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ACLU of Michigan

Benton Harbor High School
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The ACLU of Michigan is asking Governor Gretchen Whitmer to let local leaders in Benton Harbor decide what happens in their schools.

The ACLU delivered that message in the form of a letter to the governor’s office on Friday.

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The ACLU of Michigan is asking a federal judge to toss out a lawsuit filed by parents against the Williamston Community School Board.

The lawsuit claims a board policy that’s supposed to protect LGBTQ students from harassment is unfair to their children – and that it violates their First Amendment rights.

Jay Kaplan is an ACLU attorney. He says the policy protects the rights of LGBTQ students.

Grand Rapids Police Department station
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Two social justice organizations filed complaints against the Grand Rapids Police Department with the state Department of Civil Rights.

The ACLU of Michigan and the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center say the GRPD has racially profiled residents in two recent incidents.

Grand Rapids Police cruiser
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

The Grand Rapids Police Department exonerated a controversial captain who called Immigration and Customs Enforcement about a U.S. citizen and Marine combat veteran.

The officer, Captain Curt VanderKooi, was reinstated on Friday after the department opened an internal investigation, which exonerated VanderKooi. 

36thdistrictcourt.org

A new lawsuit aims to end cash bail and overhaul the pre-trial justice system at Detroit’s 36th district court.

The ACLU filed the federal class action suit Sunday. It argues that the 36th district’s current process for arraigning defendants violates their constitutional rights in several ways.

lead service line held by worker
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Attorneys representing groups that sued to force the replacement of Flint’s lead service lines expect the job will get done this year.

Earlier this week, the city of Flint awarded contracts to replace the lead and galvanized pipes connecting homes to city water mains. It’s the final phase of a project started at the height of Flint’s water crisis. The pipes were a primary source of lead in Flint’s drinking water.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A Southgate school has made changes after the American Civil Liberties Union-Michigan warned it may be breaking the law in its student application process.

The ACLU sent a letter to the Creative Montessori Academy this week demanding that it revise its online enrollment process. The civil rights group says the school was potentially violating the constitutional rights of undocumented school-age children.

Grand Rapids Police cruiser
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Department of Civil Rights is considering a full investigation into the Grand Rapids Police Department.

The department held two public hearings Thursday to hear from residents, and most of the testimonies painted the police in a negative light.

James Fassinger / Stillscenes

Today on Stateside, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan is accusing Grand Rapids police of engaging in racial profiling after one of its officers contacted immigration authorities upon the arrest of a Marine combat veteran last December. Plus, two members of Michigan's business community talk about what "business friendly" means to woman and minority business leaders. 

Attorneys speaking at meeting
Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Attorneys from the ACLU and Michigan Immigrants’ Rights Center presented a resolution to Kent County’s Board of Commissioners Thursday.

The resolution would ensure that no county resources go to helping ICE detain immigrants living in the county.  

Protesters against the initial travel ban at Detroit Metro Airport, Jan. 30.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The ACLU of Michigan and the Arab American Civil Rights League will continue to fight President Trump's travel ban, despite a Supreme Court ruling Tuesday morning that the ban is constitutional.

The travel ban, first imposed in January 2017 as the result of an executive order, restricts entry to the United States from several Muslim-majority Arab countries.

Courtesy of Michigan ACLU

In a letter to its principal this week, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan asked Utica Academy for International Studies to lift its prohibition against political signs at student demonstrations.

UAIS principal Shaun Greene-Beebe announced the ban to the school community leading up to the March 14 National Student Walkout that took place in response to the Parkland, Florida school shootings. 

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The American Civil Liberties Union is calling on Greyhound to end its practice of routinely giving U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents permission to conduct immigration raids on its buses without warrants. It says the CBP is unlawfully interrogating, detaining and arresting passengers.

UM-Dearborn restler Marina Goocher
Courtesy of the ACLU of Michigan

The organization that oversees college wrestling at the club sports level is standing by its policy forbidding co-ed wrestling in sanctioned competitions.

Marina Goocher is a junior at the University of Michigan –Dearborn. She's the only woman on the school's club wrestling team, and the only female wrestler in the league's Midwest conference of schools.

Courtesy of the ACLU of Michigan

She wants to wrestle with the University of Michigan-Dearborn men’s team, but the National Collegiate Wrestling Association (NCWA) says its rules are clear: “Women wrestle women, men wrestle men in practice and competition. Period.”

Now wrestler Marina Goocher has the ACLU on her side in her fight to compete against the men. That includes staff attorney Bonsitu Kitaba with the ACLU of Michigan.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A class-action lawsuit claiming state and local education officials are not doing enough to identify and educate Flint students exposed to lead-tainted tap water is moving forward.

U.S. District Judge Arthur Tarnow brushed aside almost all the legal motions offered by attorneys for the Michigan Department of Education, Flint Community Schools and the Genesee Intermediate School District seeking to dismiss the suit.

gavel
Blogtrepreneur / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Judges are required to suspend your driver's license if you're unable to pay court debts in Michigan, one of just five states to do that, according to a new report. 

