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


Protecting Civil Liberties in Rhode Island for Over 50 Years


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.

Due Process in the News

  • Mar, 19, 2020: ACLU Takes Legal Action on Behalf of African-American Recruit Drummed Out of PVD Police Academy
  • Jan, 24, 2020: Department of Corrections Agrees to Release Inmate Unlawfully Held At ACI
  • Jan, 21, 2020: ACLU Sues Department of Corrections for Unilaterally Increasing Prison Time for Certain Offenders

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Due Process Related Court Cases

2020: Clark v. Providence Police Department
Category: Active Case    Discrimination    Racial/Ethnic Discrimination    Due Process    Free Speech    

About this Case:
This is a charge of race discrimination against the Providence Police Department and a formal claim for damages with the City of Providence.  The damages claim is a legal prerequisite to the filing of a lawsuit on behalf of the plaintiff, Michael Clark, an African-American recruit who was dismissed from the Police Academy after enduring months of harassment from trainers.

Current Status:
Discrimination charge and damages claim both filed in March 2020.

Cooperating Attorney:
Laura Harrington

Supporting Documents
2020: McKinney v. RIDOC
Category: Active Case    Criminal Justice    Due Process    Fair Administration of Justice    

About this Case:
This is a habeas corpus petition which argues that an inmate is being unlawfully held despite a decision by the R.I. Parole Board that he was qualified and ready for release on supervised parole.

Current Status:
Lawsuit filed in January 2020. The defendants agreed to release the inmate.

Cooperating Attorneys:
Lisa Holley, Lynette Labinger

Supporting Documents

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Due Process Related Legislation

Juvenile Interrogation (H 7431) Held for Further Study
Category: 2020    Due Process    

It’s no surprise that juveniles are generally less able than adults to understand, and act upon, their legal rights while being questioned, but law enforcement proceeds as if they are well-informed adults with a full grasp of the situation. H 7431, introduced by Rep. Rebecca Kislak, would prohibit the questioning of a juvenile suspected of criminal activity without a parent or legal guardian present. A case recently handled by the ACLU, in which an 8-year-old girl was removed from a school bus, transported to the police, interrogated, and detained without her parents’ knowledge, encapsulates the need for this important legislation.

Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (H 7235) Held For Further Study
Category: 2020    Due Process    

Opposed by the ACLU, this legislation would allow Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) to attest to a patient’s mental health condition and participate in certifying patients for mandated outpatient treatment, an action which is presently something that only doctors can do. Although we understand the role that APRNs play in the mental health community, we argued that when it comes to medical recommendations for involuntary treatment, patients are stripped of critical elements of due process when the decision is in the hands of anyone but those of a physician.