SJLF worked with preeminent local government law professors to draft an amicus curiae brief supporting a challenge to Florida’s HB1, which required localities to seek state approval to decrease their police budgets, stymying local innovation and creative approaches to public safety. The brief explained the historical importance of local government autonomy and reiterated the need for local governments to have control over their own budgets.
SJLF, on behalf of our client Alexander Clark, is confronting racist policing and a culture of impunity head on in Louisiana in Clark v. Hotard et al. Through this lawsuit, we seek relief for the unlawful detention, seizure, and excessive use of force inflicted on Mr. Clark by deputies of the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office – a hyper-segregated Parish that was once the Louisiana seat of the KKK.
In March of 2022, SJLF filed a lawsuit on behalf of our client Nia Mills which seeks to address a culture of aggressive and unconstitutional law enforcement searches motivated by Louisiana’s asset forfeiture regime. Nia was driving through Louisiana on interstate I-10 with her partner Cory when a deputy pulled her over for purported improper lane usage and failure to signal. The deputies proceeded to subject her to prolonged detention, invasive searches, verbal harassment, and the seizure of $3500 in stimulus money.
SJLF partnered with the ACLU of Louisiana to amend a complaint filed by an unhoused, chronically ill Louisiana woman who was repeatedly harassed and injured by local police and had her personal belongings seized and discarded, allowing Ms. Thomas to continue to seek justice for her mistreatment and shedding light on the treatment faced by unhoused individuals daily at the hands of law enforcement.
SJLF filed an amicus brief in the Ninth Circuit in U.S. v. Nuñez on behalf of Dignity and Power Now, a local grassroots organization supporting incarcerated individuals and their families. The brief was filed in support of the Federal Public Defender’s Office and focused on recently obtained information regarding Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD) deputies’ misconduct, consistent with the violent and unlawful behavior associated with “deputy gang” membership.
Following legislative reforms in 2022, SJLF is working in partnership with other legal nonprofits in Southern California to monitor and advocate against courts’ use of civil assessments, fees that exacerbate the cycle of court debt for thousands of Californians.
SJLF filed an amicus brief in Thompson v. Spitzer, a lawsuit challenging the Orange County District Attorney’s expansive DNA collection program, which highlighted findings from our team’s extensive court observations – namely, that the DA’s Office is violating an accused person’s right to counsel before, during, and after the plea negotiation process, and relies on the pressures inherent to the criminal justice system to force accused persons to provide their DNA prior to being convicted of any wrongdoing and without adequate understanding of what they are giving up.