A recent string of events has brought the University of California, Berkeley under the scrutiny from both sides of the political spectrum. Though it originated as a somewhat low-profile, scheduled event hosted by campus groups, it rapidly transformed into a debate about First Amendment rights on the national stage, culminating in attention from major media outlets, legal scholars, and political pundits.
Ann Coulter is a controversial conservative political commentator, particularly regarding the topics of immigration, marriage equality, and religion. The University of California, Berkeley is a politically and socially aware public university with a long history of progressive activism and involvement in social movements.
Coulter was expected to speak on the topic of illegal immigration on April 27 in an event hosted by BridgeUSA and the Berkeley College Republicans. Liberal groups in Berkeley (and elsewhere) were strongly against Coulter’s speech, but nothing tangible had actually happened until the UC Berkeley administration canceled the event on April 19. In fact, although students expressed concern, no groups on campus at UCB ever officially sought to hinder Coulter from coming to speak on campus.
UCB proposed rescheduling the event due to safety concerns related to the riots resulting from a February on-campus event at which alt-right commentator Milo Yiannopoulos was scheduled to speak*. The day after it proposed to reschedule the Coulter event, UCB re-invited Coulter to speak, this time on May 2. This was after the Berkeley College Republicans filed a lawsuit against the university for “smothering conservative speech.” However, May 2 is notably during the school’s “dead week”—the week before exams, during which many students are not on campus or are too busy studying to attend extracurricular events. Thus, the proposal was rejected by the Berkeley College Republicans, BridgeUSA, and Ann Coulter.
*The riots that took place during this event were not the actions of UCB students, but of external groups. The riots did, however, take place on the UCB campus.
What does this mean for the First Amendment?
The ACLU has criticized the University’s actions as suppressive of the First Amendment. The organization released a statement arguing that the government should not determine what speech can be considered protected by the First Amendment. Read the ACLU’s full statement here. Restrictions on the First Amendment have traditionally been left to the courts; for further reading, see footnote.
One specifically relevant case is Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969). In this case, a Ku Klux Klan leader made a speech for which he was later convicted under a syndicalism law that criminalized advocating for “crime, sabotage, violence, or unlawful methods of terrorism as a means of accomplishing industrial or political reform.” The law also criminalized assembling with “any society… formed to teach or advocate the doctrines of criminal syndicalism.” The question before the Supreme Court was whether the Ohio syndicalism law violated the KKK leader’s right to free speech.
The U.S. Supreme Court held that the law did in fact violate the man’s right to free speech as it was overly broad while failing to ensure that it would prevent imminent lawless action. The ruling established a two-pronged test to evaluate similar speech acts. Free speech may be prohibited if:
This ruling was important as it protected citizens’ speech from being considered the proximate cause of violence that they did not intend to provoke. Although the ruling in Brandenburg is the precedent set by the Supreme Court, it is important to consider the ways that the law can move the needle forward for minority groups who may be harmed by hateful rhetoric. In “Public Response to Racist Speech: Considering the Victim’s Story,” political scientist Mari Matsuda does just that.
In conclusion, there is much grey area surrounding the ideological dispute over the First Amendment, and groups all across the political spectrum continue to disagree about its extents and limits. The Ann Coulter UC Berkeley controversy is neither the beginning nor the end of the free speech debate.
 For further reading on the restrictions the United States Supreme Court has placed on the First Amendment, see: Chaplinksy v. New Hampshire (1942), Miller v. California (1973), and Snyder v. Phelps (2011)
By Max Soifer
If you have a disability and are qualified to do a job, you cannot be denied your right to employment simply because of your disability. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ACA) ensures this, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) oversees the enforcement of this law. In order to be protected by the ADA, you must have a record of having (or be regarded as having) a substantial impairment that "significantly limits or restricts a major life activity." This can include vision, hearing, mobility, breathing, performing manual tasks, self-care, learning, and working, among other things. The ADA's scope is expansive in that the law covers the way that employers must treat potential employees during the hiring process, as well as the way that employers must treat employees on the job.
No one deserves to be discriminated against, and no one should expect to be subjected to discrimination. However, if you suspect that you have been subjected to employment discrimination based on a disability it is best to contact the EEOC promptly.
Typically, you can trust your gut instinct to identify when am employer or potential employer is behaving in a discriminatory manner. Additionally, things to look out for during the hiring process include questions about your disability (if you have not already disclosed your disability) and extensive questions regarding your ability to perform the job. Although this second practice is not illegal, they may be trying to "back you into a corner" by encouraging you to disclose information about your disability by asking instead about your abilities. Though this is not illegal, it is certainly discriminatory and the EEOC may be able to help you out if you run into this scenario.
Here is a list of questions that potential employers might ask, and that you should look out for:
It is illegal to ask these questions during the hiring process, and you should immediately contact the EEOC if you are asked one of these questions by a potential employer. If you have a disability, you are entitled to workplace accommodations provided by your employer. In order for your employer to be accountable for the accommodations that they are obligated to provide, you must notify them of your needs.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
P.O. Box 7033
Lawrence, Kansas 66044
(800) 669-4000 (Voice), (800) 669-6820 (TDD)
For more specific information about ADA requirements affecting public accommodations and State and local government services contact:
Department of Justice
Office on the Americans with Disabilities Act
Civil Rights Division
P.O. Box 66118
Washington, DC 20035-6118
(202) 514-0301 (Voice)
(202) 514-0381 (TDD)
(202) 514-0383 (TDD)
If you have any other questions, you can troubleshoot by going to the EEOC website at: https://www.eeoc.gov/facts/ada18.html
Good luck in your search for a job!
