Panel on Civil Liberties Issues in Rensselaer County

June 13, 2018 @ 6:00 pm
@ 8:30 pm

Join the Capital Region Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) at an expert panel and public discussion to highlight a number of civil liberties concerns that have arisen in Rensselaer County. The event will take place on Wednesday, June 13 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. It is free and open to the public.

RSVP to the event

Join us to discuss the following issues:

  • County involvement in immigration enforcement. Instead of leaving immigration enforcement to federal authorities, Rensselaer County has become the first county in the state to participate in the controversial 287 (g) program that requires sheriff’s deputies to do the work of federal agents. Zach Ahmad, NYCLU policy counsel, will lead the discussion.
  • Rensselaer County Jail. Erin Beth Harrist, NYCLU senior staff attorney, will highlight the failure of Rensselaer County to follow federal policies aimed at protecting transgender inmates from abuse. She also will address the need for an enhanced visitation program at the jail that would strengthen family ties by allowing inmates to meet with their children and partners in relaxed, informal settings.
  • Local nuisance laws will be addressed by NYCLU legal fellow Scout Katovich. These laws often have a harmful impact on victims of domestic violence since landlords often evict tenants whose complaints bring frequent police visits, even though it is the tenant’s life or health that may be threatened.
  • District Attorney’s role in criminal justice reform will be discussed by Nicole Triplett, NYCLU policy counsel. The NYCLU has been in conversations with DAs around the state on the need for criminal justice reforms such as reducing cash bail and speeding up trials. The Rensselaer County District Attorney’s office has an important role to play in these needed reforms.
  • RPI’s suppression of free speech and free expression. Over the course of several years, the administration of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has taken a number of steps—banning artwork, attacking student organizations and summoning police to film student protests—that threaten First Amendment rights. Kathy Manley, a local attorney and president of the NYCLU Capital Region Chapter, will discuss the rights at stake.

Short presentations by panel leaders will be followed by a public Q & A period, which, in turn, will be followed by break-out discussions on each topic for those wishing to become more involved and informed. A general plenary discussion focusing on next steps will conclude the program.

Refreshments will be provided.

Melanie Trimble, NYCLU Capital Region Chapter Director, 518-436-8594