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News & Press Releases

Dec
3
2014
NYCLU Sues to Allow Families to Visit the Gravesites of their Loved Ones on Hart Island

The New York Civil Liberties Union today filed a class-action lawsuit to allow family members to visit the graves of their loved ones buried in New York City’s potter’s field, Hart Island – the final resting place for some 1 million people and the largest mass grave in the United States. Current restrictive policies by the Department of Corrections (DOC), which uses prison labor to bury poor or unknown people and oversees all operations on the island, bar people from visiting the graves of their loved ones.

Oct
2
2014
NYCLU: New Albany Cyberbullying Bill Harms Youth

The New York Civil Liberties Union today sent a letter urging Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy to reject a new cyberbullying bill because of its significant potential to harm youth and criminalize their constitutionally protected speech, while also failing to reduce bullying. The bill, Local Law F of 2014, imposes criminal sanctions, including prison sentences and fines, on young people for engaging in broad categories of speech online.

Aug
18
2014
NYCLU Victory Secures Public’s Right to Know if Erie County has Cleaned Up its Jails

In a victory for open government, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals today ruled that Erie County must unseal reports on the conditions in its jails. The decision is a result of the New York Civil Liberties Union’s intervention in a case brought by the U.S. Department of Justice. ““This is a victory for open government and an important step in securing healthy and humane conditions at the Erie County Holding Center, and throughout the county’s correctional system," said John A. Curr III, director of the NYCLU’s Western Regional Office.

Aug
8
2014
NYCLU Objects to Manhattan DA’s Grab of Facebook Users’ Activity in Court Brief

In response to the Manhattan district attorney’s sweeping warrants forcing Facebook to turn over the contents of 381 Facebook accounts, the New York Civil Liberties Union and the American Civil Liberties Union today submitted a friend of the court brief in support of Facebook’s appeal challenging the constitutionality of these warrants.

Jul
18
2014
Judge Rules NYCLU Can Protect Donor Lists in Victory for Free Speech

In response to a decision today that the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) erroneously denied the New York Civil Liberties Union and three other organizations exemption from disclosing their donor lists, the NYCLU released the following statement. It is attributable to Executive Director Donna Lieberman:

Jul
1
2014
NY’s Highest Court Says Cyberbullying Criminal Law Goes Too Far

In a victory for free speech, the New York State Court of Appeals today struck down Albany County’s cyberbullying law, finding that it sweeps too broadly and criminalizes protected speech. The decision is important nationally as it is one of the first times any state’s highest court has taken on a law that makes it a crime to bully people online, ordinances that are becoming increasingly popular and overwhelmingly target children.

Jun
18
2014
New Settlement Protects Right to Film Police in Suffolk County

In a settlement approved late Tuesday by the Suffolk County Legislature, the Suffolk County Police Department has agreed to annually train and test all police officers on the First Amendment right of the public and the media to observe, photograph and record police activity in public locations.

May
5
2014
Supreme Court Upholds Town Government Prayers

The Supreme Court today upheld a New York town’s practice of starting town meetings with official sectarian prayer. The practice was challenged by residents of Greece, who objected to hearing government prayers, the vast majority of which were expressly Christian invocations, as a condition of attending public meetings.

Apr
15
2014
NYPD Shuts Unit That Mapped Muslim Communities

The New York Police Department has shuttered the unit that created maps and collected other information on Muslim communities in the New York City area, according to a report today by The New York Times. "The NYPD's disbanding of a unit that targeted New York Muslims and mapped their everyday institutions and activities is a welcome first step for which we commend Commissioner Bratton," said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. "We hope that the Demographics Unit's discriminatory activities will not be carried out by other parts of the NYPD."

Apr
3
2014
Federal Appeals Court Supports Religious Freedom by Keeping Worship Out of Public Schools

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday morning that the New York City Department of Education may restrict churches from using public school facilities for religious worship services, a decision applauded by the leadership of the New York Civil Liberties Union.

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