Constitution in Crisis :: July Newsletter

Reality Winner photo
Statement on Reality Winner’s Plea Deal
June 28, 2018
Monsters Jump Out of Computer
California Enacts Law Protecting Consumer Privacy, But There is Still a Ways to Go
July 6, 2018

Dear Troublemakers,

We head into July after a rollercoaster of month. Donald Trump’s cruel policy of separating immigrant children from their families and incarcerating them sparked outrage nationwide. As a result, people marched in the streets, peacefully confronted Trump administration officials in public, and even engaged in civil disobedience. These powerful actions for human rights are exactly why we defend the right to dissent.

In Washington DC, the US Attorney’s Office prosecution of Trump Inauguration protesters continues to falter, while Standing Rock protesters are being railroaded by prosecutors. In a testament to our government’s shameful treatment of truth tellers, Reality Winner felt forced to plead guilty to violating the Espionage Act. And grassroots activists from Montgomery County, Maryland to New York City are fighting for police accountability.

With Trump getting to pick a second Supreme Court justice, grassroots movements to defend human rights are more vital than ever. That’s why we ask you support our work, so we can continue our fight to make the promise of Bill of Rights a reality for everyone.

Stay Loud, Stay Strong,

Sue and Chip

Montgomery county residents and local groups question police practices in Silver Spring shooting death of Robert White

A letter from six groups and over 600 residents raises concerns in the wake of the shooting death of  Robert White, a black man who was killed about one mile from his childhood home in Silver Spring on June 11. He was killed while on foot near his neighborhood, which he walked routinely, according to neighbors.

Second J20 Trial Ends in Mistrial

The second trial of Trump Inauguration protesters arrested during an anti-capitalist, anti-fascist march has ended without a single conviction.

Yet Another Acquittal in Ongoing Prosecution of Trump Inauguration Protesters​

A jury acquitted Seth Cadman of conspiracy to riot, inciting a riot, and several counts of property destruction. The jury deadlocked on the misdemeanor charge of engaging in a riot, causing Judge Knowles to declare a mistrial on that one charge

Another Bad Day for J20 Prosecutors, With One Defendant Acquitted, More Charges Dismissed​

Today, was yet another day of setbacks for the prosecution,as the government dismissed charges against three more J20 defendants. In another J20 trial, a jury acquitted defendant Cathseigh Webber of all charges after less than  two days of deliberations.

NYPD Use of Sound Cannons Could be Excessive Force, Court Rules

This is the first time a court has addressed the legality of police use of a Long Range Acoustic Device (“LRAD”) sound cannon for crowd control purposes.

Civil Rights, Community Groups Welcome NYPD Spying Report

This was Judge Robinson’s first public report on NYPD compliance with the revised Handschu Guidelines, negotiated to settle legal claims in Raza v. City of New York and Handschu v. Special Services Division, and limiting surveillance of religious and political activity.

Federal and State Bills Feed Dangerous Myth of a “War on Police”

Both major parties are supporting legislation that breathes life into the misguided belief that police are under attack, and that protesters or criticism of aggressive policing put police officers’ lives in danger.

Standing Rock Water Protectors Face Prosecution for Protest

The prosecution of Stand Rock protesters serve as another method to chill or repress public dissent.

FBI, Jeff Sessions, Used Misleading Statistics to Drum Up Fear About Encryption

Defending Rights and Dissent has joined a coalition of 20 other civil liberties organizations in demanding that the Justice Department Inspector General review how the incorrect figure of 7,800 unlockable devices originally came to be. The coalition of groups is also pushing for an investigation into why Justice Department officials and Attorney General Jeff Sessions continued to cite this statistic even after it was discovered that the FBI had made an error in their calculations.

Statement on Reality Winner’s Plea Deal

We believe that whistleblowers who alert the public or the media to matters of public concern are heroes, not criminals. As such, we oppose the use of the Espionage Act in Winner’s case and would have opposed any criminal charges brought against the whistleblower.

Defending Rights & Dissent Response to Supreme Court Ruling in Trump v. Hawaii

Defending Rights & Dissent strongly condemns the Supreme Court’s Trump v. Hawaii decision to uphold the third iteration of Trump’s Muslim Ban.

NOT Trump Iftar

On June 6, as the Muslim community was girding for a Supreme Court decision on his Muslim Ban, President Trump hosted an Iftar at the White House. Muslim human rights groups organized a protest Iftar outside the White House

150+ Groups Urge Federal Court to Strike Census Citizenship Question

A fair and accurate 2020 census is a critical civil rights issue. Not only is the constitutionally mandated census central to apportioning political power at every level of government, but the data collected also influence the annual allocation of more than $800 billion in federal money, along with countless policy and investment decisions by government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and private enterprise

June 15 Marks 6,000 Days of Guantánamo: Rights Groups Tell Donald Trump to Close the Prison, Say “Not One Day More!”

Today, June 15, 2018, is a depressing milestone in the long history of U.S. detention at Guantánamo Bay. Today the Guantánamo prison, set up after the 9/11 attacks, has been open for 6,000 days.