By Christa St. George
On January 31, 2017, Neil Gorsuch was nominated by President Trump to fill the vacated seat on the Supreme Court, following the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016.The vacant seat on the Supreme Court has been a hotly contested issue for the past year. While President Obama attempted to appoint Chief Judge Garland to this seat prior to leaving office, Senate Republicans steadfastly refused to confirm the nominee or consider his appointment. With the 52 seat majority of Senate Republicans, their efforts created a year-long stalemate over the appointment of the 9th Supreme Court seat—the second longest stalemate since the 1860’s.
Political ascriptions in the Supreme Court are currently split 4-4. With his Conservative views, Gorsuch is projected to swing the Court to the right, leaving the swing vote, again, to Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. The gravity of importance placed upon Gorsuch’s appointment, therefore, cannot be overstated.
The 49-year old Judge and Colorado native currently serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver. Upon his appointment to the Court of Appeals by George W. Bush in 2006, the American Bar Association regarded him as “unanimously well qualified” for the position. Similar to other Justices, Gorsuch has obtained degrees from various Ivy League Schools, including Columbia University, Harvard Law School, and the University of Oxford. He served as a legal clerk for Anthony M. Kennedy, Byron R. White, and Judge David B. Sentelle of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Despite his general likability and reputation as an approachable judge and distinguished writer, Senate Democrats remain skeptical of his lack of experience as well as failure to provide concise opinions on relevant and/or controversial issues. Critics argue that his rulings in past cases make him likely to rule in favor of right-wing Conservatives, including President Trump and his policies. Those in strong opposition to the nominee’s appointment question his capacity to remain impartial to political ties, including President Trump and the Republican Party’s hardline conservative values.
What do we know about his political, social, and economic inclinations as a Judge?
Gorsuch, like his potential predecessor, maintains an “originalist” perspective on interpreting the Constitution; i.e. he maintains a strict, “textualized” perspective on law and legality. This predisposition frames Gorsuch’s opinions of the following topics:
While these are just a few of the strongly disputed issues circulating in the American government and courts, they provide evidence that suggest Neil Gorsuch’s potential rulings as a Supreme Court Judge. Overall, we can expect a textual, strict interpreter of the Constitution. In other words, Gorsuch will likely serve as a similar judge to Scalia. Critics argue that this interpretation is both outdated and in opposition to the social, political, and economic progress of the nation. How will the Judge’s textual interpretation of the Constitution frame the issues listed above, as well as future Supreme Court rulings? Time will tell.
Law school is unlike any other post-graduate experience due to the unique amount of reading involved. It takes time to adjust to the sheer quantity of assigned pages; however, these readings are not only lengthy but they'll also challenge you to thoroughly ascertain the correct legal conclusions based on the material. Nearly all of the assigned reading consists of condensed versions of actual cases in textbooks produced and edited for a particular course, such as criminal law or property.
As a first-year law student, covering 50 pages per night for each of your classes will be time consuming as is. On top of that, you will be expected to understand complex legal principles by spotting the issues presented by a case's facts and then determining how and why the judge applied a particular law to those facts. This is a task that even the best students find a bit challenging at first.
A question I am asked often by incoming first-year law students is whether it is okay to work part-time during the school year. This is an understandable question as the costs of a legal education can be daunting. Additionally, many people enter law school having worked in a job that will be relevant to their future careers, so they hope to continue working there. However, it is best not to work during your first year in law school if possible.
Being a lawyer is a profession in which people entrust their property (and even their lives) to you. You want to be more than competent--you want to excel. Working during your first year of law school detracts from your ability to become an expert issue-spotter and a master at applying the law to your future clients' cases.
Although some students are able to manage a healthy balance between law school and work, the odds are against you and you would be taking a huge risk with your future career. While working part-time, you are likely to fall behind in your readings and will no doubt rely on hornbooks, commercial outlines, and other study aids; these materials will help you get by, but they will not teach you how to become a truly great lawyer.
You only have one shot at law school and it's a huge investment. Do it right: read the casebooks and develop a mastery of the law. Wait to resume (or begin) working until your 2L year, or only work during summers if your finances allow.
You are pulled over by a police officer. He/she asks you a few questions, checks your information, and completes a traffic citation.
Are you free to leave?
The simple answer is yes; once the citation is complete you may leave. There is, however, no time limit to the citation procedure. There is no set amount of time prescribed to lawful detentions for traffic stops; the only requirement is that the officers allocate a "reasonable amount of time" to follow procedure. What is considered "reasonable" varies depending on the officer, situation, etc.
A detention becomes "unreasonable"—and therefore illegal—when you are held for an unnecessary length of time.
This point is reached when an officer has finished his/her investigation and does not have enough "reasonable suspicion" to keep you. The officer may prolong the investigation, but once it has been completed you are free to leave. The only way he/she can legally keep you at the scene is if:
(1) You remain on the scene willingly
(2) The police officer searches your vehicle
Officers may only search your vehicle if they have "probable cause" to believe you are engaging in suspicious or illegal behavior. Probable cause requires evidence or facts that would lead a reasonable person to believe a crime has been committed; i.e. open liquor bottles, admission of guilt, smell of marijuana, etc. While the Fourth Amendment protects citizens from unlawful searches and seizures, many people are either unaware of this right or are unsure how to exercise it. If the police ask for permission to search your vehicle, you do not have to say yes. They are not legally permitted to search your car and keep you at the scene without your consent or probable cause.
Why does this matter?
Knowing your rights at a traffic-stop encounter is the best method of assuring that officers follow procedure. Traffic laws are meant to protect citizens, therefore one should not feel like he/she is being unnecessarily detained or unlawfully treated. While there is no set amount of time for traffic-stops, if you suspect that the process is unnecessarily long, you are permitted to ask the officer why you are being detained. If the citation has been completed, ask if you are free to leave. Educating yourself about your rights at a traffic stop prevents you from becoming a victim to intimidation, discrimination, etc.
