Judge Won’t Stop Lawsuit Against Idaho Ag-Gag Law, Agrees It Restricts Protected Speech

By: Friday September 5, 2014 6:47 am

A federal district court judge in Idaho has declined to dismiss a lawsuit filed by a coalition of groups and journalists against a law that makes it possible for the state to jail anyone, who secretly films or records animal abuse, for a year.

In February, Idaho became the seventh state to pass an “ag-gag law” or a farm secrecy statute aimed at political speech on industrial agricultural production.

 

Georgia Republicans Have Citizen Arrested for Videotaping Them at Public Event

By: Tuesday September 2, 2014 8:56 am

Nydia Tisdale is a citizen journalist in Georgia. She does not get paid for her work, but instead sees it as a civic duty to record politicians and the political process, and then upload those videos to YouTube. What she does is in large part what democracy is all about– involved, informed citizens exercising their rights under the First Amendment.

Not in Georgia.

Arrested Legal Observer: Ferguson a ‘Pilot Program’ for When Communities Respond to Police Brutality

By: Saturday August 30, 2014 11:25 am

The National Lawyers Guild had legal observers on the ground in Ferguson to monitor protests against the killing of unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, by a Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. They were also present to help with jail support for community residents. But, while working, four of the NLG’s observers fell victim to the police occupation they were trying to help Ferguson fight and were arrested.

As Dennis Black, one of the legal observers arrested, commented, “Ferguson is a pilot program of what’s to come when communities respond to police brutality.” He and others had traveled from Detroit to see a preview of what police might do to squelch uprisings there.

US Police Idly Watch as Congo President’s Security Force Beats Protesters on American Streets

By: Thursday August 7, 2014 10:33 am

Despite the protests of Democratic Republic of Congo President Joesph Kabila’s presidency taking place on American soil, President Kabila’s security forces saw fit to brutalize the protesters – beating them right in front of American law enforcement. Video shows what is believed to be a member of President Kabila’s security detail stomp a protester as a US police officer looks on. The thugs walk away and all the police do is offer to call the beaten man an ambulance – protect and serve much?

Death Row Prisoner Challenges Lethal Injection Secrecy Based on 1st Amendment

By: Wednesday July 16, 2014 11:02 am

An Arizona death row prisoner is arguing that the government’s secrecy is in violation of the First Amendment rights of all citizens to have complete information about the execution process.

US Citizens Sue Government Over ‘Suspicious Activity’ Program Which Keeps Files on Innocent People

By: Thursday July 10, 2014 6:00 pm

he American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit on behalf of five United States citizens challenging a domestic surveillance program, which involves the collection of “suspicious activity reports” on individuals.

The federal government has a National Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative (NSI) that, according to the ACLU’s filed complaint [PDF], “encourages state and local law enforcement agencies as well as private actors to collect and report information that has a potential nexus to terrorism in the form of so-called ‘suspicious activity reports [SARs].’”

Any individual who is flagged as having a “potential nexus to terrorism” will automatically be subject to “law enforcement scrutiny.

Good News? Maybe. Supreme Court Says Cell Phone Searches Need Warrants

By: Monday June 30, 2014 2:32 pm

Does this matter when talking about the NSA’s and the FBI’s technological dragnet? Maybe. Some suggest that law enforcement will work around the new restrictions by seeking perfunctory, expedited warrants automatically for each arrest, or through the use of technologies such as Stingray, which can electronically gather cell conversations without warrant. Stingray can also be used to track a person’s movements without a warrant, negating the old-school GPS devices the Supreme Court declared require a warrant.

Supreme Court: First Amendment Protects Public Employees Who Give Whistleblower Testimony

By: Thursday June 19, 2014 4:20 pm

The United States Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment protects public employees who provide testimony during corruption trials from job retaliation, such as being fired.

The case, Lane v. Franks, involves Edward Lane, who according to NPR was “hired in 2006 to head a program for juvenile offenders” at Central Alabama Community College that provided “counseling and education as an alternative to incarceration.” The program “received substantial federal funds.”

Judge Dismisses Major Lawsuit Against Alleged Domestic Military Spying on Antiwar Activists Without Reviewing Evidence

By: Thursday June 19, 2014 9:10 am

A federal district court judge in the state of Washington has dismissed a major lawsuit challenging alleged domestic military spying against antiwar activists. He made the choice not to do his job, admitted to lawyers representing activists that he had not reviewed all the evidence and issued a decision that could seriously jeopardize the ability of citizens to dissent in American society if it is allowed to stand.

House Committees Take First Step to Reform NSA

By: Thursday May 15, 2014 5:16 pm

Last week, the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees approved a bill that would begin the process of restoring constitutional limits to dragnet government surveillance. While a praiseworthy step in the right direction, the progress to date remains both entirely too slow, and deferential to the intelligence agencies.

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