ACLU-NCA Newsletters

October 06, 2015

Read current and past ACLU-NCA newsletters. The publication contains news, announcements, and upcoming events.

What Happens When Prisoners Become Dollar Signs?

October 09, 2015

Join us as we watch “Prisons for Profit,” a short documentary chronicling the first 18 months in the life of the nation's first state prison sold to a for-profit corporation. Afterwards, we will hold a panel discussion to examine the issues further with a particular focus the impact of privatization in the District.

Smithsonian Institution Fails to Provide Nursing Mothers Space and Privacy to Pump Breast Milk at Work

October 07, 2015

The Smithsonian Institution regularly violates the legal rights of nursing mothers by failing to provide them with adequate space and privacy to pump breast milk at work, according to a letter sent today to Smithsonian Secretary David Skorton by the American Civil Liberties Union of the Nation’s Capital (ACLU-DC) and the First Shift Justice Project.

The letter documents the situation at two different Smithsonian museums, which the ACLU-DC and First Shift believe are representative of “a persistent theme of management indifference and lack of knowledge about lactation accommodation requirements under federal law.”

According to the letter, the Smithsonian Institution has no formal policy about workplace accommodations for nursing mothers and does little to accommodate their employees. As a result, women have pumped in bathrooms, had their breasts inadvertently exposed to coworkers who walk in to the rooms in which they are pumping, and pumped in spaces with no basic amenities (such as a table on which to place their equipment or an electrical outlet). Federal law requires employers to provide a secure, private place other than a bathroom, for women to express breast milk.

Make Your Voice Heard! Testify at the DC Council's Public Hearing on Body Cameras

October 06, 2015

Make your voice heard! The DC Council will be holding a public hearing on the Metropolitan Police Department's (MPD) Body Camera Program (BWC) at the John A. Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW in room 412 on Wednesday, October 21, 2015, at 10:00 AM.

The American Civil Liberties Union of the Nation’s Capital (ACLU-DC) is an organization that balances the desire for police accountability with protecting privacy. With good laws in place, recording of police-civilian encounters will promote police accountability, deter officer and civilian misconduct, and provide objective evidence to help resolve civilian complaints against police without significantly infringing on privacy.


October 05, 2015

The ACLU of the Nation’s Capital (ACLU-DC) is co-sponsoring several town hall forums throughout the month of September 2015 to hear District residents’ perspective on police-community relations. In partnership with local and national organizations and the faith-based community, ACLU-DC would like to reach communities disproportionately impacted by policing and incarceration. The ACLU-DC will share the findings of recent studies highlighting issues in criminal justice practices in the District but more importantly listen to community perspectives on policing and public safety.  We hope to connect with District residents across all eight wards and across all racial, class, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, nationality, immigration status and religious lines.

These town hall forums are open to the public. We encourage the attendance of public officials and law enforcement agencies. The emphasis however will be on providing District residents the space to speak openly about their relationships with police in their communities.  

2015 Bill of Rights Awards Dinner

September 24, 2015

Please join us for our 2015 Bill of Rights Awards Dinner featuring a keynote adresss from Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA). 

U.S. Army Discharges Conscientious Objector

September 12, 2015

We represent U.S. Army Specialist Robert Weilbacher, an Army Medic who came to understand that he was a conscientious objector and whose application for discharge was granted by the Department of the Army Conscientious Objector Review Board—the Army's final decision-making body in such cases—before it was improperly overruled by a Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army.  We filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in April 2015. 

The Army moved to dismiss that petition on various grounds, and we responded, but before the court ruled, the Army gave our client an Honorable Discharge on September 8, and we voluntarily dismissed the case on that date.  Our client believes the Army acted to avoid an unfavorable decision, and we don't disagree.

Victory: District Violated Deaf Prisoner's Rights, Federal Court Rules

September 11, 2015

In 2012, William Pierce, a profoundly Deaf man, spent 51 days incarcerated in the D.C. Correctional Treatment Facility.  In a victory for Deaf rights, U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson released today her ruling that the District of Columbia, through its contractor Corrections Corporation of America, violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act when officials failed to assess and provide reasonable accommodations for him during that time.

The court held that the District denied Mr. Pierce access to prison services and intentionally discriminated against him on the basis of his disability. The District “did nothing to evaluate Pierce’s need for accommodation, despite their knowledge that he was disabled,” the court found. “They figuratively shrugged and effectively sat on their hands with respect to this plainly hearing-disabled person in their custody.” 


September 03, 2015

There are upcoming opportunities to watch ACLU in court. Questions? Please contact us at 202-457-0800.

ACLU-DC Files Amicus Brief in John Doe No. 1 v. Burke

September 01, 2015

September 1— The ACLU of the Nation's Capital today filed an amicus brief in the D.C. Court of Appeals in an important case involving the D.C. Anti-SLAPP Act.

A "SLAPP" is a "Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation."  SLAPPs are filed against people or groups that are involved in public discussion about matters of public interest.  They have the effect, and often the intent, of chilling that debate.  In 2011, the District of Columbia enacted an Anti-SLAPP Act, seeking to protect public debate by making SLAPPs easy to dismiss and by requiring people who file SLAPPs to pay the attorneys' fees of the defendants.

The Anti-SLAPP Act also protects the privacy of people who participate in public debate anonymously, by making it easier for them to avoid disclosure of their identities in such lawsuits.

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