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News & Press Releases

Sep
25
2014
Justice Department Issues Landmark Support for Public Defense Suit

The Justice Department today submitted a “statement of interest” in a case filed by the New York Civil Liberties Union and the law firm of Schulte, Roth and Zabel LLP aimed at overhauling the state’s public defense system and slated to go to trial on Oct. 7. This is the first time that the Department of Justice has weighed in on public defense in a state court proceeding in the more than 50 years since the U.S. Supreme Court held that states must provide the right to counsel to poor people accused of crimes.

Sep
17
2014
NYCLU Report Exposes NY’s Failure to Provide Public Defense to Poor in Violation of Constitution

The New York Civil Liberties Union today released a report revealing grim new data regarding New York State’s abject failure to provide public defense services to poor people accused of crimes, a violation of the U.S. Constitution, state constitution and the laws of New York. The new report also features testimonials from New Yorkers across the state whose families, homes and livelihoods were devastated by the broken public defense system.

Aug
27
2014
NYCLU Unveils ‘Wheel of Justice’ Game to Highlight NY’s Broken Public Defense System

At a press conference today in Washington Square Park, the New York Civil Liberties Union kicked off its Wheel of Justice NY campaign to highlight New York State’s broke public defense system. The campaign – complete with a travelling Wheel of Fortune-style game that can also be played online – calls on Governor Cuomo to end the state’s failure to provide effective attorneys to poor New Yorkers accused of crimes, and settle an NYCLU lawsuit on the matter going to trial this October. The trial will be the first of its kind in the nation.

Aug
19
2014
NYCLU Urges Veto of Bill Protecting Rikers Guards Who Brutalize Inmates

The New York Civil Liberties Union today sent a letter urging Governor Cuomo to veto a bill drafted by the correction officers union that seeks to protect guards from prosecution for acts of brutality against inmates at Rikers Island facilities. The bill would give the Queens District Attorney exclusive jurisdiction in such cases.

Aug
14
2014
NYCLU Victory: Wedding Venues Cannot Discriminate Against Same-Sex Couples

The New York State Division of Human Rights has affirmed it is illegal for businesses to discriminate based on sexual orientation. The New York Civil Liberties Union victory came in the case of Melisa and Jennifer McCarthy, whose wedding was rejected by the owners of an Albany area farm and wedding venue when the owners found out that they were a same-sex couple. “No one should have the happiest time of their life marred by discrimination,” said Jennifer McCarthy. “We hope this decision will protect all New Yorkers from having to go through the hurt that we experienced.”

Jul
31
2014
NY Sheriffs Stop Unlawfully Jailing Immigrants Thanks to NYCLU Advocacy

Thanks to advocacy by the New York Civil Liberties Union, the New York State Sheriffs’ Association has advised all sheriffs across the state to stop imprisoning people without a warrant just so federal agencies can investigate them for immigration purposes. In response to the Sheriffs’ Association guidance, at least 10 counties have stopped honoring federal government requests that they jail people who have been arrested after they would have otherwise been released.

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
10
2014
Women's Equality Coalition Calls on the New York State Senate to Vote on the Women's Equality Act

Leaders and advocates from the Women's Equality Coalition stand with legislators from both the State Assembly and State Senate today to urge the passage of the full Women's Equality Act (WEA), a bill supported by the vast majority of New Yorkers. The WEA provides common sense updates to existing New York law that will ensure the state’s 10 million mothers, sisters, daughters and wives are not held back by discrimination. This critical legislation will remove barriers to economic security, preserves access to reproductive health care and helps survivors of domestic violence.

Jan
28
2014
NYCLU: JCOPE Decision Violates the Right to Political and Ideological Association

In response to a decision today by the state's lobbying regulator to decline to exempt the New York Civil Liberties Union and three other controversial organizations from disclosing its donors, the NYCLU released the following statement. It is attributable to Executive Director Donna Lieberman:

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