It is 2:30 a.m., and you are awakened by the sound of screaming followed by gunshots. You immediately go to your window and grab your phone on the way. From your window, you see only darkness and hear nothing. You call 911 and report what you heard. Within a few minutes, your doorbell rings and you open your front door to a 28-year-old man who has been
dispatched to your home. The street is quiet, and it is very dark outside. You tell the officer where you think the gunshots came from but as you are doing so, you both hear a scream coming from down the block. The officer’s two-way radio comes on and you hear “Armed robbery in progress. Shots fired” at an address just a few doors away. Without waiting for back-up, he gets in his car, activates his lights and siren, turns on his spotlight and drives three houses down to the address.
As he approaches the address, he sees two men running from the residence. With no regard for his own safety, he rushes up the stairs and enters the dark house just as a third man escapes out the back door. The officer is scared but enters and clears each room that he can until back-up arrives. He finds only the homeowner and her family holed up in one of the bedrooms, terrified. Some of the occupants have suffered gunshot wounds and are taken to the hospital. Eventually all three assailants are captured and arrested.
It is this type of bravery that society has come to expect from our law enforcement officers. Countless times we hear of those who risk their lives just doing their jobs each day, and we expect them to use all the knowledge, expertise and resources at their disposal to keep us safe, capture criminals, and uphold and enforce the law. It is because of recognition of the difficult job they do that most people admire and respect the police. However, sometimes police behave shamefully or perform their jobs in an unreasonable manner. Some use force when none is necessary, and that includes deadly force. Police are rarely prosecuted for killing, even when it is apparent that the force used was not reasonable. According to the Washington Post, there were 990 fatal police shootings in 2015 but only 10 officers were charged with a crime. Even when prosecuted, officers are nearly always acquitted. That is because we as a society tend to give the police the benefit of the doubt, even if they kill, if we believe that that occurred in the course and scope of their duties. It is only when an officer steps outside his role as an officer and uses the power of his badge to commit a crime that a jury will punish him.
Even where an officer’s taking of a life is clearly unreasonable and unnecessary, his cries of fear seem to resonate with juries. So much so that police now justify every shooting by professing a fear for their lives where they believe that, if they had not fired first or at all, they themselves would be dead right now. Although such claims seem unbelievable, juries have consistently given police the benefit of the doubt due to the dangers of their job and because the police protect us from a lawless society. When an officer faces a jury and says, “I was scared. I made a split-second decision, and I did what I was trained to do: shoot until the threat is eliminated,” he is almost assured an acquittal. We've written before about the mindset and prioritization of officer safety that contributes to this fear.
But an officer’s claims of fear should not be used to justify a murder. There must be a limit. An officer cannot be allowed to escape responsibility for all his actions by simply proclaiming “I feared for my life.” Such a claim at least must be plausible or it makes a mockery out of the criminal justice system and will ultimately erode our trust in law enforcement.
On Tuesday, April 4, 2015, in North Charleston, South Carolina, Walter Scott, a 50-year-old African American man, runs from police two minutes after being pulled over for a broken brake light. Now-former local veteran police officer, 35-year-old Michael Slager, pursues Scott on foot. Slager fires his sidearm eight times. Five shots hit Scott as he runs away, the last striking him in the buttocks as he falls. Slager then walks nearly 30 feet to where Scott lies face down on the ground, screaming “Shots fired!” into his microphone. When Slager arrives at the fallen Scott, he yells at Scott to put his hands behind his back. Slager then puts handcuffs on Scott. No effort is made to render first aid to Scott or otherwise save his life. Instead, Slager walks back to where he began firing on Scott, retrieves his taser from where it fell, and then walks over to where Scott lays and drops the taser beside his body.
The official story Slager conveys to his superiors is that Scott had wrested away Slager’s taser and was coming at him armed with it, and this situation caused Slager to fear for his life, so he shot Scott. Based on the deference we give police officers, this should be the end of the story, right? Officer Slager was threatened, he feared for his life, and he shot Scott to save his own life—case closed.
On April 9, 2015, a cell phone video taken by Feidin Santana is published by New York Times and contradicts Officer Slager’s account. Slager is quickly fired and soon charged with murder. South Carolina does not have degrees of murder; a killing is either murder or manslaughter.
Many believe that Scott’s life was taken because Black Lives Don’t Matter and that police are quick to claim fear and shoot even on stops for minor traffic infractions. We've addressed this theory for why officers shoot and kill so many Black men in one of our old articles. According to USA Today, in 2013 and 2014, nearly every deadly pursuit arising out of a stop for an illegally tinted window, a seat-belt violation or the smell of marijuana involved a black driver.
On October 31, 2016, former officer Michael Slager went on trial for his killing of Walter Scott. Despite the video showing that Slager fired eight times on Scott as Scott ran away from him and that Slager’s taser had fallen on the ground behind the officer, Slager testified using the same script that has consistently resulted in the acquittal of police—fear, fear, and more fear:
“I was scared” and in “total fear that Mr. Scott didn’t stop” resisting arrest. “At that point I pulled my firearm and pulled the trigger.” “I fired until the threat was stopped as I was trained to do.” “I had to make a split-second decision.”
This is what Slager, a white male, told a jury comprised of 11 whites and 1 black. During jury selection, the defense struck 9 jurors, including 7 minorities. The jury pool began with 75 people, including 16 blacks.
There may be plausible reasons to shoot someone in the back multiple times while they run away, but fear is not one of them.
If Scott’s killing can be justified simply by an officer’s proclaiming, “I shot because I feared for my safety, and it was him or me,” then every killing by police, even those of children or infants, can always be justified simply by claiming fear.
But their own fear cannot and must not become an impenetrable shield that instantly and wholly absolves police for the consequences of their actions every time they take a life.
If Michael Slager is not convicted of at least manslaughter for his killing of Walter Scott, an entire segment of our society will lose all trust both in our police and in our system of criminal justice.
