Due Process Issues The ACLU of Rhode Island is Involved With - Court Cases, Legislation, News Releases

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Due Process

The ACLU of Rhode Island fights to ensure that government agencies and municipalities proceed fairly when dealing with citizens in their day-to-day dealings with the bureaucracy and in the court system. Legal rights cannot be vindicated when the government denies or severely limits the rights of individuals to seek relief in the courts, or fails to give them a meaningful opportunity to be heard and contest actions that affect their liberty.

The ACLU of Rhode Island is currently advocating for strong privacy protections to be included in a bill that undercuts the presumption of innocence and would require the collection of DNA from individuals who are merely arrested, but never convicted, for a wide array of crimes.

Due Process in the News

  • Feb, 24, 2017: Lawsuit Settled Over Food Stamp Benefit Delays Caused by UHIP
  • Feb, 21, 2017: ACLU Seeks Dismissal of Charges Under New Narragansett Student Housing Ordinance
  • Jan, 25, 2017: ACLU Sets Up Hotline for UHIP-Related Food Stamp Complaints

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Due Process Related Court Cases

2016: FHC v. City of Providence
Category: Active Case    Discrimination    Due Process    Students' Rights    

 

UPDATE: 3/10/17 - Read our memorandum of law asking the court to strike down the ordinance.

The ACLU filed suit against the City of Providence to challenge a recently enacted city ordinance that prohibits more than three “college students” from living together in certain areas of the city. Our suit argues that the ordinance is discriminatory and ineffective at its stated purpose of improving neighborhoods, and will likely have the most impact on lower-income students. 

The lawsuit, filed in Rhode Island Superior Court by ACLU of RI cooperating attorneys Jeffrey L. Levy and Charles D. Blackman, is on behalf of the owner and tenants – four Johnson & Wales undergraduate students – of a house in the Elmhurst section of Providence. The City ordinance, enacted in September, makes this arrangement illegal by prohibiting more than three “college students” from living together in a non-owner-occupied single family home in certain residential areas. The suit argues that the ordinance violates the plaintiffs’ rights to due process and equal protection of the law.

The lawsuit claims that “there is absolutely no reason to believe that restricting the number of student tenants in a small subset of available rental housing (i.e., single-family homes) will make the affected neighborhoods any quieter, safer or cleaner. On the contrary, the ordinance is an unconstitutional intrusion into the rights of college and graduate students to choose with whom they wish to live, and the rights of property owners to rent their homes to tenants of their choice.”

We are seeking to halt all enforcement of the ordinance and have it declared unconstitutional.  In March 2017, we filed a memorandum of law explaining why the court should declare the ordinance unconstitutional.

Supporting Documents
2015: Caniglia v. City of Cranston
Category: Active Case    Due Process    

For the second time in less than four years, the American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island has filed a federal lawsuit over a Cranston Police Department policy of refusing to return firearms seized without a warrant from residents who are neither charged with a crime nor found to pose a danger to themselves or others. The suit, on behalf of resident Edward Caniglia, argues the Cranston Police Department violated his right to due process and his right to keep and bear arms by retaining his firearms without just cause after seizing them without a warrant. 

Supporting Documents

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