This weekend’s violence against people who uphold the values of a democracy grounded in racial equality is a tragic reminder of how the words, actions and silence of one man can ignite racial hatred. Make no mistake about this, the violence and the loss of life lies squarely with Donald Trump. His pretense of ignorance of white supremacists during his campaign, his hiring of white nationalists in the White House, and his intentional refusal to denounce white supremacist violence immediately after the events in Charlottesville nurtures and feeds into a segment of the country that yearns for a race war.
LatinoJustice and a team of lawyers were recently honored with Public Justice’s 2017 Trial Lawyer of The Year award for their impactful six-year long litigation in Gonzalez v. Pritzker. The federal class action lawsuit secured a “groundbreaking settlement requiring the U.S. Census Bureau to use a fair method to determine whether the criminal history of an applicant justifies his or her rejection from a job”.
August 1, 2017 – LatinoJustice PRLDEF and The New York Civil Liberties Union today filed Freedom of Information Law requests with South Country Central School District and the Suffolk County Police Department regarding suspensions of immigrant students for questionable gang affiliations. The requests seek to determine the criteria for such suspensions, what information is shared with the police and what information police may be relaying to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
New York – A longtime Brentwood, N.Y. resident filed a complaint against Suffolk County, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and other defendants after being unconstitutionally detained by the Suffolk County Sheriff at the request of federal immigration agents after his bail had already been posted.
“LatinoJustice joins with our colleagues at the ACLU-NJ in cheering the unanimous decision issued by the New Jersey Supreme Court today concerning police accountability in North Jersey Media Group v. Lyndhurst, a pivotal case that will play a large role in shaping police transparency in New Jersey.”
New York, NY: A new report released today by the Marijuana Arrest Research Project, commissioned by the Drug Policy Alliance, shows that marijuana possession arrests under Mayor de Blasio continue to be marked by extremely high racial disparities, as was the case under the Bloomberg and Giuliani administrations.
Fifteen Puerto Rican farmworkers who were recruited to work in Michigan, housed in inhospitable conditions, paid and treated unfairly and were all fired after repeated comments comparing them to other Latino workers, filed a lawsuit charging discrimination and labor abuses in violation of state and federal statutes.
An unprecedented and wide-ranging coalition of powerful stakeholders is calling for an end to the widespread practice of arresting people solely for drug use or possession. A press teleconference this Tuesday will be accompanied by the release of a new Drug Policy Alliance report, endorsed by over 30 organizations, that lays out a roadmap for how U.S. jurisdictions can move toward ending the criminalization of people who use drugs.
Port Chester Village board members announced Wednesday that they would not enter into an agreement with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) which would have required the police department to provide information about residents to ICE agents.
Throughout the last six years LatinoJustice PRLDEF supported the commutation of the disproportionate criminal sentence of Oscar Lopez Rivera. His original sentence of 55 years for conspiracy to commit sedition and, subsequently, 15 additional years for conspiracy to escape were both grossly disproportionate with other sentences emitted by federal courts at the time. With over 35 years of incarceration, 12 of them in solitary confinement, we easily concluded that the only purpose of jailing Lopez Rivera was retribution, pure and simple. Given his age and the inordinate length of the sentence it was equally clear that he was sentenced for his political beliefs.
LatinoJustice PRLDEF, a national leader in the fight for Latino civil and human rights, has opened up a satellite office located at the Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center Randolph Hearst Public Advocacy Center in Central Islip. The office is staffed by a legal fellow and a community organizer, and will also be used by LatinoJustice’s NYC-based legal staff working in Long Island.
LatinoJustice PRLDEF (“LatinoJustice”) and Dēmos submitted an amici curiae brief to the U.S. Supreme Court today in support of a petition for certiorari challenging Michigan’s controversial Emergency Manager Law, Public Act (PA) 436, arguing that laws which remove governmental authority from locally-elected officials in municipalities that have disproportionately large minority populations are discriminatory and subject to scrutiny under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, and that the Sixth Circuit ruled in error below by failing to examine the statute under Section 2’s totality of circumstances test. The amici are represented by Debevoise & Plimpton LLP.
LatinoJustice PRLDEF, the Hudson Valley Community Coalition and the Westpac Foundation have sent a letter to Westchester District Attorney Anthony A. Scarpino urging him to create an Office of Immigrant Affairs to better serve Latina/o/x’s and other immigrant residents in the lower Hudson Valley.
More than 30 scholars, reformers, activist, lawyers and policy analysts will gather in Orlando on April 18-19 to discuss issues around Latinos and the criminal justice system. The free, open-to-the-public convening will cover topics such as the death penalty, felon disenfranchisement, bail reform, drug policy, and ICE raids and detainers.
Kira Romero-Craft, an experienced lawyer in immigration and juvenile justice issues, has joined LatinoJustice PRLDEF as an associate counsel. Romero-Craft will be based in the organization’s Orlando office serving the entire Southeast region of the country.
Allowing immigration agents to stalk and arrest undocumented immigrants in courthouses undermines the judicial system and results in “separating children from parents, breaking up families who have lived together for decades,” and could cut off many immigrants from legal representation, according to a letter sent from LatinoJustice PRLDEF to New York State Chief Justice Hon. Janet DeFore.
Washington, DC – Today, Hispanics for a Fair Judiciary (HFJ) gathered Latino leaders from across the community to share their perspective on the confirmation process of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court, including analysis of Senate Republicans putting into motion the “nuclear option,” a rule change that would allow the confirmation of Supreme Court Justices by a simple majority, rather than a 60 vote threshold.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA), a coalition of 46 of the nation’s most preeminent Latino advocacy organizations, calls on the federal government to end the 287(g) program, which permits the federal government to deputize inadequately trained state and local law enforcement officers to enforce federal immigration law. In a resolution adopted by NHLA’s board, the coalition also committed itself to a campaign to discourage local and state jurisdictions from entering into 287(g) agreements with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and to instead adopt community trust policies that strengthen the relationships among local law enforcement, city officials, and immigrant residents and their families.
NEW YORK, NY - The Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform, which included LatinoJustice President and General Counsel Juan Cartagena, joined by City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito – who convened the Commission in early 2016 – Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer, advocates, and formerly incarcerated individuals and family members, outlined a detailed, achievable plan to permanently close Rikers Island and establish of five state-of-the-art borough-based jail facilities. The Commission’s recommendation to close Rikers were detailed in its final report released on Friday, following more than a year of in-depth research and extensive community outreach.