This morning the ACLU of Ohio delivered hundreds of petitions to Judge John J. Russo from residents in Northeast Ohio who support expedited bail reform policies in Cuyahoga County. The petition delivery followed the release of a report from the Cuyahoga County task force on bail, which was released on Friday, March 16.
A mayor’s court is a local-level court that hears cases about traffic violations, minor misdemeanors, and other offenses that cannot result in jail time, and they only operate in Ohio and Louisiana. In Ohio, someone does not have to be a judge, or even have a law degree, to hear cases in mayor’s courts.
In September of 2017, Cleveland.com released shocking surveillance footage of officers at Cuyahoga County’s Juvenile Detention Center standing guard as teenagers fought each other. Grainy footage shows a gray industrial common area, adorned in concrete and linoleum, as a burly detention officer enters with two young men.
Imagine receiving a notice from your landlord that you are being evicted because city officials have determined that your conduct makes the property a “nuisance.” Perhaps your teenage child has stayed out past curfew one too many times causing your neighbors to complain.
The 5th annual #GivingTuesday has come and gone but our gratitude for all of you will last much longer than the 24-hour, social media movement. It’s been a wild year of defending civil liberties whether it be fighting Ohio’s illegal voter purge, lobbying against abortion bans introduced in the Ohio General Assembly, suing police departments that use unconstitutional force, or advocating to change Ohio’s discriminatory birth certificate policy, we’ve been hard at work, and there’s no one we’d rather start 2018 with than you.
Alva E. Campbell Jr. is scheduled to be executed at 10 a.m. on November 15th at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, OH. It will be the third execution this year in Ohio, following a moratorium on the death penalty after a severely botched execution took place in 2014.
What is State Issue 1?
Also known as Marsy’s Law or the Ohio Crime Victim Bill of Rights (OCVBR), it would amend Article I, Section 10a of the Ohio Constitution to establish enforceable victim rights within the Ohio Constitution. Voters will decide this issue at the November 7, 2017 election.
Historically, a judge set bail based on a single consideration: whether a person would reappear in court to answer for the alleged crime. It wasn’t until later in the 20th century that nationwide reforms allowed judges to consider public safety as a reason to deny bail.
Cities across the state are using an old philosophy to address the current opioid crisis: charge drug addicts with a crime. Specifically in Ohio, cities are charging overdose victims with inducing panic, which includes a first degree misdemeanor, up to 180 days in jail and a $1000 fine.
By Dan Rogan
“Information is a Right: The Press’s Role in Illuminating Mass Incarceration and Race”
With Keynote Speaker Jamil Smith
The 2017 Belle and Ed Likover Lecture
Sunday, October 22, 2 p.m.
Cleveland State University
Bert L. & Iris S. Wolstein Center, Annex
2000 Prospect Ave.
Our two international interns from Humanity In Action, Julie Vainqueur and Lukasz Niparko, articulate their responses to Ava DuVernay’s powerful documentary, 13th.
Julie Vainqueur, writing from a French, Afrocaribbean perspective.
I want to communicate about issues that matter, to listen to the unheard, amplify their voices, and to educate others about the social injustices of the world.
Wednesday, September the 13th, marks the second execution to take its place in the State of Ohio following a three year rupture after Governor John Kasich launched a moratorium on executions, subsequent to the torturous effects of the lethal concoction of midazolam and hydromorphone used in the execution of Dennis McGuire on January 16th, 2014.
Every day, people with felony and misdemeanor convictions are released from jails and prisons across the state, ready to start over and become upstanding, contributing members of society. For many of these individuals, reality kicks in and they come to realize that their punishment isn’t truly over.
By Emma Keeshin
With so many candidates for Cleveland mayor and City Council this year, it can be hard to keep track of all of them. But something you must keep track of is their commitment to police reform in Cleveland.
That’s because Cleveland is in year two of a multi-year police reform process, known as the consent decree, which is overseen by a federal judge after the U.S.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke in Columbus, Ohio on Wednesday to discuss the opioid epidemic both on the state and national level. It is no exaggeration to call it an epidemic. In 2016 alone, over 4100 Ohioans died from opioid overdoses, marking a 36% increase from 2015’s record-breaking number.
