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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Due Process

The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina Legal Foundation (ACLU-NCLF) joined 37 other state ACLU affiliates today in sending requests to local police departments and state agencies that demand information on how they use automatic license plate readers (ALPR) to track and record Americans’ movements. The request was sent to 63 law enforcement agencies throughout North Carolina, including the counties of Alamance, Brunswick, Buncombe, Durham, Forsyth, Guilford, New Hanover, Orange, Pitt and Wake, as well as the cities of Asheville, Burlington, Cary, Chapel Hill, Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Durham, Fayetteville, Greensboro, Greenville, High Point, Raleigh, Wilmington and Winston-Salem.

In addition, the national ACLU and the ACLU of Massachusetts filed federal Freedom of Information Act requests with the departments of Justice, Homeland Security and Transportation to learn how the federal government funds ALPR expansion nationwide and uses the technology itself.

ALPRs are cameras mounted on patrol cars or on stationary objects along roads – such as telephone poles or the underside of bridges – that snap a photograph of every license plate that enters their fields of view. Typically, each photo is time, date, and GPS-stamped, stored, and sent to a database, which provides an alert to a patrol officer whenever a match or “hit” appears.

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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – A North Carolina judge Friday issued a landmark decision finding intentional and systemic discrimination by state prosecutors against African-American potential jurors in capital cases and commuted the sentence of a death-row prisoner to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The decision on behalf of Marcus Robinson by North Carolina Superior Court Judge Gregory Weeks, the first to be issued under the state’s historic Racial Justice Act, comes nearly 25 years to the day after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in McCleskey v. Kemp that evidence of systemic bias is not sufficient to challenge a death sentence.

Passed in 2009, the Racial Justice Act allows North Carolina’s 157 death row prisoners a hearing in which they can present statistics and other evidence that death sentences state- and county-wide were tainted by race discrimination and that their death should be commuted to life in prison.

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The American Civil Liberties Union this weekend released the results of public records requests filed last August to hundreds of local police departments across the country, asking them about their policies, practices, and procedures for tracking cell phone records.

More than 40 of the police departments that responded are from North Carolina, including the counties of Alamance, Buncombe, Guilford, and New Hanover, and the cities of Asheville, Burlington, Chapel Hill, Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Fayetteville, Greenville, High Point, Raleigh, and Wilmington.

As The New York Times reported on Sunday, the records show that the practice of tracking cell phones “has become a powerful and widely used surveillance tool for local police officials, with hundreds of departments, large and small, often using it aggressively with little or no court oversight.”

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The U.S. Justice Department today released findings of an investigation showing that North Carolina's court system routinely discriminates against people who do not speak English, in violation of Title VI of the federal Civil Rights Act. Title VI prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin by state courts.

In a letter to the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts, the Justice Department “determined after a comprehensive investigation that the AOC's policies and practices discriminate on the basis of national origin, in violation of federal law, by failing to provide limited English proficient (LEP) individuals with meaningful access to state court proceedings and operations.”

Katy Parker, Legal Director of the ACLU of NC Legal Foundation, said the findings were a step in the right direction.

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