Posts Tagged ‘department of justice’

DOJ investigates Denver for violating deaf prisoner rights

Posted on: March 6th, 2013 by The American Independent 1 Comment

This story was originally published by TAI affiliate The Colorado Independent.

The federal Justice Department is investigating Denver for failing to provide sign-language interpreters for deaf prisoners. Investigators are seeking to determine whether Denver – which touts itself as “one of America’s most accessible cities” — is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. (more…)

Bill targets discrimination against LGBT jurors

Posted on: May 30th, 2012 by Andy Birkey 1 Comment

A New Jersey congressman has introduced a bill that would ban attorneys in federal trials from removing potential jurors on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The bill, introduced May 18 by Democrat Steve Rothman, follows an American Independent investigation documenting numerous state and federal cases in which LGBT individuals may have been removed from juries based on their sexual orientation or gender identity — a practice that federal courts have repeatedly declined to prohibit.

“The fact that it is still lawful for lawyers to dismiss potential jurors solely on the basis of a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity is wrong and has to change,” Rep. Rothman said in a statement.

Rothman’s Juror Non-Discrimination Act (PDF) would “prohibit the exclusion of individuals from service on a Federal jury on account of sexual orientation or gender identity.” It would amend a federal statute that currently bars discrimination based on “race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or economic status” in jury service in federal courts.

“Until the 20th century, women in many states were barred from serving on juries and it was not until the 1980s that prosecutors were prohibited from systematically excluding African-Americans from juries,” Rep. Rothman added. “It is past time for America to take the next step against bigotry and inequality and pass the Juror Non-Discrimination Act.”

Rothman’s press release noted that in 2011, the Department of Justice told an appellate court that the government “takes no position” on whether the Supreme Court decision that bars discrimination against jurors based on race or sex should be extended to cover sexual orientation.

Only two states — California and Oregon — have passed laws barring discrimination against LGBT jurors. A third, Minnesota, has a bill pending.

California’s law made news earlier this month when a San Diego judge ruled that prosecutors illegally dismissed at least one juror based sexual orientation in a criminal case against several marriage equality activists. San Diego Superior Court Judge Joan Weber said that the discrimination in the case was “heartbreaking” and “shocking.”

Photo: Flickr/steakpinball

Discrimination against LGBT jurors remains legal

Posted on: May 1st, 2012 by Andy Birkey 2 Comments

“I believe that people who are either transsexuals or transvestites — I don’t know what the proper term is — traditionally are more liberal-minded thinking people, tend to associate more with the defendants because, obviously, they have been either ridiculed before or are feeling in a position of being in a microscope all the time and are outcasts which lends themselves to associating more with the defendant.” (more…)

Obama administration takes ‘unprecedented’ action against bullying in Minn. district

Posted on: March 9th, 2012 by Andy Birkey 2 Comments

A settlement between a Minnesota school district and the federal government over anti-LGBT bullying is being hailed as “unprecedented” and a model for school districts nationwide. The move by the federal government to intervene in the Anoka-Hennepin School District is part of a more aggressive stance against bullying by the Obama administration, a stance that started late in the Clinton administration but languished under Bush.

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Minn. school district settles bullying lawsuits

Posted on: March 6th, 2012 by Andy Birkey 1 Comment

Anoka-Hennepin School District, Minnesota’s largest public school district, announced on Monday evening that it had settled two lawsuits concerning bullying and harassment of students in the district. According to court documents, the decision came after the Department of Justice and the Department of Eduction joined two lawsuits filed by six students alleging widespread discrimination against LGBT students. (more…)

Conservative group aims to ‘clean up’ voter rolls

Posted on: February 15th, 2012 by The American Independent No Comments
A right-wing group has announced it will “pressure states and localities” through lawsuits, if necessary, “to clean up voter registration rolls pursuant to Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA).” The group claims that several states have voters on their registration rolls who are ineligible to vote. (more…)

Immigration strategy proposed at CPAC: ‘Let’s put a wall around the welfare state’

Posted on: February 13th, 2012 by The American Independent 4 Comments
Panelists at the Conservative Political Action Conference spoke Saturday about immigration measures that would uphold conservative values and attacked federal action against immigration-enforcement state laws.

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Watchdog group asks DOJ, FBI to further investigate Florida congressman

Posted on: February 13th, 2012 by The American Independent No Comments

The legal watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has asked the Department of Justice and the FBI to investigate Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, over allegations contained in a new Office of Congressional Ethics report. (more…)