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, 25, 2019: ACLU Adds New Claims in 1st Amendment Suit over State’s Discrimination Against Authors
  • 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”

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.”

Current Status:
In July 2019, the ACLU filed an amended complaint based on State officials' troubling response to the initial (May 2019) complaint.

Cooperating Attorney:
Lynette Labinger

Supporting Documents