Sheriffs Suspend ICE Holds

April 17, 2014 - With their announcement that they intend to suspend the practice of honoring requests from federal immigration enforcement to hold individuals in their jail without probable cause, Sheriffs in Multnomah, Clackamas, and Washington Counties acted today for the benefit of public safety in their communities. The ACLU applauds their action.

“We have long advocated that honoring warrantless ICE detainers is unlawful and also makes law enforcement’s job harder because it destroys trust in the community,” said David Fidanque, Executive Director. “We are thrilled that these Sheriffs are taking note of recent court decisions and abandoning a practice we believe violates state law and both the Oregon and United States Constitution.”

An “ICE detainer”—or “immigration hold”—has been a controversial tool use by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) routinely to apprehend individuals who come in contact with local and state law enforcement agencies. An ICE detainer is a written request that a local jail or other law enforcement agency detain an individual for an additional 48 hours after his or her release date, for the convenience of ICE agents so that they can decide whether to take the individual into federal custody and begin formal deportation proceedings. The detainers generally are not accompanied with a warrant based on probable cause.


Supreme Court Hears Oregon Protest Case

Michael Moss with NPR's Nina TotenbergMarch 26, 2014 - Washington D.C. - The Supreme Court heard oral argument today in Wood v. Moss, a case brought by us on behalf of a multi-generational group of peaceful protesters, who were forcibly moved on orders of the Secret Service to a place where their protests could no longer be seen or heard by President Bush. The protest took place during a visit to Jacksonville, Oregon in 2004. Demonstrators supporting the President were allowed to remain much closer to him.

The lawsuit claims that the protesters were targeted because of their political views in violation of their free speech rights.

“The Secret Service does not have immunity from the First Amendment,” said Steven M. Wilker, a lawyer with Tonkon Torp LLP in Portland, who argued the case as a cooperating attorney for the ACLU.


State Marriage Brief: Oregon Marriage Ban Has No Rational Basis

Out for Freedom

March 19, 2014 – In its response to the ACLU’s constitutional challenge of Oregon’s ban on marriage by same-sex couples, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum declared that the marriage ban “serves no rational basis and harms Oregon citizens.”

“It means a lot to our family that the State’s Attorney General and Governor have recognized the direct harm the marriage ban creates for families like ours,” said Paul Rummell, one of the ACLU clients in the case. “Denying us the right to be married, because of who we are and who we love, doesn’t just hurt us, but also denies our son the legal recognition and protections that all children should have under our Constitution.”

The State’s brief also notified the court that if the judge agrees that the ban violates the 5th and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, the state “is prepared to implement that ruling.” Some court observers predict that marriages of same-sex couples could begin in Oregon by late spring or early summer (see Oregonian article).

ACLU of Oregon executive director David Fidanque said that while there still is one more set of briefs to be filed in the case, the legal issues have already been laid out clearly for the court to decide.


Legislature Passes on Chance to Advance Privacy Protections

March 12, 2014 - Completing the short session two days before the Constitutionally-imposed deadline, the Oregon Legislature passed up the opportunity to advance an important civil liberties bill on privacy and let squeak by a proposal that could have significant implications for patient access to medicine.

Automatic License Plate Reader Surveillance Technology (SB 1522)
SB 1522 was a priority bill for the ACLU this session because of the need for privacy guidelines around the use of surveillance technology by government. Ironically, there was widespread and bipartisan support for the privacy regulations but the bill did not move forward this session because legislators could not settle on the appropriate timeframe for law enforcement to hold on to innocent people’s captured plate data.


Liberty Dinner a Success!

Thank you to all who attended and supported our Liberty Dinner on March 1st. For those of you who missed it, see investigative reporter Glenn Greenwald's special appearance via video.

This embed will serve content from YouTube. ACLU of Oregon's privacy statement. 


Jacksonville Protest Case Before Supreme Court

By Michael "Mookie" Moss, ACLU plaintiffMichael Moss

In March of this year, the Jacksonville police riot celebrates its almost-tenth anniversary by taking a trip to Washington D.C. and landing on the desk of the United States Supreme Court. Under review by the high court is whether the respondents (me and my fellow plaintiff demonstrators) sufficiently alleged there was clear First Amendment discrimination on the part of the Secret Service and whether the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals erred when it denied the Secret Service qualified immunity for its role in the events that took place nearly 10 years ago. 

For those present that night in Jacksonville, the answer to the question of First Amendment discrimination couldn’t be clearer. The large multigenerational group of anti-Bush demonstrators assembled in front of the Jacksonville Inn faced police-fired projectiles which were filled with chemical irritants, canisters of hand held pepper spray, and submission by baton, while the pro-Bush crowd equidistant from the dining President faced not a word of admonishment.