By Rachelle Stefanski
On January 1st of this year, Camila Montoya was shot twice and killed by police officers in Cali, Colombia. Since her death, more than 243 members of the transgender community have been murdered. This is due to the alarming increase of senseless violence and murder that the community is facing each year.
Today is the Transgender Day of Remembrance. Today, we remember each of the lives lost in 2016.
The statistics are sobering and the numbers are climbing every year. As of October 31, 2016, there have been at least 23 reported murders of transgender people in the United States. Additionally, analyses reference “reported murders,” and because victims are often misgendered or their personal information is not released, the annual rate of transgender deaths is likely much higher than we believe. In 2015, at least 21 transgender people were murdered in the United States.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance honors the victims of transphobia and brings attention to a community that continues to endure worldwide violence and hatred on a drastic level. Today serves to raise public awareness of hate crimes against transgender people, to publicly mourn those who have lost their lives and might otherwise be forgotten, to show love and support for the transgender community in the face of national indifference and hatred, and to remind non-transgender people that people in the transgender community are their loved ones.
Gwendolyn Ann Smith commenced the Transgender Day of Remembrance in 1998, when she lost her friend Rita Hester. She honored Hester and all of the other transgender murder victims from that year, stating simply:
"The Transgender Day of Remembrance seeks to highlight the losses we face due to anti-transgender bigotry and violence. ...The right to simply exist is first and foremost. With so many seeking to erase transgender people – sometimes in the most brutal ways possible – it is vitally important that those we lose are remembered."
As a country, we have seen recent national backlash over the little progress that has been made for the transgender community. Politicians and the national media over-analyze which restroom people should use, which creates anger, fear, and threats of violence in certain parts of the United States – threats specifically targeted at a community that is already facing tremendous obstacles in their daily lives. Transgender people face daily struggles that the cisgender population (those whose self-identity conforms with the gender they were assigned at birth) takes for granted.
Many people are forced to navigate life without correct documentation of their identity or the ability to obtain accurate identification. Hillary Clinton's State Department enacted a supportive passport policy in 2010, but class barriers remain an issue for transgender people who cannot afford a passport. The absence of this type of policy at the state level can restrict access to health care, housing, public services, and employment, among other things.
In fact, according to a 2015 Time article, transgender people are four times more likely than the general population to report living in extreme poverty with an income of less than $10,000. The National Transgender Discrimination Survey found that transgender people face double the national unemployment rate, and transgender people of color, who endure both transphobia and racism, face four times the national unemployment rate. Confronted with living in extreme poverty, the transgender community is more vulnerable to violence and more likely to enter sex work—not by an empowered choice (like many do), but by financial need.
In addition to high unemployment rates, transgender women of color are at higher risk of harassment and violence. In 2014, of the 11 transgender women who were murdered, 10 were transgender women of color. A 2015 Human Rights Campaign report (in partnership with the Transgender People of Color Coalition) shows statistical data that transgender people of color are 6 times more likely to suffer physical violence at the hands of the police, 1.5 times more likely to experience discrimination, and 1.5 times more likely to face sexual violence than their non-transgender LGBQ peers.
The report also states that half of all transgender people will be sexually assaulted at some point in their lifetime.
When members of the transgender community are attacked, threatened, or harassed, they often face hostility or indifference from the very people who are supposed to help them. Police interactions have become dangerous obstacles to the community. Nearly half of victims of attacks or harassment will not report the incidents to police for fear of harassment or intimidation from the police.
What is currently being done
On a federal level, hate crimes legislation was passed to include gender identity. The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act is a 2009 federal law that expands federal hate crime law to include gender identity, gender, sexual orientation, and disability status.
The following states have hate crime laws that cover both sexual orientation and gender identity: Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Missouri, Illinois, Minnesota, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and the District of Columbia.
Arizona, Nebraska, Kansas, Texas, Louisiana, Iowa, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Tennessee, Florida, New York, New Hampshire, and Maine only cover sexual orientation.
The following states have existing hate crime law, but do not cover sexual orientation or gender identity: Idaho, Montana, Utah, Alaska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Alabama, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina.
Arkansas, Indiana, Georgia, South Carolina, and Wyoming do not have hate crime laws.
Many of the transgender victims who were murdered in 2016 died in states where existing state hate crime laws do not cover gender identity.
While the lack of state level gender identity hate crime laws and statistics of violence and murder are appalling in the United States, it is not the only area of the world facing a crisis. Brazil is seeing a shocking number of transgender murders, and the numbers are on the rise each year. A Brazilian transgender advocacy group reported that there were 57 transgender people murdered in the first 26 days of 2016. The Trans Murder Monitoring Project, which monitors statistics worldwide, states that one transgender person is murdered every 21 hours in the Federative Republic of Brazil.
The transgender community's future
As a new President steps into office—one with a much different agenda than President Obama—the transgender community will continue to face the same obstacles, but now with segments of the U.S. population feeling emboldened to discriminate without repercussion. Because of this, it is more important than ever for cisgender people to step up and advocate for transgender rights and protections through housing initiatives, health care coverage, employment assistance, law enforcement training, and simple ally-ship.
Being an ally can mean educating other cisgender people, being respectful of pronouns and “out” status, publically challenging anti-transgender remarks or jokes, supporting gender neutral restroom legislation, making your company or school truly trans-inclusive, and knowing your own limits as an ally. Most importantly, listen to transgender people, and try to put their rights above your own ego and feelings.
It is only through action that we will be able to curb the violence to the transgender community and bring about change to make the community safe.
Remembering the victims
Today we remember all victims of violence against the transgender community during 2016. We have provided a list of as many victims as we could, but due to the lack of statistical data, the very lengthy list below is still incomplete. It is our hope that continued education and advocacy will lead to lasting change.
