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Opinions & Editorials

Jul
2
2015
Op-Ed: Students Deserve Dignity (Albany Times Union)

By Donna Lieberman Last week Governor Cuomo expressed his outrage to the State Education Department, calling the pervasive discrimination faced by transgender students in public schools "completely unacceptable, dangerous . . . and in complete contradiction to the values of our great state." He demanded it produce a plan of action within seven business days. Such a plan could not come a moment too soon.

Jun
4
2015
Column: Surrendering the Public Square of the Subway to Bigotry (New York Law Journal)

By Christopher Dunn In late April, New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority voted to ban all advocacy ads from MTA property, including the New York City subway and bus systems, and last Thursday Washington, D.C.’s Metro system adopted a similar ban. In both instances the agencies were responding to controversial ads proposed by an anti-Muslim group that has been running similar ads across the country and that sponsored an anti-Muslim event in Texas last month that ended in the shooting death of an assailant who apparently was targeting the event.

Apr
16
2015
Op-Ed: Strict Privacy Rules for Public School Students' Cell Phones (NY Daily News)

By Johanna Miller A student’s cell phone isn’t a wallet or hairbrush. Its contents can be as personal as a diary. In a Texas school district, for example, a teacher seized a student’s phone and searched her text-message history, discovering a private nude photograph she had sent to a friend. The teacher then shared the phone with the school district police officer. And to make matters worse, the student got in trouble — she was suspended for 30 days because of “incorrigible behavior.”

Apr
2
2015
Column: Voter-ID Laws and the 2016 Elections (New York Law Journal)

By Christopher Dunn Last week, the 2016 presidential campaign officially kicked off with United States Senator Ted Cruz of Texas announcing his candidacy. On the same day the United States Supreme Court declined to review a case from the Seventh Circuit upholding a Wisconsin statute – ushered into law by presumed 2016 candidate and current Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker – that conditions the right to vote on production of government-issued photo identification by the prospective voter.

Mar
27
2015
Op-Ed: Time to Amend State's Shameful Juvenile Justice Policy (Albany Times Union)

By Mishi Faruqee and Corey Stoughton New York is at a crossroads. Once at the forefront of sound, effective policies for juvenile justice, New York is now one of only two states (the other is North Carolina) that prosecutes all children as adults when they turn 16. Under federal law, New York must therefore put 16- and 17-year olds in adult prisons and jails instead of in juvenile facilities.

Feb
22
2015
Op-Ed: Body Cameras are Reform in Action (Rochester Democrat & Chronicle)

By KaeLyn Rich In a tense moment for police-community relations, Rochester is emerging as a leader in reform. Mayor Lovely Warren announced that the city’s entire police force will wear body cameras — making Rochester among the largest forces in the state to adopt the technology wholesale.

Feb
5
2015
Column: The 'Serial' Podcast and Disparate Impact: Civil Rights and the Real World (New York Law Journal)

By Christopher Dunn With the Supreme Court having announced last month that it will take up momentous cases about same-sex marriage and the death penalty, the Court has positioned itself to be at the center of the country’s ongoing civil rights debate later this year. But for now, two other civil rights controversies occupy center stage, albeit on very different wings.

Feb
3
2015
Op-Ed: City Should Help Students who Misbehave (NY Daily News)

By Donna Lieberman Education is a child's right — not a reward for good behavior. Sadly, in our public schools, the kids who need help the most are often the same kids missing school because of a suspension, ticket or even an arrest. During 2013-14, more than four arrests or criminal summonses were issued every day of the school year, turning routine misbehavior like drawing on the desk into criminal matters. “Insubordination” and horseplay resulted in nearly 14,000 suspensions for sixth through 12th graders.

Dec
4
2014
Column: Police Killings of Unarmed Black Men: Why No Federal Prosecutions? (New York Law Journal)

by Christopher Dunn Last week's decision by a grand jury not to indict the officer who shot and killed unarmed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, once again has triggered a national debate about criminal prosecutions of police officers.

Nov
11
2014
Op-Ed: NYPD's Change in Policy is an Improvement, but Let's Hope it Ends 'Marijuana Crusade' (NY Daily News)

By Donna Lieberman Nearly 40 years ago, New York State made possession of small amounts of marijuana a violation – like speeding or ignoring a stop light. But year after year, marijuana possession has remained the top reason the NYPD arrests New Yorkers. Every aspect of a person’s life can be impacted by a marijuana arrest, including eligibility for public housing and student financial aid, job opportunities, child custody and even immigration status.

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