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Upcoming Events

Solitary Confinement As Torture
Date: Friday, April 10
Location: UNC School of Law at Chapel Hill

Film Screening: 'Shadows of Liberty'
Date: Sunday, April 19
Location: Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Robert King, who spent 29 years in solitary confinement in Louisiana State Penitentiary for a false conviction, will discuss his journey and the experience of being in solitary confinement alongside policy advocates working on the front lines of prison reform at the University of North Carolina School of Law on Friday, April 10.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will feature a conversation with King and Rev. Nancy Petty of Pullen Baptist Memorial Church in Raleigh, followed by a panel discussion about the use of solitary confinement in North Carolina and across the country, its physical and psychological impact on inmates, its relationship to American and international human rights laws, and the growing movement to reform and eventually end the use of solitary confinement in the United States.

A report released in November 2014 by the Human Rights Policy Seminar at the University of North Carolina School of Law concluded that solitary confinement is a cruel, inhuman and degrading form of punishment that amounts to torture and must no longer be used in the United States.

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WASHINGTON - North Carolina has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review a state law that would force women to undergo a narrated ultrasound before receiving an abortion—a measure that has been blocked by both a district court and federal appeals court as unconstitutional.

Yesterday’s filing follows the unanimous decision from a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in December 2014 affirming that the law violates the First Amendment rights of physicians by forcing them to deliver politically motivated communications to a patient even over the patient’s objection, declaring that "transforming the physician into the mouthpiece of the state undermines the trust that is necessary for facilitating healthy doctor-patient relationships and, through them, successful treatment outcomes."

The law was preliminarily blocked in October 2011 following a lawsuit filed on behalf of several North Carolina physicians and medical practices by the Center for Reproductive Rights, American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation, Planned Parenthood, and the firm of O’Melveny & Myers.  The measure was later permanently struck down as unconstitutional by a federal district court in January 2014.

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By Mike Meno, ACLU of North Carolina Communications Director

Real time cell phone tracking reveals private, invasive, and increasingly precise information about our locations and movements. Whenever your phone is turned on—even if you enable its location privacy settings—your cell phone service provider is able to determine with increasing accuracy where your cell phone is located. For many of us who carry our phones throughout the day and sleep with them nearby, that also means that our cell phones can reveal where we are virtually all the time.

And what the cell phone company can learn, police can find out too. In a brief filed yesterday in a North Carolina case, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation argue that any time police seek to use cell phone location data, they should first obtain a warrant showing probable cause.

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RALEIGH – Almost 40 years after two Forsyth County magistrates refused to perform their civil marriage ceremony by citing religious objections, Thomas and Carol Ann Person, an interracial couple from North Carolina, are now speaking out against proposed legislation that would allow magistrates to refuse marriage services to any couple if they voice a religious objection.

Senate Bill 2, which is scheduled to be heard by the House Judiciary I committee today, would allow sworn government officials to refuse to provide marriage services to couples based on what the bill calls “sincerely held religious” beliefs.

“Nobody has a right to tell anyone who they can marry,” said Carol Ann. “I will never forget how painful it was to be told by government officials that they would not give Thomas and me a civil marriage ceremony because of the color of our skin. It was supposed to be a happy day, but instead we were turned away because of somebody else’s religious views and treated like second-class citizens. I hope those lawmakers in Raleigh stop Senate Bill 2 so that no other couple in North Carolina ever has to go through what we did when they want to marry the person they love.”

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