September 10, 2016 – Zoe Nazarena Quispe (36 years old) – stabbed
August 23, 2016 – L.E. (22 years old) – stabbed
June 23, 2015 – Monica Ortiz (53 years old) – stabbed
June 5, 2016 – Natalia Sandoval (35 years old) – beaten
May 3, 3016 – Chiche (74 years old) – not reported
April 1, 2016 – Erika Rojas (29 years old) – not reported
February 29, 2016 – N.N. – shot
February 23, 2016 – J.M. Salazar (34 years old) – beaten
January 18, 2016 – N.N. – not reported
April 2, 2016 – Dayana Zarate Bustamante (24 years old) – not reported
March 25, 2016 – Cristiana M.M. (19 years old) – beaten
October 27, 2016 – J.W. da Silva (24 years old) – stoned to death
October 21, 2016 – Julia Sofia (20 years old) – stabbed to death
October 16, 2016 – Yasmin Montoy (20 years old) – beaten to death, blunt force trauma to the head
October 13, 2016 – Unidentified Woman – suffocation
October 8, 2016 – W.R. Alexandre – beaten to death
September 30, 2016 – Unidentified Woman – stabbed to death
September 30, 2016 – Rafael Silva (17 years old) – 17 gunshots, ran over by car
September 28, 2016 – Shena – stabbed
September 24, 2016 – Chaiene da Silva – multiple gunshot wounds
September 18, 2016 – Biloca – shot
September 15, 2016 – Larissa (31 years old) – shot in abdomen, thrown from car
September 13, 2016 – N.N. (26 years old) – stabbed/shot
September 11, 2016 – H.J. Silva (37 years old) – blunt force trauma
September 10, 2016 – Chica – shot
September 9, 2016 – Pamela Pereira (16 years old) – multiple gunshot wounds
September 9, 2016 – N.N. (24 years old) – gunshot and stab wounds
September 5, 2016 – Taina W.P. Alencar (22 years old) – stab wound
September 3, 2016 – Hilda A.J. da Silva (46 years old) – strangled
August 29, 2016 – Bruniela – multiple gunshot wounds
August 25, 2016 – Erika W.P. de Arruda (30 years old) – gunshot wounds to neck and groin
August 19, 2016 – Brenda – stabbing
August 16, 2016 – J.W. de Melo Filho (22 years old) – strangled
August 13, 2016 – Patty Lobo – shot
August 12, 2016 – Tiffany Rodrigues (23 years old) – asphyxiation
August 8, 2016 – N.N. – not reported
August 8, 2016 – Thiemy Oliveira (24 years old) – stabbing
August 1, 2016 – Unidentified Woman – stabbing
August 1, 2016 – Adriane Bonek (43 years old) – unknown
July 30, 2016 – Bibis (40 years old) – shot
July 27, 2016 – N.N. – shot
July 27, 2016 – N.N. – shot
July 26, 2016 – Feh Lopes Tenten – shot
July 25, 2016 – Sabrina E.S. Sales (25 years old) – beaten to death
July 25, 2016 – Nayara (23 years old) – shot
July 13, 2016 – N.N. – stabbing
July 11, 2016 – Edymara M. Leao (36 years old) – asphyxiation
July 11, 2016 – Nickolle Olvierira Rocha (21 years old) – beaten to death
July 11, 2016 – N.N. – not reported
July 9, 2016 – Jade – strangled
July 8, 2016 – D. Rodriguez Silva (48 years old) – not reported
July 3, 2016 – Pandora Pereira (26 years old) – stabbed to death
June 29, 2016 – Daiane Brasil (36 years old) – gunshots to neck, chest, and face
June 27, 2016 – Julia Almeida (28 years old) – tortured and carbonized
June 26, 2016 – Danyelly Barby (24 years old) – gunshot to the neck
June 26, 2016 – Sheila Santos – gunshot
June 24, 2016 – Luana – stabbed
June 22, 2016 – Lorran Lorang (19 years old) – hanged
June 18, 2016 – N.N. – beaten to death with a wooden club
June 16, 2016 - Gabriel Figueira de Lima (21 years old) – stabbed in the neck
June 15, 2016 – N.N. – burned
June 13, 2016 – N.N. – stabbed
June 12, 2016 – Suellen (20 years old) – shot
June 9, 2016 – Patricia Tavares – stabbed
June 7, 2016 – Thais – shot
May 16, 2016 – Paula – beaten to death
May 16, 2016 – Lauandersa – stabbed over 30 times
May 15, 2016 – Ana Hickman (30 years old) – 2 gunshots in the neck
May 11, 2016 – Michele de Souza (22 years old) – 7 gunshots to the chest, abdomen, legs and arms
May 10, 2016 – W. Amorim Pires (17 years old) – beaten
May 5, 2016 – Leticia Silva (22 years old) – gunshot wound
May 4, 2016 – Alana da Silva Pessoa (22 years old) – gunshot wound
May 2, 2016 – Pamella Leao (23 years old) – shot
May 2, 2016 – Adriana Leite – not reported
May 1, 2016 – W.L. da Luz Conceicao (23 years old) – stabbed
April 16, 2016 – Jessica L.C. Menezes (24 years old) – multiple stab wounds
April 13, 2016 – Luana Biersack (14 years old) – sexually assaulted, beaten, drowned
April 11, 2016 – Amanda Araujo (17 years old) – multiple stab wounds
April 11, 2016 – Bianca Abravanel (25 years old) – 15 gunshot wounds to chest and face
April 8, 2016 – Vanessa Ferreira Prestes (35 years old) – shot
March 29, 2016 – Andinho – multiple gunshot wounds
March 28, 2016 – Gabriella Rodrigues – multiple gunshot wounds
March 27, 2016 – Keity do Nascimento (42 years old) – beaten to death
March 23, 2016 – N.N. – stabbed
March 20, 2016 – M. Moreira (16 years old) – head trauma
March 15, 2016 – Cris Santos da Silva (27 years old) – shot
