marijuana

June 25, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 25, 2014

CONTACT: Seema Sadanandan, Program Director, 202-601-4278, seema@aclu-nca.org; Monica Hopkins-Maxwell, Executive Director, 202-457-0800, monica@aclu-nca.org

WASHINGTON – The House Appropriations Committee today approved an amendment that blocks implementation of D.C.'s marijuana decriminalization law. The District of Columbia Appropriations bill includes a provision prohibiting the D.C. government from spending federal funds or even locally raised funds to carry out any law, rule, or regulation to reduce criminal penalties for marijuana. The amendment was introduced by Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.).

“By any measure, the war on drugs, particularly on marijuana, has been a failure and severely impacted Black communities and communities of color,” said Monica Hopkins-Maxwell, Executive Director at the ACLU of the Nation’s Capital. “Today’s rider passage is a detrimental blow in the D.C. Council’s attempt to enact smarter, fairer laws that address racial disparities and the mass incarceration of communities of color.”

Glenn Greenwald at the ACLU of the Nation's Capital's 2014 Bill of Rights Awards Dinner

April 28, 2014

 

The Honorable James Robertson speaks at the ACLU-NCA 2014 Bill of Rights Awards Dinner at The National Press Club on April 23, 2014

April 28, 2014

 

The ACLU of the Nation's Capital Welcomes Monica Hopkins-Maxwell as our new Executive Director!

April 21, 2014

In Nation's Capital, Mayor Signs Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Aimed at Racial Justice

March 31, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: 212-549-2666, media@aclu.org

WASHINGTON, DC – Today Mayor Vincent Gray of the District of Columbia signed a bill that would remove all criminal penalties from the possession of an ounce or less of marijuana. The legislation would make such possession a civil offense punishable by a $25 fine and require the forfeiture of the drug and any paraphernalia connected to personal consumption or transport. This bill is the first decriminalization measure in the United States that targets racial profiling; it explicitly prohibits police from using the smell of marijuana as a pretext for stopping and searching someone. It now awaits approval from Congress before becoming law.

"This historic legislation exists because DC residents and their leaders decided to change an ugly reality: Black people are stopped, searched, and arrested under marijuana prohibition far more than whites, when both groups use the drug at similar rates," said Seema Sadanandan, Program Director at the ACLU of the Nation's Capital.

Last July, the ACLU and the ACLU of the Nation’s Capital released The War on Marijuana in Black and White, which found that Black people in the District are eight times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites.

Sadanandan continued, "I’ve talked to hundreds of people in the District’s Black and brown communities who have been stopped and searched because police officers claimed they smelled marijuana, only to find no evidence of the drug whatsoever. Children on their way home from school, parents on their way to work—marijuana odor has become the flimsy excuse for treating people of color like criminals. With this decriminalization legislation, we will take a critical step toward ending the racial profiling of entire communities."

The ACLU report, along with research by the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, helped focus the public’s attention on marijuana reform as a tool for racial justice. The District of Columbia City Council drafted and passed the Marijuana Possession Decriminalization Amendment Act of 2014 (Council Bill 20-409), the legislation signed today by Mayor Gray.

The ACLU and the ACLU of the Nation's Capital are grateful to Councilmember Tommy Wells and the other city council members for their work on this important bill.

Join us for the 2014 Annual Bill of Rights Awards Dinner: April 23, 2014

March 26, 2014

Please join us as we honor leaders in the fight for privacy and lawyers who successfully defended civil liberties in DC. Click the image below to download the full invitation to the Bill of Rights Dinner.  Click here to download the form to purchase tickets to the dinner and support the ACLU of the Nation's Capital. 

BOR Dinner

BOR Dinner Details

BOR Dinner

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First Amendment Rights on Display with the ACLU-NCA

March 26, 2014

Woolly Mammoth Theater invites ACLU-NCA to a unique evening of theater on April 11.  The Elevator Repair Service (a New York-based theater ensemble) brings to the stage the complete oral argument from the U.S. Supreme Court in Barnes v. Glen Theatre.  At issue:  Whether nude erotic dancing is expression protected by the First Amendment.  A limited New York run last September won praise from reviewers.

Onstage immediately following the performance ACLU-NCA Legal Director Art Spitzer and academic expert and former ACLU client Judith Lynne Hanna, Ph.D. (author of Naked Truths: Strip Clubs, Democracy, and a Christian Right), will discuss the facts and issues of the case, with questions from the audience.  ACLU Board member John Davis Malloy will be the moderator. ACLU supporters are invited afterward to a private reception to continue the conversation with Art, Judy, each other - - and maybe meet the artists. (Food and beverages will be available for purchase.) 

ACLU supporters may purchase tickets at a special discount rate of $40 for any seat (including all processing fees) using the code "ACLU." (The regular total price is up to $76.50.)  Reserve seats online or, call the Woolly Mammoth Theater box office directly at (202) 393-3939 and press “0” for information and reservations.  Woolly Mammoth Theater box office is open from 10am to 6pm Mon-Fri.  This will be the hot ticket in town for April. Join us before word spreads!

D.C. Passes Marijuana Decriminalization as Step Toward Racial Justice

March 05, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: 212-549-2666, media@aclu.org

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the District of Columbia City Council passed legislation to remove criminal penalties from the possession of marijuana in amounts of one ounce or less. The bill would treat such possession as a civil offense, and awaits approval by Mayor Vincent Gray and then Congress. The vote was 10 to 1 with one abstention.

"This vote is proof: The people of Washington, DC, are tired of living in a city where a Black person is eight times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than a white person, despite similar rates of use," said Seema Sadanandan, Program Director at the ACLU of the Nation's Capital. "This legislation is a victory for racial justice — a crucial step towards eliminating racial profiling in the enforcement of drug laws and the disproportionate punishments suffered by people of color in this city."

Racial justice was at the forefront of the public debate leading up to today's victory, particularly the severe racial disparities in arrests in the District for marijuana possession revealed by The War on Marijuana in Black and White, a report released last June by the ACLU, and findings in Racial Disparities in Arrests in the District of Columbia, 2009-2011, issued in July by the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.

Ezekiel Edwards, Director of the ACLU's Criminal Law Reform Project, commented, "With its decriminalization bill, Washington, DC, joins the ever-growing number of cities and states enacting marijuana reform. We look forward to the day when the whole country has rejected marijuana prohibition and the unfair burdens it places on people of color."

Under the Marijuana Possession Decriminalization Amendment Act of 2014 (Council Bill 20-409), police would fine a person $25 for possessing an ounce or less of marijuana, while also requiring forfeiture of the marijuana and any paraphernalia connected to personal consumption or transport.

 

The ACLU and the ACLU of the Nation's Capital are grateful to Councilmember Tommy Wells and the other city council members for their work on this important bill.

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