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.
This simple, yet extraordinarily heavy declaration has swept the nation in recent years. But what does such a simple declaration mean? More specifically, what does it say for our country that 150 years post-emancipation the descendants of slaves must continuously declare to the world that their lives matter?
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.
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.
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.
Over the past several months, sanctuary cities have been under increased scrutiny by federal officials. We can’t allow this.
Why Sanctuary Cities?
Sanctuary cities have adopted social, economic and political policies to protect the constitutional rights of all their residents, particularly those who are undocumented.
As the two-year anniversary of Cleveland’s second consent decree approaches, many residents are worried that the Cleveland Division of Police will adopt Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ “law and order” attitude. Mr. Sessions champions loosening restrictions on police. That “law and order” attitude will likely only be used against civilians and not the law enforcement officers who have been tasked to protect them.
The Cleveland Indians home opener represents spring weather, renewed hope for a World Series title, and an unfortunate social stigma. It has become impossible to overlook the controversy that the Chief Wahoo logo generates as it continues to perpetuate racism against Native Americans.
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.
After bringing the legendary Selma marches to the big screen, Ava Duvernay returns with a new Netflix documentary, 13th, telling the true story behind the 13th amendment. Passed in 1865, it declared that “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, nor any place subject to their jurisdiction.” The amendment was one of the most important in history, yet its wording enabled slavery to evolve in America, allowing discrimination against African Americans to continue within our justice system.
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.
By Ellen Kubit
For years, the story has been the same. Its plot involves unnecessary stops, disproportionate responses, and inexcusable use-of-force. People of color in Cleveland, and cities like it across the country, have become intimately familiar with this narrative. Police enforce the law in different ways depending on who they are policing.
By Tim Cable
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is an opportunity to reflect not just on what King accomplished but also on how his tactics can inform our work for social change.
When King wrote his Letter from Birmingham Jail, racial segregation was an institution.
Cassie Chenoweth is a high school intern with the ACLU of Ohio.
While many people around the world are rightly taking a stand against discrimination based on race, gender, or sexual orientation, among others, we sometimes miss how discrimination works through cultural elements like vernacular or clothing style.
By Shakyra Diaz
Many would like to quickly move forward now that a grand jury has decided not to indict the Cleveland police officers involved in the tragic death of Tamir Rice, the 12 year old child who was shot in less than one second while playing in a park.
By Ellen Kubit
November 23, 2015 marked the one-year anniversary of the death of Tamir Rice, a 12-year old boy shot and killed by Cleveland police while playing in a park near his home. His family and local activists organized several events over the weekend to celebrate his life and to draw attention to the grand jury investigation overseen by Prosecutor McGinty.
Without ever being charged with a crime, you can have your property permanently seized and sold for profit to subsidize law enforcement agency budgets in Ohio. This practice, known as civil asset forfeiture, gives law enforcement agencies the ability to take any asset–such as cash, vehicles, real estate and other personal property–without a warrant, a conviction, or even criminal charges.
With early voting now underway in Ohio, the potential that marijuana may be legalized remains the hottest political topic in our state. With Colorado reporting sales of $100 million in just the last month, it’s ensured that legalization will remain on peoples’ minds here and everywhere else.
By Shakyra Diaz
Michael is 23, African-American and incarcerated because he was caught with a bag of marijuana. Now he’s a “repeat offender” because of a similar arrest years ago. He’s lost his job, freedoms, college plans, perhaps his shot at any decent future.
By Steve David
The monumental events of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s gave hope to many African-Americans who desired an end to racial segregation and discrimination. The abolishment of Jim Crow laws ended the implementation of laws that supported racial segregation in Southern states.
By Shakyra Diaz
There has been recent public outcry about the disproportionate interactions with law enforcement in communities of color. To better understand what’s happening, Ohio could make use of a centralized database that would document instances of excessive force, lethal and non-lethal.
Earlier this year, two criminal justice students at Sinclair Community College in voiced support for a database that specifically would document instances of police shootings.
By Shakyra Diaz
Several weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Drug Court with fellow ACLU intern, Kyra Schoonover. It certainly was an eye-opening experience for both of us.
How It Works
Before the proceedings began, we met with the judge.