March 13, 2016 – Camilla Rios (32 years old) – shot
March 10, 2016 – N.N. – unknown, dismembered
March 9, 2016 – Maria do Bairro – not reported
March 8, 2016 – N.N. – not reported
March 7, 2016 – Mika P. Da Silva – gunshot wounds to the head and groin
March 7, 2016 – N.N. – stabbed
March 6, 2016 – Maria la del Barrio – unknown
March 5, 2016 – Trator – multiple stab wounds to the neck
February 27, 2016 – N.N. – multiple gunshot wounds
February 24, 2016 – Bruna Teixeira (25 years old) – shot
February 24, 2016 – Natascha (37 years old) – set on fire
February 22, 2016 – E. dos Santos (36 years old) – shot
February 21, 2016 – C. Moreira Batista Neves (25 years old) – stabbed
February 19, 2016 – D.L. Rabelini Quadros – asphyxiation
February 19, 2016 – D.L. Silva de Oliveira – asphyxiation
February 16, 2016 – T.E. de Moraes Geremias (37 years old) – stabbed
February 16, 2016 – Cicarelli de Carvalho (36 years old) – stabbed to death
February 12, 2016 – Unidentified Woman – gunshot
February 11, 2016 – Malu – shot
January 31, 2016 – N.N. – killed by a serial killer
January 27, 2016 – Fabiane Hilario (20 years old) – gunshot at point blank range to the head
January 25, 2016 – Michelly Fernandes (30 years old) – shot eight times
January 24, 2016 – Dani Pereira (20 years old) – gunshot to the chest
January 24, 2016 – Paolal Barraza – shot
January 23, 2016 – Bruna Souza (23 years old) – multiple stab wounds
January 23, 2016 – Ketelen Alves (23 years old) – gunshots
January 21, 2016 – Paula Fernandes – run over by car
January 18, 2016 – Barbara Malquimi (35 years old) – run over by car
January 17, 2016 – Marcia Cabrita (38 years old) – not reported
January 17, 2016 – Giovana Atanazio (20 years old) – thrown from a bridge, drowned
January 17, 2016 – Nathallya Figueriedo (25 years old) - stabbed
January 12, 2016 – Flavia Andrade das Neves – shot to death
January 8, 2016 – J.A.A.D. (17 years old) – shot several times
January 8, 2016 – Paola “Chica” Bratho (25 years old) – shot several times
January 4, 2016 – Unidentified woman – multiple gunshots
*Brazil does not record statistical data on the LGBTQ community because acts of violence against the LGBTQ community are not criminalized in Brazil, preventing true data on the actual number of victims.
May 20, 2016 – Litzy Odalis Parrales – stabbed
September 20, 2016 – Kelly Johana Oquendo Villada (25 years old) – burned
September 19, 2016 – “La Pio” Pardo Escobar (26 years old) – stabbed
August 17, 2016 – Oriana Nicoll Martinez Otero (32 years old) – stabbed
August 7, 2016 – Cucutena Baron Contreras (31 years old) – stabbed
August 1, 2016 – Jessica Cuervo – shot
June 10, 2016 – Paloma (44 years old) – stabbed
February 21, 2016 – Natalisa Alcaraz Orozco (25 years old) – shot
February 1, 2016 – Jessica Riascos – shot
January 1, 2016 – Camila Montoya – shot twice by police
March 3, 3016 – Michelle Fuentes Robles (30 years old) – shot
September 10, 2016 – F. Natera Encarnacion (24 years old) – stabbed
May 3, 2016 – Amaranta Polanco (29 years old) – poisoned
May 30, 2016 – A. Perez Nunez – torture
May 21, 2016 – Tonita – beaten
February 16, 2016 – Pepsi Arevalo Gomez (23 years old) – stabbed
January 13, 2016 – Ashly Carrillo – shot and tortured
January 12, 2016 – Samantha Ortiz Chicas (18 years old) - decapitation
January 8, 2016 – Vanessa Cortez Pena – shot to death
February 22, 2016 – L.F. Zarate Vilcas (53 years old) – shot
July 25, 2016 – Kristell Barahona (38 years old) – shot
June 4, 2016 – Pamela Martinez – shot
April 15, 2016 – Alejandra Padilla – beaten
2016 – Not Reported – cause of death not reported
2016 – Not Reported – cause of death not reported
September 4, 2016 – Ravina (40 years old) – stabbed
July 23, 2016 – Shruthi (25 years old) – beaten
June 5, 2016 – Geeta – shot
April 28, 2016 – Pooja (28 years old) – stabbed
January 8, 2016 – N.N. – stabbed
August 24, 2016 – Marta Baroni (34 years old) – not reported
July 29, 2016 – Thiago Fernando Batista (30 years old) – unknown, body thrown in dumpster
June 29, 2016 – Bebel da Silva (45 years old) – stabbed
May 11, 2016 – G. Arrivoli (41 years old) – shot
March 13, 2016 – Katty Piscopo (64 years old) – cut throat
June 11, 2016 – Christina Nimely – not reported
March 9, 2016 – Zhukran Supu (20 years old) – thrown out from 3rd floor home
Not Reported – Paulette Gonzalez (24 years old) – murdered, burned beyond recognition
Not Reported – N.N. – tortured
Not Reported – N.N. – not reported
Not Reported – N.N. – not reported
September 30, 2016 – Paola Ledezma Gonzalez (25 years old) – shot
September 27, 2016 – Rafael da Silva Machado (17 years old) – shot
August 1, 2016 – N.N. – shot
July 17, 2016 – Talia – beaten
July 16, 2016 – R. da Silva Tavares – shot
July 2, 2016 – N.N. – tortured and shot
July 1, 2016 – N.N. (29 years old) – not reported
