The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is a civil rights group that was formed in the 20th century to fight for the rights of marginalized groups. The American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona was formed in 1959.
It was founded to challenge Arizona laws that were deemed unconstitutional by the people living in the state. It employs a small team of attorneys who are assisted by volunteers who believe in their mission. The first case that the charter won was the overturning of a law that banned multi-racial marriages in the state. Read more: Village Voice Media | Wikepida
The union defended Ernesto Miranda. This is a laborer convicted of rape based on the confession that he gave to police upon his arrest. This was wrong by the police because they coerced him into giving the testimony. This case led to the establishment of the Miranda Warning that all police officers must read before they interrogate suspects.
Another major case that they were involved in was the Melendres v. Arpaio class action suit in 2007. The suit was made against Sheriff Arpaio. The ruling was made by a federal judge in 2013. The judge ascertained that members of law enforcement had racially profiled Latin Americans at traffic stops.
The police claimed that these were traffic checks. They were conducting immigration patrols. The civil rights union has defended the rights of many laborers in the state. Michael Larkin and Jim Lacey won a federal case that denied bail to immigrants a few years ago.
The judge ruled that this was unconstitutional because it treated the immigrants differently. Attorneys from Arizona ACLU were part of the team that was involved in challenging a law that allowed police in the state to act as immigration officials. The law was eventually stripped down. Most of the damning parts were excluded from it.
The group has devoted itself to defending the rights of immigrants who might be harassed by the police since Arizona is close to the border of Mexico. They have partnered with other groups in other states to offer a unified fight against constitutional violations along the border.
The group is challenging an order by Governor Jan Brewer that young immigrants with permission to stay in the country driving licenses. The governor gave the executive order even though the Deferred Action protects the youth for Childhood Arrivals program. They are also involved in a case that seeks to stop a law that states that those with fake documents will be deported.
Michael Larkin and Jim Lacey are the founders of two news outlets known as Phoenix New Times and Village Voice Media. They were awarded a settlement after they won a suit against the county department.
The two journalists were arrested unlawfully a few years ago by members of law enforcement. This was after they had uncovered evidence of the existence of a subpoena that enquired for the identity of any person who had read articles about Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The journalists decided to start a fund with the $3.75 million that the court awarded them.
Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: