In a fascinating Op-Ed to the New York Times, Yale Professors Jason Stanley and Vesla Weaver explore the impact of contact with the criminal justice system on political participation.


Last year our education program reached 41 different schools from all 16 counties. We did this through a combination of three student conferences in the fall and more than 20 classroom visits during the spring semester. This year we’re hoping to increase that number even more, and with most high schools a week away from midterms we’ve been busy getting ready to hit the road as soon as the spring semester begins.

Each Friday, we’ll bring you updates on the latest civil liberties news from Maine and the nation.

 Domestic Drones


For a number of years, the ACLU has worked to raise awareness of the "school to prison pipeline"--a product of over-policing of public schools, zero-tolerance policies directed at young people, and harsh punishments. The cumulative effect of these policies is a situation where many students--particularly in poorer areas of the country--travelled a seamless path from high school to the criminal justice system.


Consider for a moment how much you share about yourself over email, Facebook, Twitter, private blogs and the like. Many of us use these platforms to communicate far more than phones and snail-mail. Now imagine you are applying for a job, and your potential employer tells you that during application process they will be listening in on all your phone calls, reading your emails, and poking around your Facebook account - so please turn over your passwords. Only one of those things is illegal.


Freedom of religion is a fundamental right, one the ACLU will always fight for. It is protected by the constitutions of Maine and the United States. The Maine Human Rights Act explicitly protects people against discrimination based on their religion. And there are 13 individual statutes in Maine law that protect religious freedom. 


Exciting news out of New York as Governor Andrew Cuomo plans this week to announce an executive action that will create a limited medical marijuana program. Nineteen of the fifty states now have medical marijuana laws on the books with nearly one- million patients nation-wide able to legally utilize marijuana to alleviate their medical symptoms.


Though he narrowly finished behind Pope Francis as a runner-up for Time’s 2013 Person of the Year, Edward Snowden no doubt had a significant impact on the world last year. The reverberations from his revelations on government spying are still being felt, and if we do indeed see progress on privacy issues in the year ahead there is no doubt that Snowden should share a considerable amount of the credit.


On Tuesday, November 26, 2013, Marlise Munoz suffered a pulmonary embolism that left her unconscious. She collapsed on the living room floor and was found by her husband Erick Munoz around 2am. When emergency vehicles transported Marlise to John Peter Smith hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, doctors found that she had sustained massive brain swelling. That was over four weeks ago. Marlise has yet to gain consciousness; her bodily functions are being sustained by life support. Erick would very much like to take his wife off of life support and allow her to die peacefully.


Two months ago, Federal Judge John Gleeson of the Eastern District of New York issued a powerful “statement of reason” in the case of the United States v. Lulzim Kupa, in which he asserted that mandatory minimum sentences in drug cases have essentially nullified our constitutional right to a trial.   


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