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Opinions & Editorials

Sep
26
2016
Op-Ed: In Syracuse, A Child Can Be Thrown In Solitary For Singing Whitney Houston (Huffington Post)

By Simon McCormack Charnasha still suffers through sleepless nights because of her experience at the Onondaga County Justice Center. The Syracuse, New York, jail keeps 16- and 17-year-old children — many of whom have mental illness — locked up in solitary, often for weeks or even months for transgressions as insignificant as wearing the wrong shoes or getting into a water fight. For the benign “offense” of speaking too loudly, Charnasha was sentenced to solitary for 32 days.

Sep
23
2016
Op-Ed: What Donald Trump Got Wrong About Stop-And-Frisk (Huffington Post)

by Donna Lieberman Short answer: Everything. As executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, I’ve learned a lot about stop-and-frisk over the years. At a “town hall” meeting on Wednesday with Sean Hannity of Fox News, Trump, in a quote now heard around the world, said about black violence: “I would do stop-and-frisk, I think you have to. We did it in New York, it worked incredibly well...” No, Mr. Trump. Stop-and-frisk in New York did not work incredibly well by any single metric. Let us count the ways.

Sep
6
2016
Op-Ed: New Yorkers Deserve to Know the History of the Cops Involved in Eric Garner's Death (NY Daily News)

By Donna Lieberman It’s been two years since the death of Eric Garner and New Yorkers still don’t know whether the officers involved in his death will be disciplined. The grand jury process was shrouded in secrecy and failed to indict a single officer for what the medical examiner called murder. This case is emblematic of law enforcement policies that disproportionately harm people of color: a criminal justice system that does not hold officers accountable for wrongdoing and where secrecy is the order of the day.

Aug
27
2016
Op-Ed: City Must Step in to Save Body Camera Program (Rochester Democrat and Chronicle)

By Iman Abid As of this month, the first police body cameras are in operation in Rochester. Our city deserves great credit for being among the first to adopt a brand-new technology specifically intended to increase police accountability. When body cameras came to national attention after the killings of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, Mayor Lovely Warren showed tremendous initiative by announcing that Rochester’s entire police force would be outfitted with them.

Aug
26
2016
Op-Ed: NYPD Ignored Court-Imposed Rules While Spying on American Muslims (Huffington Post)

By Simon McCormack The New York Police Department repeatedly violated important court-imposed safeguards when it secretly investigated American Muslims for years, according to a new report released this week by the police’s own watchdog.

Aug
5
2016
Column: Police Use of Force, the Constitution and the New NYPD Policy (New York Law Journal)

by Christopher Dunn* In the two years since Eric Garner was choked to death by an NYPD officer on Staten Island, the country has been embroiled in a heated debate about police officer killings of black civilians and, with the recent deaths of officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, about civilian killings of police officers. While concerns about racism and retribution are at the heart of that debate, the series of civilian deaths at the hands of police officers has also focused attention on the legal and policy standards governing police use of force.

Jun
22
2016
Op-Ed: Excessive Discipline Harmful (Albany Times Union)

by Donna Lieberman The state Legislature left important business undone when its session ended last week. It failed to even consider the Safe and Supportive Schools Act. How much longer will legislators ignore the harm of excessive disciplinary practices in our schools — arrests, summonses and suspensions — and the racially discriminatory impacts on children's education?

Jun
9
2016
Op-Ed: Gov. Cuomo’s BDS Blacklist Is An Affront to Free Expression (Huffington Post)

By Simon McCormack New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order this week requiring state agencies and authorities to divest from any company or institution that supports the Boycotts Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting Israel. The order not only threatens to punish constitutionally protected political speech but also requires the state of New York to create a blacklist of allies of the movement, which BDS supporters describe as an effort to ensure human rights for Palestinians.

Jun
3
2016
Column: The American Constitutional Regime Viewed From a German Perspective (New York Law Journal)

by Christopher Dunn* As we lurch towards a presidential election that will determine the composition of the U.S. Supreme Court and with it the likely fate of American constitutional law for the next generation, it can be valuable to step back and examine our constitutional landscape from a broader perspective. Having just spent six weeks teaching human rights at a Berlin university, I have had the opportunity to consider how American civil rights and liberties compare to those in Germany, one of the most important and influential countries in the world.

Mar
23
2016
Op-Ed: Paid Family Leave is Critical to Equal Opportunity For All (Albany Times Union)

By Katharine Bodde Americans work hard. We put in more hours on the job than workers in other industrialized countries, and we are given — and use — fewer vacation and personal days. What's more, the U.S. is the only developed nation that does not provide workers paid time away from work in order to care for a newborn or a seriously ill family member. Federal law gives employees of large companies 12 weeks of unpaid leave — but who can afford to forgo the pay? The few who can are at the high end of the wage scale.

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