Not Reported – Yoselinne Gopar Carvajal (35 years old) – shot
June 16, 2016 – Faby (35 years old) – stabbed
June 11, 2016 – Evelin Abigail Galvan Zamora (24 years old) – stabbed
June 6, 2016 – N.N. – beaten
June 4, 2016 – P. Lugo Olivares (50 years old) – beaten
June 3, 2016 – N.N. (29 years old) – shot
June 2, 2016 – Olga Nely Lopez Jiminez (57 years old) – not reported
May 27, 2016 – J.C.A. (39 years old) – asphyxiation
May 17, 2016 – Jessica (26 years old) – stabbed
May 16, 2016 – N.N. (25 years old) – run over by car
May 14, 2016 – N.N. – not reported
May 2, 2016 – F. Ortega Martinez (26 years old) – shot
April 30, 2016 – N.N. – run over by car
April 15, 2016 – N.N. – shot
April 11, 2016 – N.N. (30 years old) – beaten
April 8, 2016 – B.C. Madariaga Hidalgo (22 years old) – shot
April 3, 2016 – Diana Torres Conde – stabbed
March 15, 2016 – Camila Dominguez Garcia (35 years old) – asphyxiation
March 6, 2016 – N.N. (25 years old) – cut throat
March 2, 2016 – N.N. – stabbed
February 23, 2016 – I. Maya Vargas (30 years old) – shot
February 21, 2016 – N.N. (35 years old) – not reported
February 15, 2016 – N.N. – stabbed
February 9, 2016 – Monica Devin – stabbed
February 9, 2016 – B. Elizalde Vicente – stabbed
January 28, 2016 – N.N. – shot
January 21, 2016 – N.N. – stabbed
January 14, 2016 – N.N. – strangled
January 10, 2016 – Melanie – not reported
January 9, 2016 – Paloma Hernandez Garay – beaten to death
January 6, 2016 – H.M. Prieto Medina (28 years old) - stabbed
January 10, 2016 – N.N. – beaten to death
July 10, 2016 – Shehla (42 years old) – shot
June 29, 2016 – Saba (17 years old) – shot
June 13, 2016 – N.N. – stabbed
June 13, 2016 – N.N. – shot
May 25, 2016 – Alesha (23 years old) – multiple gunshot wounds
March 12, 2016 – Naila – shot
September 21, 2016 – Heydi Garcia (28 years old) – not reported
May 31, 2016 – Zuleimy Aylen Sanchez Cardenas (14 years old) – shot
June 3, 2016 – Barbie/Ashley Ann Reilly (23 years old) – not reported
October 2016 – Raina Aliev (25 years old) – dismembered
February 1, 2016 – Angela Likin – stabbed
October 24, 2016 – Lorena Reyes (32 years old) – fall, after being stabbed
August 20, 2016 – Amphon Kongsong (28 years old) – strangled, body stuffed in bed frame
August 12, 2016 – Hande Kader (24 years old) – murdered, burned beyond recognition
March 20, 2016 – Aleda – stabbed
March 4, 2016 – Buse (31 years old) – stabbed
October 8, 2016 – Brandi Bledsoe (32 years old) – unknown
September 23, 2016 – Jazz Alford (30 years old) – unknown
September 16, 2016 – Crystal Edmonds (32 years old) – shot in back of head
September 11, 2016 – TT Saffore (26 years old) – throat cut
August 10, 2016 – Rae’lynn Thomas (28 years old) – shot at point blank range
August 8, 2016 – Erykah Tijerina (36 years old) – stabbed 24 times
July 30, 2016 – Skye Mockabee (26 years old) – head wound
July 23, 2016 – Dee Whigham (36 years old) – stabbed to death
July 4, 2016 – Deeniquia Dodds (22 years old) – shot
June 5, 2016 – Goddess Diamond (20 years old) – blunt force trauma, set on fire
May 29, 2016 – Amos Beede (38 years old) – beaten to death
May 15, 2016 – Mercedes Successful (32 years old) – gunshot
May 1, 2016 – Tyreece “Reecey” Walker (32 years old) – multiple stab wounds
May 1, 2016 – Keyonna Blakeney (22 years old) – upper body trauma
April 11, 2016 – Shante Thompson (34 years old) – beaten and shot
March 23, 2016 – Quartney Davia Dawsonn-Yochum (32 years old) – shot in the head
March 2, 2016 – Kendarie/Kandicee Johnson (16 years old) – gunshot
February 27, 2016 – Demarkis Stansberry (30 years old) – shot
February 20, 2016 – Maya Young (25 years old) – stabbing
February 19, 2016 – Veronica Banks Cano – found dead in a bathtub
February 4, 2016 – Kayden Clarke (24 years old) – shot by police
January 22, 2016 – Monica Loera (43 years old) – gunshot
January 22, 2016 – Jasmine Sierra (52 years old) – beaten to death
August 19, 2016 – N.N. – shot
Unreported – N.N. – not reported
May 24, 2016 – Karoline Valencia (34 years old) – shot
May 17, 2016 – K.A. Suarez (27 years old) – shot
April 30, 2016 – Wilmer Jose Bellorin Contreras (24 years old) – shot
April 18, 2016 – “La Gaviota” Zambrano Godoy – shot
April 11, 2016 – I.R. Gomez Medina (30 years old) – shot
March 26, 2016 – Johana Bravo – shot
March 26, 2016 – Tatiana Guanipa Romero (29 years old) – shot
February 28, 2016 – Fabiola Pimentel Jimenez (24 years old) – shot
February 28, 2016 – Karen Pena Aranguren (33 years old) – shot
February 6, 2016 – Cristina Iniciarte Iniciarte (29 years old) - shot
Since Tuesday's election was called, people all across America have taken to the streets in an attempt to be heard and recognized. Protests are already a common way to civilly dissent and we will likely see more of them than usual in the years to come.