Once again, Ohio is at the heart of it all. There is perhaps nowhere in the nation grappling with the opioid crisis as much as the Buckeye State. In fact, leaders recently filed a lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies, alleging they were misleading the public about the addictiveness of painkillers.
“On Wednesday, June 14th, Sheriff Jim Neil declared a state of emergency at the Hamilton County Justice Center due to jail overcrowding. The ACLU of Ohio has taken bail reform head on, and it is rapidly becoming one of our main criminal justice focus areas.
The only good thing about Washington Court House arresting naloxone-revived opioid users is that it shows everything wrong with criminal justice today. Since February, this town nestled between Columbus and Cincinnati has been charging overdose victims with “Inducing Panic” after emergency responders revive them.
Gary Daniels, chief lobbyist for the ACLU of Ohio, is a realistic optimist—a valuable trait for the rare dissenting voice against mass incarceration in the Ohio Statehouse.
Our powerful new report, Statehouse to Prison Pipeline 2017, sprang from Gary’s everyday experience listening to legislators, police and prosecutors as they earnestly justify destructive policies: sending more people to prison, for more reasons, for longer periods.
On Friday, January 27, ACLU of Ohio senior policy director Mike Brickner spoke to participants at a symposium on criminal justice reform, which was held at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. Brickner touched on a familiar but too often ignored problem: Ohio’s growing prison population.
As part of our “tough on crime” mentality, many elected officials and members of the public have supported the belief that people convicted of serious violent crimes are deserving of death, yet few of us look beyond the crime to see how these sentences are handed down.
Sentenced to ten years, out in two. Outrageous!
The myth that prisoners serve small fractions of sentences is one of the most destructive falsehoods driving the tragedy of mass incarceration. In Ohio and elsewhere, the use of parole and probation has shrunk to levels that can only be described as harmful to us all.
By Mike Uth
The American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch recently released a startling and heart-breaking report on the drug war called Every 25 Seconds: The Human Toll of Criminalizing Drug Use in the United States. The title’s “25 seconds” refers to the frequency of drug possession arrests in the United States—not selling or making drugs, simply the act of having a drug or, sometimes, merely drug residue.
Many Americans believe a felony or other criminal conviction prevents you from voting. In reality, it depends on the state.
The patchwork of state laws feeds the myth that people with criminal records cannot vote. This lack of consistency in state laws makes it confusing for returning citizens.
By Steve David
Last week, the Department of Justice announced an end to using private prisons to hold federal prisoners. This decision followed a scathing report which highlighted that private prisons are less safe, provide less services and programs, and do not substantially save on costs.
Attorney Andrea Burton didn’t walk into a local Youngstown courtroom with a large banner or poster — she simply had a small metal button with the words “Black Lives Matter” on her lapel. That was enough for Judge Robert Milich to sentence her to five days in the Mahoning County Jail because she refused to remove the pin.
By Joanna Saul
The RNC is barely underway and civil liberties are already at the forefront of the discussion.
Following the tragic shooting of police officers in Baton Rouge, the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association sent a letter to Governor John Kasich requesting that he outlaw open-carry in Cuyahoga County until after the RNC is over.
Mr. Kenyatta is a prisoner rights activist and businessman who was released from prison 13 years ago. He spent time in solitary confinement at both of Ohio’s maximum-security prisons and was part of the ACLU lawsuit, Austin v Wilkinson, which drastically changed prisoner classification in Ohio to ensure more humane living conditions.
By Dan Rogan
Orange is the New Black – the binge-worthy, Peabody Award Winning, Netflix series – returns with Season 4 on June 17. Last season, the fictional Litchfield Correctional Facility faced closing its doors due to lack of funding and is soon after taken over by a private prison corporation.
This post is part of the joint report between Disability Rights Ohio and the ACLU of Ohio – “Shining a Light on Solitary Confinement: Why Ohio Needs Reform.” Take action to reform solitary confinement in Ohio.
Justin committed a crime. He was found guilty of aggravated murder and robbery, along with two others.