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


Protecting Civil Liberties in Rhode Island for Over 50 Years


Free Speech

Protecting the freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment has always been in the forefront of the ACLU’s mission. The ACLU of Rhode Island was founded over 50 years ago largely in response to widespread government efforts to censor books, films, and theater.  Today, the ACLU routinely defends the right of citizens to exercise their freedom of speech, of the press, of association, and of petition and protest, no matter how unpopular their opinions may be.

Free Speech in the News

  • Jul, 22, 2019: ACLU Mounts Two-Pronged Attack to Make Records of Police Misconduct Public
  • Jul, 03, 2019: ACLU Challenges Century-Old Law Declaring Inmates Serving Life Sentences “Civilly Dead”
  • Jun, 20, 2019: ACLU Defends Blogger Subjected to Court “Gag Order” After He Posted a Blog About Hopkinton Resident

View All Free Speech Related News Releases »

Free Speech Related Court Cases

2019: Lombardi and Davis v. Raimondo
Category: Active Case    Civil Rights    Criminal Justice    Due Process    Free Speech    Rights of Ex-Offenders    

About this Case:
This is a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a 110-year-old Rhode Island statute that declares inmates serving life sentences at the ACI to be “dead in all respects” with respect to “all civil rights.”

Current Status:
Lawsuit filed in July 2019.

Sonja Deyoe, Lynette Labinger

Supporting Documents
2019: Association of RI Authors v. Savage
Category: Active Case    Free Speech    

About this Case:
This is a federal lawsuit challenging the RI Division of Taxation’s position that a sales tax exemption for Rhode Island authors applies only to works of fiction, and not to non-fiction - because non-fiction is not “creative and original.” The lawsuit argues that making such a distinction on the content of the work violates the First Amendment’s guarantees of freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

Current Status:
Lawsuit filed in May 2019.

Cooperating Attorney:
Lynette Labinger

Supporting Documents