Submitted by ACLU of Oregon on March 4, 2014 - 2:32pm
By Michael "Mookie" Moss, ACLU plaintiff
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.
Voters approved the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act (OMMA) in 1998. OMMA permits marijuana use for Oregonians suffering from debilitating medical conditions without being in violation of Oregon criminal law.
In 2013, the Legislature passed a bill, enabling a legal and regulated means of getting authorized amounts of marijuana to OMMA patients who cannot grow their own. Licensing and regulating medical marijuana facilities provides consistency across the state for dispensaries and law enforcement. The result is better care and better outcomes for patients.
Reasonable regulations on the time, place, and manner in which dispensaries may operate may be appropriate, but outright bans will have a significant and detrimental effect on patient access to needed medication.
February 20, 2014 - Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced today that the state will not defend Oregon’s constitutional ban on marriage for same-sex couples in the case Rummell v. Kitzhaber. The ACLU of Oregon and Basic Rights Oregon welcomed the announcement.
The state’s legal filing stated that the Oregon marriage ban “cannot withstand a federal constitutional challenge under any standard of review.”
“I am more confident than ever that same-sex couples will have the freedom to marry before the year is out,” said Basic Rights Oregon executive director Jeana Frazzini. “Today’s step forward is another example of the important partnership between Basic Rights Oregon and the ACLU in securing the freedom to marry for all loving and committed couples. The important work on this case could not have been accomplished without the collaboration between our organizations and hard work of our partners and supporters.”
The plaintiffs in the ACLU lawsuit, include two couples:, Paul Rummell and Benjamin West, and Lisa Chickadonz and Christine Tanner, as well as Basic Rights Education Fund.
“While court cases can take unexpected turns, today’s announcement by Attorney General Rosenblum is extremely important for everyone who supports the civil rights and civil liberties of all Oregonians,” said David Fidanque, executive director of the ACLU of Oregon.
February 11, 2014 - Portland - For the first time, a federal judge has ruled that patients have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their drug prescription records, and that law enforcement must obtain a warrant in order to search such information. The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Oregon represented a group of Oregon patients and a physician in the lawsuit against the Drug Enforcement Administration.
“This is a victory for privacy and for the constitutional rights of anyone who ever gets drug prescriptions,” said ACLU Staff Attorney Nathan Freed Wessler, who argued the case last month. “The ruling recognizes that confidential medical records are entitled to the full protection of the Fourth Amendment. The court rightly rejected the government’s extreme argument that patients give up their privacy rights by receiving medical treatment from doctors and pharmacists.”
ACLU Submits Comments to Federal Court in Anticipation of February Hearing
February 3, 2014 - On Friday the ACLU submitted comments to the federal court in support of a Settlement Agreement between Portland Police Bureau, the City of Portland, and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding the Portland Police’s unconstitutional practice of using excessive force against people with mental illness or experiencing mental health crisis. The comments come at the request of Judge Michael Simon, who on February 18th will hold a Fairness Hearing in his courtroom to determine whether the pending Settlement Agreement is fair and adequate to address the claims made by the DOJ after a lengthy investigation.
The Settlement Agreement is by no means perfect. We share concerns with other community advocates for police reform that the Agreement does not adequately address needed changes to the system of accountability for officer misconduct. And we fear that without stronger “teeth,” even the modest changes to the Portland Police that are mandated in the Agreement will never be implemented.