If you plan to engage in demonstrations and marches, here's what you should know in case the police or anyone else tries to interfere with your First Amendment rights.
Mandatory reporters of child abuse and neglect
All States, the District of Columbia, and several U.S. territories have statutes identifying persons or professions who are required to report suspected child maltreatment to an appropriate agency, such as Child Protective Services, law enforcement, or a toll-free child abuse hotline. Individuals designated as mandatory reporters typically have frequent contact with children. Such individuals may include:
Because a child cannot legally consent to having sex or any type of sexual contact, allowing or committing any sexual act against a child is defined in criminal code as sexual abuse. This includes: the intentional touching of sexual or intimate parts of a child, allowing or causing a child to engage in touching someone else's sexual or intimate parts, sexual exploitation (prostitution), and sexually explicit/obscene/pornographic activity to be filmed, photographed, or performed live. In one of our cases, Lewis v. the City of Enumclaw et. al, the perpetrator committed several of these acts. Additionally, all of these acts took place after the police were informed (by an anonymous tipper) that the perpetrator may be involved in child sexual abuse. Therefore, because sexual abuse occurred and because the police were aware that it was happening or could be happening, law enforcement acted negligently by failing to investigate or notify Child Protective Services. We believe that they should be held accountable for the physical and emotional injuries their actions caused our client.
The severe consequences of putting allegations of child abuse on the back burner
The ability and willingness of the police to protect and serve is called into question when they arbitrarily determine which instances of child abuse deserve investigation. In Lewis v. the City of Enumclaw et al, police and city negligence resulted in a living nightmare for our clients but the defendant police departments are now attempting to avoid taking responsibility for the matter. When the public cannot even trust authorities to correctly protect and serve, it is imperative that it be able to trust authorities to at least hold themselves accountable for their mistakes.
If we as a country and a society are going to continue to give extraordinary amounts of power to police officers, we must also hold them to extraordinary high standards when they do not do their jobs correctly or fairly. This is applicable in broader, systemic ways as well as more specific instances like the one we are dealing with in our case.
It is impossible to know why the defendant parties in Lewis v. the City of Enumclaw et al determined that this specific report of child sexual abuse was not worth investigation. But this type of misconduct should never happen again. Our clients' lives, their relationship with one another, and their relationship with the future men that come into the victim's life are forever changed. Years of therapy, anxiety, and romantic confusion lay ahead of them. This is simply one case that illustrates the severe consequences of putting allegations of child abuse on the back burner.
by Olivia Gee
We often hear abortion referred to as a 'civil right.' The third and final presidential debate involved a fairly lengthy conversation about Roe v. Wade (1973), with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton calling abortion "a woman’s constitutional right" (to the upset and disagreement of many Republicans on Twitter and elsewhere). In addition to this important distinction, Republican nominee Donald Trump also promised to “automatically” repeal the Roe decision if he is elected President.
For the sake of this discussion, let’s ignore the fact that the President never has the ridiculous power to render or override Supreme Court decisions. Let's also ignore the fact that she or he does not have the power to make laws (a function of Congress).
Instead, we find it useful to revisit Roe v. Wade and remember why exactly abortion is considered a civil right and what parts of the U.S. Constitution protect it.
In 1970, “Jane Roe” was an unmarried, pregnant resident of Dallas County, Texas. She wished to terminate her pregnancy but Texas law prohibited abortions except to save the woman’s life, and Roe could not afford to travel outside of Texas to undergo a safe and legal abortion.
Her lawyers argued that the Texas abortion statutes abridged her civil right to privacy and that they were unconstitutionally vague. This was supported by a licensed physician’s claims that the statutes were too uncertain for physicians to understand; the statutes, he argued, were therefore a violation of the right to privacy in the doctor-patient relationship and the right of doctors to practice medicine. (He claimed this right was guaranteed in the spirit of the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments.)
The Court’s decision
The (all-male) Supreme Court held in favor of Jane Roe, ruling 7-2 that a person’s right to an abortion fell within the constitutional right to privacy, which was first recognized in the landmark birth control case Griswold v. Connecticut (1965) just eight years earlier. This right to privacy is specifically encompassed by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, allowing individuals to be free from unwarranted and excessive government intrusion. Thus, personal liberty (with few exceptions) includes the right to make decisions regarding one’s own medical health.
The Court ruled that, within the first trimester of pregnancy, a person has complete autonomy over the choice to terminate and that there is no legal State interest until the second and third trimesters. The Court continues to reject the “right to life” argument based on scientific arguments regarding pregnancy timelines and fetal viability.
Planned Parenthood v. Casey, and now
The Supreme Court qualified the constitutional right to abortion in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey (1992), ruling 5-4 that abortion laws and regulations could not impose an “undue burden” on people seeking abortions. This permitted states to enact some laws that could delay or hinder the right to abortion, but not impede it altogether.
This year’s case Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt (2016) supported the decisions in Roe and Planned Parenthood by ruling that provisions (again, in Texas) requiring abortion clinics to be comparable to surgical facilities created a substantial obstacle for people seeking abortions. Justice Stephen Breyer explained that the Texas provisions did nothing to benefit the health of patients but did a great deal to prohibit the right to abortion. These types of provisions not only place an undue burden on the right to abortion but are also a direct attack on poor or rural women, who may not have access to many abortion clinics.
Women are not incubators, and children born to families who have been forced to carry to term are not cared for in the ways they deserve. Anti-choice activists who call themselves “pro-life” should consider redirecting their resources toward making life more humane for children in orphanages and foster systems.
Learn more about abortion law and the Supreme Court in Oyez’s Body Politic.