Due to possible policy changes under the Trump administration, we recommend that transgender and gender non-conforming people consider getting their identity documents in order before Inaugration Day 2017. And, we can help! Over 90 volunteer lawyers took our free training and are ready to help Oregonians throuh the process free of charge. (There are some court and filing fees associated, but the legal help is free.)
November 23, 2016 - Anywhere else, a 10-2 jury vote means a hung jury. But not in Oregon or Louisiana. Here a 10-2 jury is enough to convict felony defendants. This morning, the ACLU of Oregon and the Oregon Justice Resource Center were in court supporting a challenge to the Oregon law that allows for non-unanimous jury convictions, arguing that it violates the Equal Protection Clause of the federal constitution.
In both states, the laws allowing non-unanimous verdicts are steeped in racist and discriminatory intent. Oregon's constitutional amendment was born from xenophobia, while Louisiana's targets Black men.
November 22, 2016 - Five years ago today, Governor John Kitzhaber issued a moratorium on carrying out executions of Oregon’s death row prisoners and called our death penalty a broken system. Governor Kate Brown has continued that moratorium. Both suggested that Oregonians needed to have a conversation about the morality and effectiveness of keeping a death penalty system. While the governor cannot get rid of the death penalty, only voters can do that, we suggest it is now time for the governor to commute all death row sentences.
New information regarding innocence, disability, and race has come to light that reinforces the widespread concern that Oregon’s death penalty system is broken:
Last night, we learned that Portland Police Bureau (“PPB”) arrested Gregory McKelvey, Kathryn Stevens, and Micah Rhodes, members of PDX Resistance and well-known organizers. Targeting individuals for arrest for constitutionally protected speech is prohibited by law.
PDX Resistance organizers were singled out for arrest despite engaging in activities similar to peaceful protesters in their vicinity. From our view, the only distinguishing characteristic is their role as leaders in other recent protests that were publicly opposed by your offices.
The ACLU of Oregon joins the calls urging those few who have been engaged in violence and vandalism during the protests to stop. However, we fully rebuke both your calls for the protests to end and your statement that protest cannot effect change in our democracy. American history, indeed world history, is full of stories of protest that opened the path to change.
Peaceful assembly and protest is at the heart of our democracy. It may not always be convenient or pretty, but we think it is powerful.
Transgender prisoners in Oregon are being denied life-saving medical care.
We recently filed a lawsuit on behalf of Michelle Wright, a transgender prisoner whose requests for care have repeatedly been denied by prison officials. Despite being diagnosed with gender dysphoria by prison medical staff, which causes severe anxiety, depression, and suicidality, Michelle’s pleas for humane treatment have been ignored.
Michelle isn’t alone in her struggle. We have heard from over a dozen other transgender prisoners who are facing similar treatment.