Public Invited to Celebrate Bill of Rights Day at Local ACLU’s Annual Meeting

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Planned topics for discussion include civil rights of the homeless, asset forfeiture abuse, and how to access government records.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawai‘i will hold its Annual Meeting and Bill of Rights Day Celebration the evening of Tuesday, 12/15/15, at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center, Maui Room. Registration begins at 5:00, the program runs from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., the public is warmly invited.

RSVPs and special accommodation requests are appreciated by 12/7/15 to office@acluhawaii.org or the 24-hour RSVP line: (808) 522-5906, Neighbor Islands toll-free: (877) 544-5906. The day marks the 224th anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution.

Following a brief business meeting, ACLU staff will lead public discussions on three topics:

  • By popular request, Legal Director Daniel Gluck will run a live demonstration on accessing State of Hawaii and County records using an “Open Records Request”. A demonstration of how to access federal records using a “Freedom of Information Act” request is also planned.
  • Legislative Program Coordinator Mandy Finlay will cover “Civil Asset Forfeiture” in Hawai‘i and the nation – a controversial legal process in which law enforcement officers take (and eventually sell for profit) property from persons suspected of involvement with crime or illegal activity, even when no charges against the property owner are ever filed. To get back seized property, owners must (without access to a court-appointed attorney) prove to the government that the property was not involved in criminal activity.
  • Finally, Daniel Gluck and the legal staff of the ACLU of Hawaii will share facts and lead a discussion on the civil rights of people experiencing homelessness, some of our recent work in this area, and what is at stake for our rights when government targets laws at entire populations due to socio-economic status.

Executive Director Vanessa Chong said: “Bill of Rights Day is a great time to focus in depth on important ways that knowing and using our rights improves our lives. We welcome the public to join us to learn more about the ACLU, and our mission for a fair, just government that upholds the rights of all people.”