The Legal Aid Justice Center's nationwide report says the practice unfairly punishes poor people by taking away their ability to drive legally. Some states are beginning to rethink this practice.

According to the report, about 100,000 people in Michigan currently have their licenses suspended for inability to pay court fees.

foreclosure sign
BasicGov / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The tax foreclosure crisis in Detroit may not get the attention it deserves. In fact, the tax foreclosure crisis didn’t just happen, and it doesn't continue to happen, by unfortunate circumstances. There are decisions behind it. One group says those decisions are illegal.

church exterior
Flickr user: richevenhouse

The Michigan Court of Appeals has put a lawsuit regarding state money for private schools on hold while it decides who can be part of it.

The court will decide whether a group of Republican lawmakers and Catholic school parents can challenge Michigan’s ban on public money for private schools. And they want to join the lawsuit as defendants, not plaintiffs.

Water faucent in Flint.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

The ACLU of Michigan and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund are calling for Flint City Council and Mayor Karen Weaver to suspend any efforts to impose liens on homes where resident's haven't paid their water bills. Those liens could eventually give the city the right to sell off the home if the debt isn't paid back. 

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan is offering its opposition to Grand Rapids' plans to use license plate scanning technology for parking enforcement.

The Grand Rapids Press reports the ACLU of Michigan's western region unit sent a letter to city officials this week, saying that the scanners are another piece of surveillance technology that reduces "personal privacy rights and empowers the surveillance society."

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The American Civil Liberties Union in Michigan is suing U.S. Customs and Border Protection, alleging the agency failed to respond to a Freedom of Information Act request. 

The ACLU branch is seeking documentation outlining the "on-the-ground" implementation of President Trump's first executive order that temporarily banned immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries.  The group says the government has failed to substantively respond to the request. 

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The American Civil Liberties Union is objecting to a Michigan school district's restroom policy for transgender students.

The Grand Rapids Press reports that transgender students in the Jenison district must use a gender-neutral restroom, staff restrooms or restrooms that match their gender assigned at birth.

Various social media posts have accused Jenison of banning transgender students from restrooms that match their gender identity.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

People in Flint are still digesting the terms of this week’s legal settlement and what it’ll mean for them.

Tuesday, U.S. District Judge David Lawson signed off on the deal, under which the state and federal governments will set aside $97 million to pay for replacing 18,000 lead and galvanized service lines during the next three years.

ACLU sign
Slightly North / Flickr CC / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

President Donald Trump and federal agencies are being sued in Detroit over his revised ban on travel to the U.S. by people from six predominantly Muslim countries.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday by the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan and the Arab-American Civil Rights League. The plaintiffs include nine people whose family members can't travel to the U.S.

Hundreds of lawyers attend ACLU summit

Feb 4, 2017
Lawyers filled UM's Hutchins Hall to standing-room-only for the ACLU lawyers summit Saturday
Tyler Scott

More than 400 attorneys attended a “lawyers summit” hosted by the ACLU of Michigan on the University of Michigan’s campus in Ann Arbor Saturday.

Robbie Gaines is an attorney from Detroit who practices automotive liability law and attended the summit. He credits his fiancé, also a lawyer, with igniting his involvement with the ACLU of Michigan. However, Gaines says he believes a broad swath of Americans see President Donald Trump’s recent executive order on immigration as an attack on American values.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Tomorrow, state and federal officials meet in Chicago to discuss the latest data on Flint’s water crisis.

Critics of the state’s handling of the Flint water crisis say they don’t want to hear the city’s tap water is safe to drink once again.

Flint’s water became contaminated with lead after the city’s water source was switched to the Flint River.   Improperly treated river water damaged city pipes. 

Border stop.
bbmcshane / flickr

Border agents can stop and search anyone within 100 miles of an international border, without a warrant. The American Civil Liberties Union and Michigan Immigrant Rights Center doesn't like this.

The ACLU and MIRC are suing the U.S. government over these warrantless searches. Both groups want border agencies to be more transparent about their searches.

Miriam Aukerman, the west Michigan regional staff attorney at the ACLU of Michigan, said the lawsuit is really about holding the government accountable.

Students holding signs at a protest outside of Ford Hall on Eastern Michigan University's campus.
Bryce Huffman

UPDATED @ 5:46 pm on 11/18/2016

Eastern Michigan University has delivered a punishment to four student protestors, but the ACLU wants the disciplinary action to be dropped.

The four African American students were protesting racist graffiti targeting Black students discovered on campus earlier this fall at EMU.

The students broke the school's student code of conduct by staging a sit in at the Student Center after hours, which yielded the threat of expulsion.

Prison wall
Microsoft Images

Michigan prosecutors are continuing their resistance to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the issue of juvenile life sentences without parole.

The Supreme Court already ruled that denying parole to juvenile lifers is unconstitutional, except in the rarest of cases.

The ACLU is suing Michigan over the state's vague standards for denying parole to juvenile lifers.

Daniel Korobkin, the Deputy Legal Director of the ACLU of Michigan, says the state is being stubborn in terms of following the Supreme Court’s decision.

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